Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 Thessalonians 4:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother - That no man should by any means endeavor to corrupt the wife of another, or to alienate her affections or fidelity from her husband; this I believe to be the apostle's meaning, though some understand it of covetousness, overreaching, tricking, cheating, and cozenage in general.

The Lord is the avenger of all such - He takes up the cause of the injured husband wherever the case has not been detected by man, and all such vices he will signally punish. Every species of uncleanness was practised among the heathens, nor were they reputed as vices. Their gods, their emperors, their philosophers, and their great men in general, gave them examples of every species of impurity; and they had no system of ethics which forbade these abominations. The Christian religion not only discountenances these things, but forbids them on the most awful penalties; therefore wherever Christianity prevails, these vices, if practised at all, are obliged to seek the deepest gloom of midnight to cover them from the eyes of men. On this account they are comparatively rare, even among the mere professors of Christianity; they exist, but do not flourish.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

That no man go beyond - ὑπερβαίνειν huperbaineinThis word means, “to make to go over,” as, e. g., a wall or mountain; then, to overpass, to wit, certain limits, to transgress; and then to go too far, i. e., to go beyond right - hence to cheat or defraud. It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. The idea of overreaching is that which is implied in its use here.

And defraud - πλεονεκτεῖν pleonekteinMargin, “oppress,” or “overreach.” This word properly means, to have more than another; then to have an advantage; and then to take advantage of any one, to circumvent, defraud, cheat. It is rendered “got an advantage,” 2 Corinthians 2:11; “defraud,” 2 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; “make a gain,” 2 Corinthians 12:17-18. Compare for the use of the adjective, 1 Corinthians 5:10-11; 1 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:5; and the noun, Mark 7:22; Luke 12:15; Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Peter 2:3, 2 Peter 2:14. It is the word commonly used to denote covetousness. Taking advantage of, is the idea which it conveys here.

In any matter - Margin, “or the.” According to the reading in the margin, this would refer to the particular matter under discussion 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, to wit, concupiscence. and the meaning then would be, that no one should be guilty of illicit intercourse with the wife of another. Many expositors - as Hammond Whitby, Macknight, Rosenmuller, and others, suppose that this is a prohibition of adultery, and there can be no doubt that it does include this. But there is no reason why it should be confined to it. The Greek is so general that it may prohibit all kinds of fraud, overreaching, or covetousness, and may refer to any attempt to deprive another of his rights, whether it be the right which he has in his property, or his rights as a husband, or his rights in any other respect. It is a general command not to defraud; in no way to take advantage of another; in no way to deprive him of his rights.

Because that the Lord is the avenger of all such - Of all such as are guilty of fraud; that is, he will punish them; compare Romans 12:19 note; Ephesians 6:9 note.

As we also have forewarned - Doubtless when he was with them.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we must abound in the work of faith. The rule according to which all ought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their souls under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention to appointed duties, constituted the will of God respecting them. In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, strict restraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body, and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead to wrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to live unholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walk before him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts of holiness, because they hear them from men; but they are God's commands, and to break them is to despise God.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 210

The earnest prayers of this faithful few will not be in vain. When the Lord comes forth as an avenger, He will also come as a protector of all those who have preserved the faith in its purity and kept themselves unspotted from the world. It is at this time that God has promised to avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them. 5T 210.1

The command is: “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking. 5T 210.2

In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God's honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect. 5T 210.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 350

The Lord would be pleased to have His people more considerate than they now are, more merciful and more helpful to one another. When the love of Christ is in the heart, each will be tenderly regardful of the interests of others. Brother will not take advantage of brother in business transactions. One will not charge exorbitant interest because he sees his brother in a close place where he must have help. Those who will take advantage of the necessities of another prove conclusively that they are not governed by the principles of the gospel of Christ. Their course is recorded in the books of heaven as fraud and dishonesty; and wherever these principles rule, the blessing of the Lord will not come into the heart. Such persons are receiving the impress of the great adversary rather than that of the Spirit of God. But those who shall finally inherit the heavenly kingdom must be transformed by divine grace. They must be pure in heart and life and possess symmetrical characters. 5T 350.1

I regard you, my brother, as in great peril. Your treasure is laid up on the earth, and your heart is upon your treasure. But all the means you may accumulate, even though it should be millions, will not be sufficient to pay a ransom for your soul. Then do not remain in impenitence and unbelief, and in your case defeat the gracious purposes of God; do not force from His reluctant hand destruction of your property or affliction of your person. 5T 350.2

How many there are who are now taking a course which must erelong lead to just such visitations of judgment. They live on day by day, week by week, year by year, for their own selfish interest. Their influence and means, accumulated through God-given skill and tact, are used upon themselves and their families without thought of their gracious Benefactor. Nothing is allowed to flow back to the Giver. Indeed, they come to regard life and its entrusted talents as their own; and if they render back to God that portion which He justly claims, they think that they have placed their Creator under obligation to them. At last His patience with these unfaithful stewards is exhausted; and He brings all their selfish, worldly schemes to an abrupt termination, showing them that as they have gathered for their own glory, He can scatter; and they are helpless to resist His power. 5T 350.3

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