Friday’s with Fee

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject whatever is harmful. TNIV

In any case, in this our earliest encounter with the ministry of the Spirit in an early Christian community, instead of urging the Thessalonians to “fan into flame” or “earnestly desire” the Spirit and his manifestations among them, as in some later letters, Paul urges them not to quench the Spirit in this regard.  But by “not quenching” or “not despising” neither is he suggesting that anything goes in the name of the Spirit.  They are to “test all things,” holding fast the good and avoiding every evil form, but testing is not to lead to quenching the Spirit or the Spirit’s gifts.

Gordon Fee, NICNT The First & Second Letters to the Thessalonians p219


6 thoughts on “Friday’s with Fee

    • He actually does prefer the TNIV’s rendering of this verse.

      He goes on to say (Gordon Fee, NICNT The First & Second Letters to the Thessalonians):

      Although the metaphorical use of the verb “quench” goes beyond the common literal sense of “putting out [a fire],” the frequent collocation of the Spirit with fire is the probable reason for the metaphor here.  Nonetheless, the emphasis lies not on the “fire” dimension of the metaphor here…p219

      Hence he begins these exhortations with the general caution, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire” p220

      What I do find most interesting about the TNIV’s rendering is in verse 22 “reject whatever is harmful.”  It is the only translation that has it this way.  All others read “Stay away from every form of evil.” (HCSB) or some variation of this. 

      What is more difficult to explain is the choice of the noun eidous (“form”) rather than simply “what is evil,” as in the preceding clause (“what is good”).  The word eidous in this sense occurs only here in Paul, and means something close to “kind.”  Thus, they are to “shun every kind that is evil.”  The best explanation here would seem to be an older one, that in Paul’s view “good” is singular, whereas “evil” takes many forms.  In any case, the context, and the verbal plays between the two final clauses, seems to demand that this final clause also refers to prophetic utterances.  Gordon Fee, NICNT The First & Second Letters to the Thessalonians p224

    • Yeah, I have to slow my roll on reading Fee for now due to my studies, so I am trying to dedicate one night to reading FEE. I have not read much of this commentary but decided to jump to this section since I had been wondering what he had to say about it.

      However, I am still working on my messages on Philippians so that will give me justification to keep reading Fee!

    • TC, they are coming along. Lots of influnce from Fee.

      We had a slight change of plan on our midweek service where I was going to preach for 4 weeks straight. I am preaching for 4 weeks, however since we decided to split our midweek service into 2 midweek services, I am rotating with the other pastors on what night I preach. I am having to preach the same sermon twice so that all of our church members are able to hear both messages from both pastors. Originally we were just going to stick with one night each, but we later decided to rotate.

      That has pushed me back a bit, plus one week this month we had a special guest, so I lost another week there. I have only be able to minister on Philippians 1:1-11. Next Tuesday I will finish chapter one.

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