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Beyond The Four Spiritual Laws

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1Thess 5:15a . . See that none render evil for evil unto any man;

Reciprocation is a normal response to abuse, injustice, and ill will but it isn't an
acceptable response; unless of course turning the other cheek is somehow no
longer in vogue for Christ's followers.

1Thess 5:15b . . . but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and
to all men.

Christian conduct isn't a temporary uniform kept in the closet just for Sunday
mornings like the rather odd patrons who wear costumes at Star Trek conventions.
No, Christian conduct is every-day wear: in the home, on the job, at school, at the
beach, at the mall, at the park, at the beach, in restaurants, at the dentist, in
amusement centers, at the zoo, at the circus, on the internet, et al; in other words:
ever-followed; not just at church on Sunday morning; which makes ever-following
that which is good somewhat stressful at first; until it becomes second nature, i.e. a
1Thess 5:16 . . Rejoice evermore.

I think we'd better include the passage below with the one above.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has
given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in
heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of
the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

. . . In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to
suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith— of greater
worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved
genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1Pet 1:3-7)

In other words: regardless of the severity of our misery, we're supposed to take
heart in the fact that it's temporary, that it serves a divine purpose; and that
there's the reality of something much, much better in store for us down at the end
of the tunnel. That's an order; and it's at all times rather than some times.

NOTE: For those of us whose safety from eternal suffering is in the bag, the coming
salvation spoken of in 1Pet 1:3-7 is most likely the resurrection that Paul spoke of
in Rom 8:23-25, 1Cor 15:12-57, and 1Thess 4:13-18.
1Thess 5:17 . . pray continually

The koiné Greek word for "continually" is adialeiptos (ad-ee-al-ipe'-toce) which
means: uninterruptedly; viz: without omission. Webster's defines omission as: 1)
something neglected or left undone, and 2) apathy toward, or neglect of, duty.

Believers who pray seldom, or not at all, are like a young man in the military who
never writes home until his parents complain about his silence. I wrote home so
infrequently when I was in the US Army back in the 1960's that my dad finally
threatened to contact my company commander about it. (I thought that rather out
of character for my dad since he never really cared anything about what I was
doing all the years when I lived at home.)

You know, I have to admit, that even if I had a red phone installed in my home with
a direct connection to God's desk, it would gather cobwebs from lack of use. I
sometimes suspect that's one of the reasons trouble comes our way. It's to provoke
some of us to call home.

It's not that I don't like God; it's just that all my life I've been conditioned to feel
peripheral, and important to no one. My natural siblings are just the opposite. They
have always perceived themselves at the center of the universe-- essential to its
existence --while I have always perceived myself as not even belonging in the
universe; let alone being at its center and/or having anything to do with its

One evening, while attending a single's group at church back in the 1970's, the
leader of the group went around the room asking each of us to name something
special about ourselves. I could not think of a single thing; while another in the
room said everything about themselves was special. They weren't being vain; they
were being honest. That fortunate person had a very good self image and a healthy
appreciation for their own worth.

It's very difficult for Christians like myself to believe that Christ's Father has any
real interest in us. We have always believed ourselves ostracized, unnecessary,
marginal, unwanted, and unimportant-- but we're used to it so it's no big deal.

But feelings of unimportance are a handicap: not just in life, but in the spiritual
realm too. It is just about nigh unbearable for believers like myself to comply with
1Thess 5:17 since we simply cannot believe ourselves missed by anyone; especially
Christ's Father who we believe in our hearts must certainly prefer the company of
people far more interesting than ourselves. But that command applies to everybody
whether we think God cares or not. All must comply; no exceptions.

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray
and not lose heart." (Luke 18:1-2)
1Thess 5:18 . . Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in
Christ Jesus.

