1 Thessalonians 5:14
Now we exhort you, brothers, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
I. WARN THE UNRULY: those who, like disorderly soldiers, break the ranks, and become idle, dissolute and worthless. This was a besetting sin in the primitive Churches. Many entertaining false views about the nearness of Christ's Advent became indifferent to work, and sank into apathy or even worse. The proverb says, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop"; and when a man is not occupied he is apt to become an instrument of evil and a disturber of the Church. It is difficult to pin some people down to do a bit of fair honest work. They are full of schemes for other people, and are forever finding fault that other people do not carry them out. These are the restless gipsies, the pests of every Christian community, the mischief makers and busybodies in other people's matters. Warn such. Admonish gently at first, putting them in mind of their duty. It is the fault of many to limit admonitions to gross and grievous sins, but in these cases warning often comes too late. If admonition is not effectual, then proceed to sharper reproof. If that is unavailing, separate yourselves from their society.
II. COMFORT THE FEEBLE MINDED. More correctly — encourage the faint hearted. The reference is not to the intellectually weak, but to such as faint in the day of adversity or the prospect of it (1 Thessalonians 2:14), or who are disheartened in consequence of the loss of friends (1 Thessalonians 4:13). It may also include those who are perplexed with doubt as to their spiritual condition, and who through fear are subject to bondage. There are some people so weighed down with a sense of modesty as to incapacitate them from using their abilities. Others, again, are so oppressed with the inveteracy of sin that they despair of gaining the victory and give up all endeavours. These need encouraging with the promises of God, and with the lessons and examples furnished by experience. Heart courage is what the faint hearted require.
III. SUPPORT THE WEAK. A man may be weak in judgment or in practice. There may be lack of information or lack of capacity to understand. Such was the condition of many who, not apprehending the abrogation of the Mosaic law, and thinking they were still bound to observe ordinances, were weak in faith. Some linger for years in the misty borderland between doubt and certainty, ever learning, but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Defective faith implies defective practice. Support such with the moral influence of sympathy, prayer, counsel, example.
IV. BE PATIENT TOWARDS ALL MEN, even the most wayward and persecuting. Consider the patience of God and imitate it. Lack of present success is no excuse. The triumphs of genius in art, science, and literature are triumphs of patience.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.