What does 1 Thessalonians 5:23 mean?
ESV: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NIV: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NASB: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
CSB: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NLT: Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
KJV: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
NKJV: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Paul refers to God as "the God of peace." God had given the Thessalonians peace when they had trusted in Jesus as their Savior. Paul insists in Romans 5:1 that justification by faith brings believers "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Further, Paul prays that God, who gives peace, would make the Thessalonians completely separated unto Himself, so that their spirit, soul, and body would be free of any valid accusation at the rapture.

Most people think of the three components of every human being as body, soul, and spirit, but Paul reverses this order, giving highest priority to the spirit and the lowest priority to the body. The spirit connects us to God and enables us to worship God and to fellowship with Him. The soul is the seat of emotions and makes us conscious of our being. The body connects us to our environment. We need to be kept faultless by God in our worship of Him and in our fellowship with Him. We need to be free of any legitimate accusation in our inner being and in our social relationships.
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 5:23–28 concludes Paul's initial letter to the Thessalonians. He pronounces a benediction of peace and prays that God will make the Thessalonians completely holy. He prays that this holiness would extend to their spirit, soul, and body and that they would be preserved free of every legitimate accusation at the rapture. He expresses confidence that God would make this happen. Paul's final instructions include a request for the Thessalonians to pray for him, a command to greet one another cordially, and a command to read aloud this very letter to the entire church. Finally, he invokes God's grace to be with his readers.
Chapter Summary:
First Thessalonians chapter 5 reiterates that the rapture will occur quickly, catching the unbelieving world unprepared. In contrast, Paul presents faithful Christians as those who are aware and ready for this event. This passage uses the contrast of day versus night to highlight those differences. Paul also completes his letter by offering various practical instructions. These include the need to be peaceful, hardworking, and forgiving. He also commends constant prayer and an attitude of joyfulness, before closing his letter with a command for this letter to be read aloud.
Chapter Context:
The end of chapter 4 discussed the nature of the rapture: a sudden, physical ''taking away'' of believers from the earth. Here, Paul continues to refer to this event's sudden and dramatic nature. A key analogy used in this passage is that of daytime versus darkness, and the concept of being awake and alert. As with many of Paul's letters, practical instructions make up the bulk of his closing statements. In particular, Paul adds a command that this letter be read aloud among all of the people of the Thessalonian church.
Book Summary:
The apostle Paul's second missionary journey included a visit to the prominent Greek city of Thessalonica. This stood alongside a major land route and boasted a busy seaport. A number of individuals believed Paul's message (Acts 17:1–4), but an angry mob forced Paul to leave the city after his brief stay. Later, while in Athens, Paul received a glowing report: the believers at Thessalonica were growing spiritually and serving God fervently. However, they had questions about the Lord's return, including what happens to a believer who dies before that day. And, as all churches do, they had some areas in which they were falling short. In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, written about AD 51, he addresses these developments. Paul expresses gratitude for the Thessalonian believers' spiritual progress, and frequently makes references to Christ's impending return.
Accessed 5/20/2024 8:32:36 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com