What does 1 Thessalonians 5:5 mean?
ESV: For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
NIV: You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
NASB: for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
CSB: For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.
NLT: For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.
KJV: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
NKJV: You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Verse Commentary:
This section discusses the nature of "the rapture." This is a moment, still in the future, when Christ will retrieve believers from the earth, in a sudden, instantaneous action (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). Prior verses especially highlighted how abrupt this event would be (1 Thessalonians 5:2–3).

This part of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 distinguishes between children of darkness and children of light. Children of light can look forward to the rapture with hope. Children of darkness must look forward hopelessly to the day of the Lord. In this verse Paul identifies himself and the Thessalonian Christians as "children of light, children of the day." He affirms that they are "not of the night or of the darkness." The Thessalonian Christians were once in the dark about spiritual matters, but the Holy Spirit shone the light of the gospel into their hearts and they believed in Jesus, the Light of the world.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6 Paul writes: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." In John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 5:1–11 informs believers about the day of the Lord. This phrase refers both to the moment of the rapture as well as the seven-year tribulation period that follows the rapture. The passage assures us that believers will not experience the tribulation. The day of the Lord will commence unexpectedly, like the arrival of a thief at night. It is described as a time of darkness with dreadful consequences. Unbelievers, identified as those who belong to the night, will be overtaken by destruction. But believers are, symbolically, of the day not the night. They are not the objects of God's wrath, but are destined to receive a full rescue from the day of God's wrath. In view of their exemption from the day of the Lord, believers ought to encourage and edify one another.
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.
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