Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #323 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Thessalonians 5 today and our focus is on How to Live Like a Christian in Less than 100 Words. What is the Shortest Verse in the Bible? (Most Sources are wrong!) How Do We Quench The Spirit?   We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Meath, Ireland, Amman, Jordan, Stockholm, Sweden, Baden Wurttemberg, Germany, Scotland, United Kingdom, Negros Occidental, Philippines, Perth, Australia, Hong Kong, Nova Scotia, Canada, Des Moines, Iowa, Phoenix, Arizona, Austin, Texas, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Omaha, Nebraska, Santa Barbara, California, Orlando, Florida, Jefferson City, Missouri, Sherman, Texas, San Antonio, Texas and Fargo, North Dakota. This past week was the biggest the podcast has ever had, so thank you all for that and thank you for sharing the show and telling friends.   Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Another pop quiz, hotshot: What is the shortest VERSE in the Bible? If you said John 11:35 – Jesus wept, then you are sort of right…but not technically right. What do I mean? John 11:35 is the shortest verse in most English Bibles, but not in the original Greek. In the Greek, John 11:35 contains THREE words and 16 letters. One of our verses today, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, has two words and 14 letters, so that is a shorter verse in the original Greek…but, arguably, it may not be the shortest verse in the Bible. I say arguably, because it kind of depends on what you mean by “shortest.” I’ll let you be the judge. Both Exodus 20:13 and Exodus 20:15 (and Deuteronomy 5:17) contain 7 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. If you include the standalone samekh in those verses, it numbers three words, so each verse has three words and 7 characters…but biblical Hebrew does not contain vowels as characters in the way that most languages do, instead, the vowels are indicated as punctuation marks of a kind, and therefore it is hard to know whether they should be included as characters or not. They are pronounced, but not written in the same way as Greek or English. That is a bit of a sticky wicket when it comes to determining the champion of the shortest verse in the Bible contest, but I’m going to arbitrarily award that title to 1 Thessalonians 5:17 due to the Hebrew vowel difficulty, but we will enter an asterisk into the official record book. Interestingly 4 of the shortest verses in the Bible are in 1 Thessalonians 5 – and all of them are in a short little section we are going to focus in on next.

1 Thessalonians 5:13b-22 amounts to less than 100 English words in the CSB translation, but they may just be the densest instructions in the Bible on how to live like a Christian. In exactly 93 words here, Paul gives a short, sharp series of instructions that amount to the basics of living out the Christian life. Here they are:

Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t stifle the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophecies, 21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.

9.5 verses, 14 commands.

Let’s list these commands out:

  1. Be at peace among yourselves – no quarreling, no fighting. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel. (2nd Timothy 2:24)
  2. Warn those who are idle – the Kingdom of God is no place for laziness, says Paul – He who shall not work, shall not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
  3. Comfort those who are discouraged – In fact, Hebrews 3:13 says we should ALL encourage each other daily- the discouraged should be encouraged and comforted even more often than daily.
  4. Help the weak – A reminder of the exhortation that Paul gave to the Ephesian church leaders: “In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
  5. Be patient with EVERYONE. Why? Because we must love everyone, and the first description of love is: Love is PATIENT.
  6. Do not repay evil for evil  – In other words, “Do not seek revenge, but leave room for the Lord’s wrath,” as Romans 12:19 says. We are not to be in the revenge business in any way, shape or form.
  7. We must ALWAYS pursue the good for one another – other Christians – and everyone else too. Paul words it this way in Galatians 6:10, “10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
  8. Rejoice ALWAYS. This is a several times repeated command of Paul’s, including a more famous incidence in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say – rejoice!” Repetition is always an indication of importance for us.
  9. Pray without ceasing – continually pray. Always be in an attitude of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 expands this command, and points us to the empowering of the Holy Spirit to help us maintain a posture of continual prayer, “Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
  10. Give thanks in EVERYTHING.  One key to rejoicing always is be thankful for every blessing that God sends. In the Psalms, we find the Psalmist giving thanks dozens of times, and the prophet Isaiah looks forward to a time when the people of God will live in an attitude of thanksgiving, “Give thanks to the Lord; proclaim his name! Make his works known among the peoples. Declare that his name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4
  11. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Don’t quench the Holy Spirit, says the KJV. Our friends from Gotquestions helps us understand this passage:
    To understand what it means to grieve the Spirit, we must first understand that this indicates the Spirit possesses personality. Only a person can be grieved; therefore, the Spirit must be a divine person in order to have this emotion. Once we understand this, we can better understand how He is grieved, mainly because we too are grieved. Ephesians 4:30 tells us that we should not grieve the Spirit. We grieve the Spirit by living like the pagans (4:17-19), by lying (4:25), by being angry (4:26-27), by stealing (4:28), by cursing (4:29), by being bitter (4:31), by being unforgiving (4:32), and by being sexually immoral (5:3-5). To grieve the Spirit is to act out in a sinful manner, whether it is in thought only or in both thought and deed.  SOURCE: https://www.gotquestions.org/grieve-quench-Holy-Spirit.html
  12. Don’t despise prophecies – in other Words, obey passages like 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy.” Some, who are theologically called cessationists, believe that the New Testament gift of prophecy has ceased. I do not believe the Bible teaches that at all, I believe we are to not despise prophetic utterances and that we are commanded to desire spiritual gifts – especially the gift of prophecy. But, I hear you asking – what if they are false prophecies – what if somebody is not really prophesying under the leadership of the Holy Spirit? I’m glad you asked, because that gets us to:
  13. “Test all things.” We must be like the noble Bereans in the book of Acts – all teaching we hear – and all prophecy we hear must be weighed, tested. Note the command in 1 Corinthians 14:29, “29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should evaluate. ” All prophetic utterances must be carefully listened to – not despised – but also EVALUATED/WEIGHED/JUDGED. By what standard? Our feelings? NO! The standard of testing and weighing must always be God’s Word. What do we do after that testing process?
  14. Hold on to what is good and stay away from every form of evil, says Paul. Is this a continuation of his teaching on prophecies in this little section, or more of a general command? How about both! In terms of evaluating preaching, prophecy and the regular living of our lives, Christians should hold fast/hold tightly to that which is good, and run far away from that which is evil.

So, there you go – 93 words of Paul that we should listen to, learn and memorize that tell us pretty clearly and quickly how to live a Christian life that pleases God. Let’s read our chapter.


Bible Memory passage for the month of November:  John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Baptist Church in Salinas, California.

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