The Greek word for "give thanks" is eucharisteo (yoo-khar-is-teh'-o) which means
to be grateful. This goes much deeper than just common courtesy. Appreciation is
an attitude; which Webster's defines as: to value or admire highly.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. Whether that's so or not matters little as
one should never let disagreeable circumstances make them bitter and resentful
towards the Bible's God; for example:

"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground
and worshiped. And he said: Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I
shall return there. The Lord gave and The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the
name of The Lord. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he condemn God." (Job

"Although the fig tree fails to blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor
of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food; the flock shall be cut off
from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in The Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation." (Hab 3:17-18)

Regardless of what the unbelieving world may say, think, or feel about the Bible's
God, the one thing He's done for me that I will always sincerely appreciate is
donate His one and only son towards rescuing my soul from a terrible future.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John
1Thess 5:19 . . Quench not the Spirit.

People were quenching the Spirit long before there was any such thing as a
Christian; even before the Flood.

"Then the Lord said: My spirit will not contend with man forever" (Gen 6:2)

The Spirit's contention was accomplished by means of preachers, e.g. Abel (Luke
11:50-51), Enoch (Jude 1:14) and Noah (2Pet 2:5)

Had the antediluvians listened to the preaching that the Spirit made available to
them, the Flood might have been averted.

Nowadays when Christians fail to listen to the preaching and/or teaching that the
Spirit makes available to them, they end up drifting away from God instead of
working with Him.

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie
and do not practice the truth " (1John 1:6)
1Thess 5:20 . . Do not despise prophecies.

The koiné Greek word for "prophecies" is propheteia (prof-ay-ti'-ah) which basically
refers to predicting the future; for example: Matt 25:31-46, 1Cor 15:51-52, 1Thess
4:13-17, 2Pet 3:10, Rev 16:18-20, Rev 20:11-15, and Rev 21:1.

Webster's defines "despise" as (1) to look down on with contempt, loathing, or
aversion, (2) to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful, and (3) to regard as
unworthy of one's notice or consideration.

Just the opposite of relegating prophecy to the status of a superfluous field of study
below one's dignity and/or likely not to hold one's interest; is a morbid fascination
with it to the extent of construing prophecy to mean all sorts of things except what
it actually says in writing.

I'm pretty sure that the prophecies Paul means for us to avoid despising are bona
fide scriptural prophecies rather than crazy stuff that's likely not to be inspired but
rather, the product of some crackpot's fertile imagination.
1Thess 5:21-22 . . Evaluate everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
abstain from every form of evil.

The "evaluation" spoken of here should be understood in relation to verse 20 where
it's said: "Do not despise prophecies". The NLT's placement of a comma after
"prophecies" is helpful because it puts prophecy and evaluation in a proper

In a nutshell: don't be gullible and buy into a prophecy just because it's gripping or
sensational and/or seems reasonable. For starters, make sure the prophecy is at
least in the Bible; anything outside the Bible should always be eo ipso regarded as
suspicious and unreliable.
1Thess 5:26 . . Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

I honestly doubt that Paul actually meant that the hierarchy should physically kiss
the congregation, rather, in a manner of speaking, to say "hi" for Paul, from him to

In America, it's common for friends to end a letter, or a cell text, or an instagram
with XOXOXO; which means hugs and kisses; which aren't literal, rather, simply
well-meant affection; which are harmless enough, and certainly far more sanitary
than the real thing.
1Thess 5:27 . . I adjure you by The Lord to have this letter read to all the

I think it safe to say that Paul wasn't talking about picking out a verse here and
there as a spring board to a sermon, no, he meant the whole epistle, not just

The word "adjure" has a variety of meanings; they all pretty much relate to putting
someone under a solemn obligation (e.g. Matt 26:63-64) viz: church officers who
neglect reading Paul's epistle to their congregations are in serious dereliction of
2Thess 2:15 . . Brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were
taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

The "traditions" to which Paul refers are in two categories: (1) word of mouth, and
(2) in writing. Seeing as how Paul and his contemporaries are no longer available
for personal appearances, then the only reliable traditions in existence are the ones
they left us in writing; viz: their letters; i.e. the epistles written by Paul, Peter,
John, James, and Jude.
2Thess 3:11-13 . .We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy;
they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in The Lord Jesus Christ
to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of
doing what is right.

