On to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
As we study the Bible we need to remember that the verses aren’t just randomly thrown
together. They are set within a context – so we need to read each verse in light of the verse
before it and the verse after. The verses are arranged logically and in a specific order.
v16: Rejoice: In v15 we read about pursuing good (good = the will of G-d) for ourselves and
for others. So, in light of that, this rejoicing implies a character that rejoices for the wellbeing of others – we need to rejoice when others experience the will of G-d, when they are
walking according to truth, when they are being used by G-d, and being blessed by G-d. We
need to allow this to be a joy to us. We want to see people being blessed. We want to see
the activity of G-d in their lives.
v17: Pray without ceasing: This means that there’s never a situation that does not require
prayer. We need to take everything to G-d in prayer – the good and the bad. We need to
take prayer much more seriously (talking to G-d as well as listening to Him). If we want G-d
to be involved in our lives it is going to require this – praying without ceasing. One of the
things we should be praying about, and asking G-d for, is discernment so that we can make
v18: In everything give thanks: Being thankful is something that is going to bring about one
of the greatest changes (transformations) in our lives (after salvation). Being thankful
involves acknowledging, with sincere gratitude, where we are at and what’s going on in our
lives – we can even be thankful in difficult circumstances, as we know that G-d will supply
what we need to overcome. He wants us to be victorious (overcomers – See Rev 2 and 3).
Giving gratitude to G-d is a form of worship – exactly what the enemy doesn’t want us to do
(Being grateful helps to defeat the enemy). When we worship G-d, we are acknowledging
that He is the authority in our lives and that He is the L-rd of lords and the King of kings.
Whatever happens to us in this body will come to an end. But that’s ok, because we have a
• For this is the will of G-d IN Messiah Yeshua: Giving thanks is part of G-d’s
will/purpose for our lives. If you don’t know what G-d’s purpose is for your life start
with this – simply giving thanks. Thanksgiving is a catalyst to finding out what G-d
has purposed for your life.
v19: Do not quench the Spirit: If we are not giving thanks, we will be quenching the Spirit.
When the Spirit is quenched, we begin to despise prophecy…
20: Do not despise: Meaning: Don’t have contempt for or don’t treat them as something of
little value, something that is not important. Prophetic revelation is still of great value – but
(NB) there’s a correlation between that and what the prophets have said of old.
• Prophecies: Written in the plural. One of the best ways to encounter prophetic truth
today is by reading prophecy. The better we know Biblical prophecy the more
prophetic discernment we will have, the more we can encourage people (1 Cor
14:3) – edify, exhort, and comfort them. When we see how G-d moved in the past,
we have a prophetic indicator of what G-d’s going to do today.
v21: Test (Prove or document) all things: It is no accident that after Paul talks about
prophecy he speaks about testing things. We test things by holding them up to the Word of
G-d. When we hold things up to the Word we are able to discern what is true and what is
false, what is good and what is evil (against the will of G-d).
• Hold fast (tight) what is good: Good = according to the will of G-d. Prophecy gives us
discernment to know what the will of G-d is. Prophecy should produce a repentant
spirit within us. Many of the Old Testament prophecies are centred around
repentance – turning people toward G-d. Many congregations today ignore
prophecy (are prophetically illiterate), and therefore the congregations are not
turning toward G-d because they do not know prophecy. When a people turn away
from G-d, when their lives are full of sin and are disordered, they quench the Spirit
of G-d and they will not have any prophetic discernment.
v22: Abstain: Put yourself far away from. Prophecy produces discernment – it helps us to
know what evil is (we can know what things are opposed to/in conflict with the will of G-d).
Do not participate in anything that is unrighteous.
On to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22