1 Thessalonians 5:14
(14) Now we exhort you, brethren.--Rather and than now. The writers turn to the presbytery, and explain their duty in the administration of discipline to the flock. The flock will be more apt to receive the discipline when they see with what apostolic authority their pastors are armed. Several special parts of the clerical office are then enumerated.

Warn.--The same Greek word as "admonish" in 1Thessalonians 5:12, and selected for that very reason. The "unruly" or "disorderly" are those who infringe good discipline--said of soldiers who leave their ranks: here notably of those mentioned in 2Thessalonians 3:11.

Feebleminded.--Or, fainthearted, pusillanimous. Such persons, e.g., as were overburdened with sorrow for the dead, or afraid of the persecutions, or the like.

Support the weak.--Or, keep hold of them, to help them on. The "weak" are not quite the same as the "feebleminded," but rather (judging from Romans 14:1 et seq.) those who have not attained that robust common-sense and breadth of conscience which discriminates between truths and superstitions, necessities and expediencies; or who are not yet ripe enough Christians to be sure of standing in persecution.

Patient toward all men.--Church officers are not to be rendered impatient by the defects, errors, weakness, stupidity, unbelief of any one, catholic, heretic, or heathen.

Verse 14. - Now we exhort you, brethren; an exhortation also addressed to all. Warn them that are unruly; or, as in the margin, disorderly (R.V.). Different modes of treatment have to be adapted to different classes; the unruly have to be warned. The word here rendered "unruly" or "disorderly" was originally a military term expressing the character of those soldiers who would not keep their ranks - out of the ranks. It would seem from this and other intimations that disorders existed among the Thessalonians; and that, especially being impressed by a belief in the near approach of the advent, several of them neglected the common duties of life, and abstained from working. Comfort the feebleminded. By "the feeble-minded" are meant the desponding or faint-hearted; those who were agitated about the fate of their deceased friends, or those who despaired of the grace of God by reason of their sins. These were not to be reprimanded, but comforted and exhorted. Support the weak. By "the weak" are not meant those who are physically weak - the sick; but those who are spiritually weak, whose faith was feeble - those who were afraid of persecution, or were troubled with vain scruples. These were to be supported - confirmed in the faith, be patient toward all men; all men in general, whether believers or unbelievers; toward them patience and forbearance were to be exercised.

5:12-15 The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of their office, which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is their duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock of dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people should honour and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare of men's souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The fearful and sorrowful spirits, should be encouraged, and a kind word may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men. Whatever man do to us, we must do good to others.Now we exhort you, brethren,.... This is said either to the ministers of the word that laboured among them, presided over them, and admonished them; and the rather, because some of these things here directed to are pressed upon the members of the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and which otherwise must make a repetition here; or to the members in conjunction with their pastors:

warn them that are unruly; or disorderly, idle persons, working not at all, busying themselves with other men's matters, and living upon the church's stock, reprove them for their sloth, exhort them to work with their own hands, to do their own business, and with quietness eat their own bread; or such who keep not their places in the church, but are like soldiers that go out of their rank, desert their companies, and fly from their colours, or stand aside, rebuke these, and exhort them to fill up their places, to abide by the church, and the ordinances of Christ; or such who are contentious and quarrelsome, turbulent, headstrong, and unruly, that cause and foment animosities and divisions, check them, admonish them, lay them under censure, for such a custom and practice is not to be allowed of in the churches of Christ.

Comfort the feebleminded: such as are not able to bear the loss of near and dear relations; are ready to stagger under the cross, and at the reproaches and persecutions of the world; and are almost overset with the temptations of Satan; and are borne down and discouraged with the corruptions of their hearts, speak a comfortable word to them, encourage them with the doctrines of grace, and the promises of the Gospel.

Support the weak; who are weak in faith and knowledge, strengthen them, hold them up; or as the Syriac version renders it, "take the burden of the weak" and carry it, bear their infirmities, as directed in Romans 15:1,

be patient towards all men; towards the unruly, the feebleminded, and the weak as well as to believers; give place to wrath, and leave vengeance to him to whom it belongs; exercise longsuffering and forbearance with fellow creatures and fellow Christians.

1 Thessalonians 5:13
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