Comfort One Another
Category : General
1 Thessalonians 5: 11
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
When Handel’s oratorio of the Messiah had won the admiration of many of the great, Lord Kinnoul took occasion to pay him some compliments on the noble entertainment he had given the town. “My lord,” said the composer, “I should be sorry if I only entertained them: I wish to make them better.” It is to be feared that many speechmakers at public meetings could not say as much; and yet how dare any of us waste the time of our fellow immortals in mere amusing talk! If we have nothing to speak to edification, how much better to hold our tongue. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Paul had laid before them many comfortable truths, which they were to comfort one another by; and if we read the words, exhort one another, it refers to the necessary duties of religion he had mentioned in this and the foregoing chapter. The apostle had used this expression “comfort yourself together” in 1 Thessalonians 4:18. All that he has said since, concerning the time of Christ’s coming, and the necessity of preparing for it, is to be looked upon as a parenthesis, or digression, though an exceedingly proper and useful one: and here, by his using this expression again, he shows that he is returning to where he left off, and closing this part of his Epistle. These words are an exhortation to the whole church of Thessalonica, to comfort and edify one another. Though the ministry is appointed to this by especial office, yet private Christians are to practice it to one another; the former doth it in way of authority, the latter in a way of charity.
It is the same word that we had in the close of the preceding chapter, and which we rendered comfort, because the context required it, and the same would not suit ill with this passage also. For what he has treated of previously furnishes matter of both — of consolation as well as of exhortation. He bids them therefore, communicate to one another what has been given them by the Lord. He adds, that they may edify one another — that is, may confirm each other in that doctrine. Lest, however, it might seem as if he reproved them for carelessness, he says at the same time that they of their own accord did what he enjoins. But, as we are slow to what is good, those that are the most favorably inclined of all, have always, nevertheless, need to be stimulated.
Therefore it is important that we understand that the responsibility of Christians is to do, practice, say and engage in only those things that contribute constructively to the building up (the figure is that of a building) of fellow Christians. It is not enough merely to refrain from saying what will discourage or damage another, or from practicing what will offend another, or from doing what may tempt another. The mandate is to do what will help the spiritual life and growth of fellow-Christians. This sure hope is a sound basis for mutual encouragement and edification among believers. Not only can we comfort one another when believers die ( 1 Thessalonians 4:18), but we can also strengthen one another while we live.
Have a great and God filled day!