1 Thessalonians 5:28
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) The grace.—St. Paul’s autograph to conclude the letter. (See 2Thessalonians 3:17-18.)

5:23-28 The apostle prays that they might be sanctified more perfectly, for the best are sanctified but in part while in this world; therefore we should pray for, and press toward, complete holiness. And as we must fall, if God did not carry on his good work in the soul, we should pray to God to perfect his work, till we are presented faultless before the throne of his glory. We should pray for one another; and brethren should thus express brotherly love. This epistle was to be read to all the brethren. Not only are the common people allowed to read the Scriptures, but it is their duty, and what they should be persuaded to do. The word of God should not be kept in an unknown tongue, but transplanted, that as all men are concerned to know the Scriptures, so they all may be able to read them. The Scriptures should be read in all public congregations, for the benefit of the unlearned especially. We need no more to make us happy, than to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is an ever-flowing and an over-flowing fountain of grace to supply all our wants.The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... - notes, Romans 16:20.

In regard to the subscription at the close of the Epistle, purporting that it was written from Athens, see the introduction, section 3. These subscriptions are of no authority, and the one here, like several others, is probably wrong.

From the solemn charge in 1 Thessalonians 5:27 that "this epistle should be read to all the holy brethren," that is, to the church at large, we may infer that it is in accordance with the will of God that all Christians should have free access to the Holy Scriptures. What was the particular reason for this injunction in Thessalonica, is not known, but it is possible that an opinion had begun to prevail even then that the Scriptures were designed to be kept in the hands of the ministers of religion, and that their common perusal was to be prohibited. At all events, whether this opinion prevailed then or not, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the Holy Spirit, by whom this Epistle was dictated, foresaw that the time would come when this doctrine would be defended by cardinals and popes and councils; and that it would be one of the means by which the monstrous fabric of the Papacy would be sustained and perpetuated. It is worthy of remark, also, that the apostle Paul, in his epistles to the Thessalonians, has dwelt more fully on the fact that the great apostasy would occur under the Papacy, and on the characteristics of that grand usurpation over the rights of people, than he has anywhere else in his Epistle; see 2 Thessalonians 2:11. It is no improbable supposition that with reference to that, and to counteract one of its leading dogmas, his mind was supernaturally directed to give this solemn injunction, that the contents of the Epistle which he had written should be communicated without reserve to all the Christian brethren in Thessalonica. In view of this injunction, therefore, at the close of this Epistle, we may remark:

(1) that it is a subject of express divine command that the people should have access to the Holy Scriptures. So important was this considered, that it was deemed necessary to enjoin those who should receive the word of God, under the solemnities of an oath, and by all the force of apostolic authority, to communicate what they had received to others.

(2) this injunction had reference to all the members of the church, for they were all to be made acquainted with the word of God. The command is, indeed, that it he "read" to them, but by parity of reasoning it would follow that it was to be in their hands; that it was to be accessible to them; that it was in no manner to be withheld from them. Probably many of them could not read, but in some way the contents of revelation were to be made known to them - and not by preaching only, but by reading the words of inspiration. No part was to be kept back; nor were they to be denied such access that they could fully understand it; nor was it to be insisted on that there should be an authorized expounder of it. It was presumed that all the members of the church were qualified to understand what had been written to them, and to profit by it. It follows therefore,

(3) that there is great iniquity in all those decisions and laws which are designed to keep the Scriptures from the common people. This is true:

(a) in reference to the Papal communion, and to all the ordinances there which prohibit the free circulation of the Sacred Volume among the people;

(b) it is true of all those laws in slave-holding communities which prohibit slaves from being taught to read the Scriptures; and,

(c) it is true of all the opinions and dogmas which prevail in any community where the right of "private judgment" is denied, and where free access to the volume of inspiration is forbidden.

The richest blessing of heaven to mankind is the Bible; and there is no book ever written so admirably adapted to the common mind, and so fitted to elevate the sunken, the ignorant, and the degraded. There is no more decided enemy of the progress of the human race in intelligence, purity, and freedom, than he who prevents the free circulation of this holy volume; and there is no sincerer friend of the species than he who "causes it to be read by all," and who contributes to make it accessible to all the families and all the inhabitants of the world.

