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1 Thessalonians

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©Michael Player

Chapter 5:19-22 (ESV)

Posted on May 05, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 5:19-22 (ESV) - Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

Question to consider: What did Christ send the Holy Spirit to do?

These final instructions by Paul have been hijacked by the Charismatic movement to coincide with their errant teachings about the Holy Spirit and their problematic view of prophecy. Jesus declared to the disciples in John’s gospel what the Holy Spirit would be sent to do: “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:8-15)

We also know from Paul’s letter to the Romans that, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

From this, we understand that the Spirit will convict us of sin, reveal the truth of God to us (the scriptures), and point us to Christ. He will also dwell in us in order to sanctify us and help us in our faith. So when this same Paul tells the Thessalonians not to quench the Spirit, he was referring to truth and conscience. If the Spirit convicted them of sin, they were to listen to Him and repent of it. Paul is not saying that they should lose control of their faculties and bark like dogs or writhe around on the floor because of some mystical experience someone attributed to the Holy Spirit.

We should also understand “prophecies” in this context. A prophecy is a word from God. Paul just finished saying they should hold their spiritual leaders in high esteem and love. One of the ways they could do this was to test what was preached in light of scripture and “hold fast to what is true” and “abstain from every form of evil”. As their pastors spoke of Christ from the Old Testament scriptures, the people were to test what was being said in the scriptures and listen to what the Spirit was proclaiming about them. It had nothing to do with some new revelation from God about how He wanted to increase their worldly treasures. Prophets throughout scripture declared the glory of God in the coming Messiah. They were not the fortune tellers of Israel.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Spirit to help us discern the truth You have given us in scripture. Help us to listen to our consciences regarding sin and righteousness so that we may abstain from what is evil and hold fast to what is true and good. Amen.