And the very God of peace ; the God who communicates peace; an expression frequently employed by Paul at the close of his Epistles ( Romans 15:33 ; Romans 16:20 ; Philippians 4:9 ; 2 Corinthians 13:11 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ). Sanctify you wholly ; that is, perfectly, without anything wanting, referring to the entireness of the sanctification, which is presently expressed in detail. And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body ; the adjective "whole" applies to all the three substantives. The apostle here divides human nature into three parts—spirit, soul, and body; and this threefold division is not a mere rhetorical statement: "The apostle pouring forth from the fullness of his heart a prayer for his converts" (Jowett); but a distinct statement of the three component parts of human nature. The "spirit" is the highest part of man, that which assimilates him to God; renders him capable of religion, and susceptible of being acted upon by the Spirit of God. The "soul" is the inferior part of his mental nature, the seat of the passions and desires, of the natural propensities. The "body" is the corporeal frame. Such a threefold distinction of human nature was not unknown among the Stoics and Platonists. There are also traces of it in the Old Testament, the spirit, or breath of God, being distinguished from the soul. Be preserved blameless . "The spirit is preserved blameless at the advent when the voice of truth rules it, the soul when it strives against all the charms of the senses, and the body when it is not abused as the instrument of shameful actions" (Lunemann). Unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now follows a series of short admonitions. The Thessalonians were to love and honor their ministers, to live in peace among themselves, to admonish the disorderly, to encourage the faint-hearted, to support the weak, and to exercise forbearance toward all men. They were to be on their guard against revenge, to preserve Christian joyfulness, to be constant in prayer, and to maintain a thankful disposition. They were not to quench the Spirit, nor despise prophesyings, but were to test all things, retaining the good and rejecting the evil. And it was his earnest prayer for them that God would so completely sanctify them that they might be blameless at the advent of the Lord Jesus. After requesting an interest in their prayers, and solemnly charging them to read this Epistle to the assembled Church, the apostle concludes with his apostolic benediction.