28. (See on [2449]2Co 13:14.) Paul ends as he began (1Th 1:1), with "grace." The oldest manuscripts omit "Amen," which probably was the response of the Church after the public reading of the Epistle.

The subscription is a comparatively modern addition. The Epistle was not, as it states, written from Athens, but from Corinth; for it is written in the names of Silas and Timothy (besides Paul), who did not join the apostle before he reached the latter city (Ac 18:5).

Having exhorted them to salute one another, he now sends them his own salutation; not in a lip compliment, as the mode now is, but in a serious expression of the desire of his soul: and this, or words to the same purpose, are his salutation in every Epistle, which he makes to be his token, 2 Thessalonians 3:17. And by grace here he means favour and good will, rather than inherent grace: and all blessings which spring from grace, as sometimes all are comprehended under the word peace. Yet grace and peace are sometimes in his salutations both joined together. And though here Christ is only mentioned, yet in many other places God the Father is mentioned with him, 2 Thessalonians 1:2 2 Peter 1:2; yea, and God the Holy Ghost also, 2 Corinthians 13:14; and where they are not mentioned, yet are all to be understood, for in all works ad extra they co-operate. And because grace is so eminently manifested in the whole work of our salvation, therefore the apostle doth still mention it in all his salutations. And with this he concludes this Epistle, and with this St. John concludes the whole Bible, Revelation 22:21. And the seal added, not to shut up, but confirm the whole is: Amen; and is added as the voice of the whole church upon reading the Epistle, as some think, and not by the apostle himself.

The first (epistle) unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens. These postscripts to the apostle’s Epistles are judged to be added by some scribes that copied them out, and not by the apostle himself, as might be made evident; and they are not found in any Epistles but in St. Paul’s alone. But as it is usual to date letters from the places where they are written, so is this dated from Athens. Hither he was conducted by some brethren after his persecution at Thessalonica and Berea, Acts 17:15, and here we read he stayed for some time; but that from thence he wrote this Epistle, either then, or any time after, is but conjecture; it is more probable he wrote it from Corinth, because he sends it from Timotheus and Silvanus, as well as from himself, and they came to him from Macedonia when he was at Corinth, as Acts 18:5. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen. This is the apostle's usual salutation in all his epistles, and the token of the genuineness of them, 2 Thessalonians 3:17. See Gill on Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23, 2 Corinthians 13:14.

The subscription to this epistle is not genuine, which runs thus, "The first Epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens"; whereas it appears from 1 Thessalonians 3:1 compared with Acts 18:1 that it was written from Corinth, and not from Athens; nor are these last words, "from Athens", in Beza's Claromontane copy; though they stand in the Syriac and Arabic versions of the London Polygot Bible, which add, "and sent by Timothy", and in the Alexandrian copy, and Complutensian edition.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 5:28. Paul concludes with the usual benediction.

ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . Χρ.] See Meyer on Galatians 1:6.

μεθʼ ὑμῶν] sc. εἴη.28. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you] This is St Paul’s usual form of final benediction. He expands it later Into the full Trinitarian blessing of 2 Corinthians 13:14, or shortens it into the brief “Grace be with you” of Colossians 4:18. It contains all spiritual good that one Christian can wish another. Such grace is with us, when it constantly attends us, when it forms the atmosphere we breathe, the light by which we see, the guiding and sustaining influence of our whole lives. Comp. note on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:1; and on grace, 2 Thessalonians 1:12.

The liturgical Amen is added by the Apostle in some of his letters, and was very naturally supplied by devout copyists in others. Here it is not authentic.

The first epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens] This, like the other “subscriptions” to St Paul’s Epistles, is a note of the Greek editors, which may be perhaps as old as the second century. It is almost certainly erroneous in point of fact; see Introd. pp. 22, 27. In the oldest MSS the words “To the Thessalonians I” are placed at the end, repeated from the beginning of the Epistle. See note on the title, p. 45.Verse 28. - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. A similar salutation is to be found at the close of all Paul's Epistles; indeed, in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, he states that this salutation was the token which he affixed to his Epistles (2 Thessalonians 3:17, 18). Amen. To be rejected, as not in the original.



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