I'm pretty sure that the "brothers" in that passage are church officers seeing as
how it speaks of "some among you" which would indicate the congregation.

Some might not think that holding down a job qualifies as Christianity but it
certainly does, especially when working for a living is categorized as "doing what is

"Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is
righteous, just as he is righteous." (1John 3:7)
2Thess 3:14 . . If anyone does not obey our commands in this letter, take special
note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.

Back then when churches were small cells meeting in private homes rather than
auditoriums seating hundreds of people, it was easy for church officers to hold their
congregation's feet to the fire. Nowadays, forget it. Church sizes are such that
officers haven't a clue what's going on in the lives of their membership roles. As a
result, modern churches are permeated with conduct unbecoming.

"Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2Thess 3:15)

Mandatory consequences were usually for the purpose of discipline; viz: child
rearing. So when officers ostracize one of Christ's followers, they should keep in
mind that the errant follower is one of their own: a sibling around the table in God's
home. So wayward followers shouldn't be permanently culled from the herd as if
they're the devil in disguise. They aren't devils; no, they're just naughty kids that
deserve grounding, so to speak. (cf. 2Cor 2:6-11)
1Tim 1:3-5 . . As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-- remain in Ephesus
that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to
fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification
which is in faith.

The epistles of Timothy and Titus are sometimes called the pastoral epistles
because Paul's instructions target mainly church managers rather than

"no other doctrine" is the information Paul mentioned in another letter.

"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught,
whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." (2Thess 2:15)

"by letter" would of course include 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus; and all the other
epistles too, including those of Peter, James, John, and Jude.
1Tim 2:1-2 . . First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and
thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority,
in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Not all Christians in the world are peace-loving. But those of us who are would just
like to be left alone by the world's governments so we can go about the practice of
our religion without fear of crack-downs, especially in communist countries and
Arab lands.

What the world needs now,
Is love, sweet love.
It's the only thing,
That there's just too little of.
(Hal David and Burt Bacharach, 1965)

Well; love is okay; but what the world really needs now is a whole lots more
religious tolerance; and not just for some, but for everyone.
1Tim 2:8-9 . . I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy
hands, without wrath and evil thoughts.

Lifting up one's hands is the posture of an anxious beggar seeking charity and
compassion. Holy hands are loyal hands. Other kinds of hands should be kept at
one's side till such a time as they qualify as true blue, thru and thru.

The Greek word for "wrath" is orge (or-gay') which means: hot desire. Orge is
sometimes translated anger, indignation, and vengeance. The idea is that a believer
should never pray out of spite and/or use prayer as a tool to hurt somebody's
feelings. That is the ugliest abuse of the privilege of prayer that I can possibly
imagine. In my opinion, people who pray out of spite are no different than
slanderers, witches, sorcerers, and voodoo priests. Especially annoying are people
who can't keep a civil tongue in their heads, and then have the nerve to say "you're
in our prayers"
1Tim 2:9-10 . . In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest
apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or
pearls, or costly array; but (which becomes women professing piety) with good

The Greek word for "sobriety" is sophrosune (so-fros-oo'-nay) which means
soundness of mind; viz: sane, composed, and self controlled. A woman in the
throes of hysteria, passionate rage, misandry, door-slamming, or a hissy fit doesn't
fit the definition.

Some folk, obsessed with asceticism, use that verse to prove it's wrong for women
to use cosmetics and dress themselves in current fashions. But the passage doesn't
forbid that. What it forbids is a woman putting a higher priority on her appearance
than her character.

The old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" applies here as well as in
literature. I've met women with tattoos, studs in their tongues, multicolored hair,
fishnet stockings, outrageous earrings, tight-fitting concert tee shirts, low-slung hip
huggers, and black lipstick that were really peaches while I've met elegant, neatly
dressed women with horrible personalities. They say a rose in any language is still a
rose; yeah, well, a pig, no matter how it's dressed, is still a pig whether in belly
shirts and flip-flops or haute couture.

