Summary of passages: 1 Thessalonians 2: Paul writing to the church in Thessalonica: We preached God’s gospel despite strong opposition, Paul proclaims. We are not trying to trick you. We are men approved by God entrusted with the gospel. We are trying to please God, not men, who tests our hearts. We never used flattery. We were open and honest.
We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you we shared God and our lives with you. We were not a burden to you. We were holy, righteous, and blameless and we dealt with each of you as a father does who encourages, comforts, and urges you to lead Godly lives.
You accepted God’s word as such which is at work in you. Your churches imitated God’s church which are in Christ Jesus and you suffered for it. But the wrath of God has come upon those against us.
We wanted to come to you but Satan stopped us from doing so. You are our hope, joy, glory, and crown.
1 Thessalonians 3: We sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in faith. We (believers) are destined for trials and persecution and I (Paul) wanted to make sure you were not tempted by the Devil.
Timothy reports back that you have good memories of us and long to see us again. You encouraged us in our distress because of your faith. We really live because you stand firm in the Lord. You give us joy. We pray for you night and day to see you again and for God to supply what is lacking in your faith.
We hope to see you again. May your love overflow like ours does for you. May God strengthen your hearts so you will be holy when Jesus comes again.
6) Paul was not trying to please men but God (2:4). Paul loved the people and showed it (2:8). Paul was encouraging, comforting, and urging to live Godly lives (2:12). The people accepted Paul’s words as the Word of God (2:13). They imitated God’s churches which are in Jesus Christ (2:14). They have faith and stand firm in the Lord (3:7-8).
7a) Believers are destined for them.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I am having trouble with this question because in my Bible the word affliction is not used. I have “trials, persecution, and distress.” The definition of affliction according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the cause of persistent pain or distress; great suffering”. Persecution is “to cause to suffer because of belief”. The difference between these two words is persistent. I am answering based on the question which uses affliction and its definition even though I do not have that in my Bible.
I have never suffered affliction. Pain, distress, and suffering ebbs and flows in my life as it does in everyone’s (even non-believers). I have not suffered affliction resulting from my commitment to Christ that I know of as of yet. I believe God tests everyone (believers and non-believers) through trials and tribulations. His goal is to get us to believe and once we believe to become more like Christ. How does He do that? Through trials and tribulations mostly. I think complacently is a word God does not like when it comes to a relationship with Him.
Being blessed with living in the twenty-first century in the United States of America with the freedom of religion as we have it affliction (if any I have suffered) is nothing compared to Paul’s and the early believers.
8a) We were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children (2:7). We loved you so much we were delighted to share with you because you had become so dear to us (2:8). We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children (2:11). They are his hope, joy, crown, and glory (2:19-20). Joy we have because of you (3:9). Our love overflows for you (3:12)
b) Personal Question. My answer: Delighted to share with you and dear to us. I would like to be more gentle and encouraging.
9) I can’t put this any better than Paul. I will pray his exact words.
Conclusions: With so much negativity in the world, we all need to hear encouraging, comforting, and affirming words. I want to try to be more life-giving and not life-taking with my words. I sometimes fall into a complaining pattern which I need to recognize more readily. It’s progressing but not as quickly as I’d like.
It’s hard to break free when you are inundated with so much junk in this world. To be above it all is difficult and a daily struggle for me.
But praying God’s word and reading God’s word is an excellent source of affirmation and a model of what to say. Great stuff this lesson!