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Studies in 1 Thessalonians

The author of Acts describes the time of Paul's ministry among the Thessalonians Acts Just how long he stayed in Thessalonica is not clear, but Paul says in this letter that he worked long and hard to support himself 2: This suggests that he must have stayed for at least several months. Thessalonica, the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia in northern Greece, was located on a major east-west highway. Many of its people had worshipped idols before becoming Christians 1: But now they were faithful to the Lord, and because of them the Lord's message had spread everywhere in the region 1: This letter may be the oldest of Paul's letters found in the New Testament, and may even be the earliest of all the New Testament writings.

Paul sends greetings to the followers of Christ at Thessalonica. He thanks them for becoming examples of faithfulness and love for all the followers throughout Greece. He praises them for turning away from idols and facing mistreatment because of their faith in Christ. Paul reminds them about how hard he worked when he was staying with them and giving them God's message. Although Paul's co-worker, Timothy, has given Paul good reports of their faith, Paul now hopes to visit them once again.

Book of 1 Thessalonians

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that God wants them to be holy, which means treating one another with respect and avoiding immoral behavior. He then explains what will happen when Christ returns, a day Paul encourages the Thessalonians to be watching for at all times.

Paul's warm greetings show how much he loved and appreciated the Thessalonian Christians. He prays that God will help them remain holy until Christ returns again. The author of this book encourages the Thessalonians to remain faithful in the midst of suffering. Revelation was written to a church facing intense persecution. What did the author of the letter want the church to know?

That Jesus is all-powerful, worthy of worship and is in control of the world. Adult Youth Individuals Format: What makes 1 Thessalonians unique? Why was 1 Thessalonians written? Beverly Roberts Gaventa summarizes Paul's purpose this way: How is 1 Thessalonians constructed? Paul himself founded the church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey Acts He was only in the city a short time because he was forced out by enemies of the gospel. Yet the church of the Thessalonians continued alive and active. Paul's deep concern for this young church he was forced to suddenly leave prompted this letter.

On Paul's second missionary journey he was imprisoned in Philippi and then miraculously freed from jail - only to be kicked out of the city.


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Then he came to Thessalonica, the prosperous capital of the province of Macedonia northern Greece , located on the famous Egnatian Way. After only three weekends of prosperous ministry Acts He moved on to Berea - again enjoying several weeks of ministry, but soon driven out by the same Thessalonian mob. His next stop was Athens where he preached a good sermon but had mixed results. By the time he came to Corinth, he was in weakness, in fear and in much trembling 1 Corinthians 1: At this point of the second missionary journey, it seemed that Paul was a very discouraged missionary.

While in Corinth, it is likely that Paul was greatly concerned about the churches he had just founded, and he wondered about their state. While at Corinth, Silas and Timothy came to him from Thessalonica with great news: He wrote it just a few months after he had first established the church in Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 1 Commentary - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

After writing and sending this letter, Paul enjoyed a sustained and fruitful ministry in Corinth - and eventually returned to the Thessalonians. This letter presupposes a basic truth: Paul found it important, even essential, to organize these young converts into a group of mutual interest, care, and fellowship. Paul "knew better than to leave his young societies with nothing more than the vague memory of pious preaching.

The local organization was, as yet, primitive, but evidently it was sufficient to maintain itself and carry on the business of the church, when the guiding hand of the missionary was removed.


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Paul brought this customary greeting to the Thessalonian Christians, hailing them in the grace and peace of God the Father. Morris on grace to you: It is a big step from 'greeting' to 'grace. It comes to mean 'favor,' 'kindness,' and then especially God's kindness to man in providing for his spiritual needs in Christ. It is a clear witness to his conviction concerning the deity of Jesus Christ. What follows is not a theological treatise, but a real letter arising out of the situation in which the Apostle and his friends find themselves.

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,. We give thanks to God always for you all: When Paul thought of the Christians in Thessalonica, his heart filled with gratitude. Paul started the church there in less than ideal circumstances, being run out of town after only three weekends with them Acts Yet the church was strong and full of life. Paul knew that this work was beyond him and his abilities and that it was the work of God. It is their practice to give thanks to God 'continually, never skipping a single day. Making mention of you in our prayers: When Paul prayed for people and churches, it wasn't necessarily a long time of intercession.