"An attractive woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's snout". (Prov
11:22, cf. 1Pet 3:1-6)

The Greek word for "shamefacedness" is aidos (ahee-doce') which means:
bashfulness, i.e. diffidence; which is just the opposite of insolence, impudence, and
brazenness. Bashful people have a hard time looking people in the eye because
they are so shy, non-confrontational, timid, self conscious, and non-assertive. What
we're looking at here relates to one of The Lord's beatitudes.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:3)

That's a very comforting beatitude because it confirms that there's coming a day
when difficult people will be eradicated.
1Tim 2:11 . . Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.

The koiné Greek word for "submissiveness" is hupotage (hoop-ot-ag-ay') which
basically refers to subordination.

Hupotgage appears in a number of applications. In Matt 22:12 the word means
tongue tied. In Mark 4:39 it means calm down. In 1Tim 5:18 it infers suppression.
In 1Tim 2:15 it means to negate, i.e. render invalid and/or unworthy of

During my 76 years on this planet; I've encountered quite a few women that enjoy
debating with men; and especially pointing out men's faults and/or proving men
wrong. I don't know why they're like that, I guess it's just a female thing. But
Christ doesn't allow it.

If 1Tim 2:11 is telling me anything at all it's that Christ doesn't want to see
Christian women debating, quarreling, or arguing with men in church; and that
includes Sunday school discussions. In point of fact, according to 1Cor 14:35,
women aren't even allowed to raise their hands and ask a question.

Gender equality is a big issue out in the world; but God forbid it should become an
issue in church because the personal feelings and/or opinions of Christ's believing
followers are trumped by a final opinion higher than any on Earth.
1Tim 2:12-15 . . I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a
man, but to remain quiet.

In the "my church" of Matt 16:18, males are the gender designated to captain the
ships; not the females. I don't trust a church supervised by female managers and
pastors. Why? Because it tells me that Christ is not active in that church providing
it with the tools the congregation needs in order to grow in strength and maturity
as per Eph 4:11-16.

NOTE: Christ's version of Christianity isn't meant to be steered by personal
opinions, popular culture, and/or political correctness. If there are members in your
church unable to practice Christianity according to the Bible's instructions, then
they should be asked to resign. (Titus 3:10-11 and Heb 12:15)
1Tim 3:2a . . An overseer, then, must be above reproach

The Greek word for "overseer" is episkopos (ep-is'-kop-os) which means: a
superintendent; viz: church officers.

Why must they be above reproach? Because the work they do is a "good" work
(1Tim 3:1) but much good can be ruined by even a little wickedness.

"Dead insects will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of
foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor." (Ecc 10:1)

Before the wonders of modern chemistry, perfumes were made (and many still are)
from animal and vegetable sources. Those, being 100% organic in a time when
chemical preservatives didn't exists, could spoil if the perfumer wasn't careful to
keep his product protected from exposure to temperature, insects, dirt, moisture,
and other contaminants. All the skills and patience and knowledge exercised in the
making of expensive ointments could be completely annulled by simply forgetting
to put the cap (or the cork; whatever) back on a jar.

Anyway, Ecc 10:1 certainly rings true in this day and age as Christendom's
credibility steadily diminishes because of its ongoing morality scandals, embezzling,
and deplorable cover-ups.
1Tim 3:2b . . An overseer, then, must be the husband of one wife.

That directive is a bit ambiguous. Some feel it says that a church officer can have
only one wife at a time; viz: not a polygamist; while others feel it says that he can
be married only once in a lifetime; viz: not a widower or a divorced man.

I tend to think it means one wife at a time (1Cor 7:8-9). If so; then this passage,
plus Deut 17:17 and Titus 1:5-6, have the distinction of being the only places in the
entire Bible prohibiting polygamy.

However; the rule is very narrow. It specifically regulates the home life of church
officers, so it would be wrong to use those passages to justify forcing monogamy
upon the rank and file. But, if polygamy conflicts with the laws of one's State of
residence, or one's church covenant, then of course their State and/or their church
has the final say in that regard. (cf. Rom 13:1-5, Heb 13:17)