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In 1 Thessalonians 5:19 we read:

Quench not the Spirit. (KJV)

According to Strong's, "Quench" is the word 4570 σβέννυμι, which means "I extinguish, quench, I suppress, thwart."

The dictionary definition is:

  1. to slake, satisfy, or allay (thirst, desires, passion, etc.).
  2. to put out or extinguish (fire, flames, etc.).
  3. to cool suddenly by plunging into a liquid, as in tempering steel by immersion in water.
  4. to subdue or destroy; overcome; to quench an uprising.

With all those definitions, I can have a clue of what Paul wants to communicate there. But looking at this word σβέννυμι in another passages, it seems to me that it have the meaning of "to resist" and I get confused.

So, after all:

  • Is there an objective unique meaning of σβέννυμι in this passage?
  • What did Paul intend to convey by the phrase "quench the Spirit"?
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In simple terms it means "do not put out ".

For example if we put water on a fire, then the flame goes out.

What this is referring to is "Do not block or do away with the spirit."

Another example is the spirit is the flame of a candle. If we hide the candle then we are "getting rid of the light".(God)

So it means basically do not hide the existence of God. We are commanded to share Christ, look at the last few verses in Mathew. He says "Now go and preach..."

Those are commands and then He says, "all power and authority is given to Me. Lo I am with you until the ends of the Earth."

The "Lo, I am with you" is what its talking about Do not quench the spirit.

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If we look at the contest of the book of Thessalonians 5, it's written to a church, and not individuals. Now we see clearly that the section is written to a church, establishing how to do church. It instructs on how to assemble together as a body of Christ. the text is all in the plural. Now you'll also see that verse 19 cannot stand on its own but needs to be read with vs 20-21 at the minimum, to understand what is being said. Once we see that the vs 19 is giving meaning to vs 20-21, it becomes clear that resist as you said, might be the right translation. Basically, we are not to resist the manifestation of the Spirit in the body. It's difficult for me to see who we can 'quench' God's Spirit...but we sure can resist it.

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The Holy Spirit does not force us to do God's will but it gives us Spiritual insight to know right from wrong. Quenching the Spirit is to deny what God' Spirit in you has revealed is right. Consistently going against Biblical understanding--the knowledge of God's ways--will quench the Spirit that gives you that understanding.

People who once had the Spirit of God and turn away from Him, soon forget important things they once knew. They stop believing, stop trusting, stop having faith in God and His ways. We must continually pay attention to God's Word which the Holy Spirit enables us to understand.

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