1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

may the God of peace (v.23) — Paul has been giving his readers instructions on how to live, but now he acknowledges that they can only do so in God’s power.

Himself (v.23) — in Greek, this pronoun is in the place of emphasis

sanctify (v.23) — tense refers to an act completed at a given time with ongoing results — a process seen in perspective and so contemplated as a complete act

completely (v.23) — not referring to an increasing degree of sanctification but that the sanctification would extend to every part

and (v.23) = and so — continuing the thought just stated

Nobody seems to be quite sure about the distinction between the spirit and the soul, and I’m not going to pretend I understand, but I do think Scripture makes it clear that there is a distinction. Here are a couple views:

The language of Hebrews 4:12 suggests the extreme difficulty of distinguishing between the soul and the spirit, alike in their nature and in their activities. Generally speaking the spirit is the higher, the soul the lower element. The spirit may be recognized as the life principle bestowed on man by God, the soul as the resulting life constituted in the individual, the body being the material organism animated by soul and spirit, by which alone these can receive impressions from, or communicate impressions to, the material world. — Vine, page 96.


Although the words “soul” and “spirit” are sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture when referring to man, a distinction is observed in some passages. They are declared to be divisible (Hebrews 4:12) and are distinguished when used in reference to the burial and resurrection of the human body. The body is buried a natural body (in Greek, soul-body) but raised a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). The difference between the two terms seems to be that the spirit is that which “knows” (1 Corinthians 2:11) and is capable of God-consciousness and communication with God (Job 32:8; Proverbs 20:27), whereas the soul is the seat of the affections, desires, emotions and the will of man (Matthew 11:29; 26:38; John 12:27). — Scofield, page 1293.

preserved (v.23) — tense refers to an act completed at a given time with ongoing results — a process seen in perspective and so contemplated as a complete act

blameless (v.23) — In Greek, the words for “complete” and “without blame” occur here, summed up in the NKJV as “blameless.” Complete means “entire, complete in every part.” So, without blame in every part of the soul, spirit, and body.

will do it (v.24) — God not only calls us to complete blamelessness, but He will Himself accomplish it in us.

charge (v.27) = to put on oath, i.e. make swear; by analogy, to solemnly enjoin

read (v.27) = read, know again, know certainly, recognize, discern — to know again through reading

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