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"?

5 Answers 5


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.


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.


The "Spirit" in question is Holy Spirit, and the paradox is that it is impossible for humans to quench or in any way harm the Holy Spirit, who is God (Acts 5:4), any more than humans can harm the physical sun (at least by any technological means available for humans presently). But, then what does it mean that there is a risk that we may "quench the Spirit?" In fact, the Spirit is compared to the fire in Holy Scripture (cf. Luke 3:15-17), and "fire" here means the operation, the energy of Holy Spirit working in a transfiguring way on humans, giving to humans gradually the "new birth" (John 3:3) and sonship of God (Romans 8:15).

However, this working, this operation of the Spirit in us, the operation or "fire" that consumes our sinfulness (cf. Hebrews 12:29) is not automatic, but pending on our desire to be transfigured and born anew, to co-act with God in His working in us (συνεργοί/co-workers) /1 Cor. 3:9/. But unless we co-work, co-operate or synergyze with God's Spirit, then we quench Him, quench His activity in us and deprive ourselves of the prospect of the transfiguration and the new birth, without which we cannot become "new creations" (2 Cor. 5:17) in Christ and inheritors of the Heavenly Kingdom. Thus, we cannot, of course harm Holy Spirit, but we harm ourselves to eternal damnation if we let not His "fire"/operation act in us and consume our sinfulness through our free co-operating.


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.


I don't believe that God the Almighty do not want us to quench the Holy Ghost by holding back on lifting up his Holy Name, we must praise God unconditional by giving him praises through dancing and clapping our hands and uplifted in praises.

  • Welcome to the S.E. Q&A forum. I see that someone down voted your answer. I think they thought that you did not really answer the question so much as share your faith. We are looking for objective, direct answers to the questions posted.
    – Steve11235
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 13:35

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