He often simply made mention of a church or a person in prayer Romans 1: The plural implies that all three missionaries prayed together. Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith: There were things about the Christians in Thessalonica that Paul simply could not forget. He always remembered them. What he remembered about them made him thankful. Paul's gratitude didn't come because all the Christians in Thessalonica thought so highly of him. Later, Paul used a whole chapter defending himself and his ministry against slander and false accusations.

Paul's gratitude didn't come because the Thessalonian Christians were morally impeccable. Later in the letter, Paul strongly warned them against the failings in regard to sexual impurity. Paul's gratitude didn't come because the Thessalonian Christians were completely accurate in all their doctrine. He had to correct some of their wrong ideas in that area also.

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Your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ: Despite the problems, Paul was so grateful to God for the Thessalonians because there was an undeniable work of the Holy Spirit and a marvelous change in their lives. The three great Christian virtues were evident among them: But Paul's stress is not on these virtues alone, but rather upon what they produce.

Knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God: Paul reminded them that God loved them beloved and that He chose them election. The two go together. When we love someone, we naturally choose them. Now the greatest privilege of the greatest men of God's chosen people has been extended to the humblest of the Gentiles.

The following verses will explain why Paul was so confident in knowing their election by God. There were definite signs that Paul could see that said, "These Thessalonians are God's elect. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. For our gospel did not come to you in word only: The gospel is not a matter of mere words.

In modern culture there is an overflow of information or entertainment that often only amounts to mere words. Yet the gospel is more that words, it also has power. For our gospel did not come to you: Literally, Paul wrote " became to you - proved to be, in its approach to you. The message of Jesus Christ has power. It has power for miracles; power for wonderful signs from God; and best of all, it has the power to change minds, hearts, and lives.

Bible Living

I extend the word to apply to the spiritual power of doctrine … It is the living voice of God, inseparable from its effect, as compared with the empty and lifeless eloquence of men. And in the Holy Spirit: It is a message by the Holy Spirit , a living Person, who works within the hearts of the hearers, to convict, to comfort and to instruct. If the preacher only speaks, then it is a matter of word only , but when the Holy Spirit works through the word, a great spiritual work is accomplished.

We sometimes think too little about the spiritual operations of the Word of God. There is a spiritual work of God's Word goes far beyond the basic educational value of learning the Bible. And in much assurance: It is a message given in much assurance. This describes the preacher who really believes what he preaches. There is no substitute for that assurance , and if a preacher doesn't have it, he should stay out of the pulpit. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,. And you became followers of us and of the Lord: They stopped following other things, but followed after Paul and the Lord.

Why Study the Books of 1–2 Thessalonians?

Paul says that it was a good thing for the Thessalonians to follow him, and he wasn't shy about saying "follow me" because he knew where he was going. This shows that Paul's message included an element of personal discipleship. There was a sense in which Paul personally led these Thessalonian Christians in their spiritual life.

1 Thessalonians 2 - Daily Bible Study

They could see his life and were invited to learn from his example. Paul repeated this theme several times: Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. Having received the word in much affliction: The Thessalonian Christians distinguished themselves because they received the word, even in much affliction.

The message they heard came with adversity, yet they received it and Paul thanked God because of it. The corresponding verb, for example, was used of pressing the grapes in wine-making till they burst asunder, and so metaphorically came to mean very great trouble. With joy of the Holy Spirit: When the Thessalonian Christians faced the affliction from receiving the word, they didn't just face it with a resigned fatalism. They faced it with joy of the Holy Spirit. Not long before coming to Thessalonica, Paul and Silas personally experienced the principle of having the joy of the Holy Spirit even in the presence of much affliction - when they sang in the Philippian jail despite their chains and sufferings.

They were examples of this same spirit to the Thessalonian Christians. So that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. So that you became examples: First, Paul was an example to the Thessalonian Christians. Then they became examples to others. This is exactly how the work of God should happen. To all in Macedonia and Achaia: The Christians in Macedonia and Achaia needed examples, and the Thessalonians supplied that need.

This was true even though they had only been followers of Jesus a short time. As Christians, we always need others who will show us how to follow Jesus Christ, beyond the need of hearing about how to follow Him. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.