Summary of 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.
Summary of 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.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
6) Part personal Question. My answer: Paul preached God’s gospel despite strong opposition. He did not try to trick them. They are approved by God. He never used flattery. They were open and honest. They were gentle among you like a mother caring for her little children. They loved you, so they shared God and their lives with you. They were not a burden to you. They were holy, righteous, and blameless, and they dealt with each of you as a father does who encourages, comforts, and urges you to lead Godly lives. It’s about pleasing God, not others.
7) Personal question. My answer: Paul says in all of his distress and persecution, he was encouraged by the faith of the Thessalonians who suffered. He will come if God clears the way for him to come. We all suffer some degree of affliction in our lives; it’s how we deal with it that matters the most. For me, it’s difficult when faced with sin opportunities that are pleasureable to pick the Godly way. While I have no suffered any physical afflictions like Paul did, I believe we all are under mental affliction as we struggle in today’s society that so wants to sugar coat everything and call sin something else entirely, like a mistake. It’s the mental battle now that we all must win.
8 ) Part Personal Question. My answer: Paul was encouraging, comforting, and urging the Thessalonians to live Godly lives (2:12). He tells them that he longs to see them but that Satan stopped them and continues to do so. He, however, still wants to see them if God clears a way for him to do so. It’s nice to have such an intimate connection with other believers. For me, I have none of that so it’s definitely something I need to work on.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
It’s cool to see such a faith-filled and loving community that sadly many of us don’t experience in this world.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2-3
1 Thessalonians 2:
Paul defends his own character and ministry before the Thessalonians because he had many enemies in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5-6 and 17:13) who discredited him in his absence, especially because of his hurried departure from Thessalonica. Paul’s enemies said he left town quickly because he was a self-serving coward, untrustworthy, had impure motives, deceived others, and only wanted personal glory
Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his sufferings in the ministry. He made the point that he would not carry on in the face of beatings and conflict if he were in it only for himself. When Paul arrived in Thessalonica, the wounds on his back from Philippi were still fresh.
Acts 16:23-24 records that he suffered a public flogging and had his feet in stocks while confined in the city’s inner prison.
In the first century world Paul lived in, there were many competing religions, and many ministers of those religions were motivated by greed and gain.
The city of Thessalonica sat on the Egnatian Way, the famous highway that went east to west through Macedonia. Thessalonica was also an important port and a melting pot city with cultures from all over the world. There were a staggering variety of religions and religious professionals in Thessalonica. In this city, you would find the worship of the gods of the Olympian pantheon, especially Apollo, Athena, and Hercules. There were the native Greek mystery religions, celebrating Dionysis and the sex and drinking cult. The Greek intellectual and philosophical traditions were also represented. There were shrines to many Egyptian gods: Isis, Sarapis, Anubis. Also present were the Roman State cults that deified the political heroes of Rome. There were also the Jewish people and the God-fearing Gentiles.
Most of these religions were missionary minded and sought to spread their faith using itinerant evangelists and preachers. Most of these missionaries were opportunists who took everything they could from their listeners, and then moved on to find someone else to support them.
Paul’s satisfaction came from his relationship with Jesus, not from the praise of people. Paul was among the Thessalonians to give something to them, not to take something from them.
The sacrifices Paul endured for the sake of ministry to the Thessalonians were not a burden. He was well pleased to do it because Paul was affectionately longing for the Thessalonians as they had become dear to Paul and his associates.
Paul recognized his right to be supported by those he ministered to (1 Corinthians 9:14), but voluntarily gave up that right to set himself apart from missionaries of false religions. Paul denied his rights and took a higher standard upon himself.
Paul earnestly believed and taught others that God had spoken to man and that we have recorded this word of God. Paul believed in a voice that speaks to mankind with the authority of eternity, and speaks above mere human opinion. Since we do have this word of God, we have a true voice of authority.
When the Thessalonians responded to the Gospel, they became the targets of persecution.
Paul comforted these suffering Christians with the assurance that they were not the first to suffer this way. The Lord Jesus faced persecution, and the Christians in Judea faced it first. Additionally, Paul and his associates were also persecuted.
Paul comforted the Thessalonians by assuring them that God would indeed take care of their persecutors. When Christians forget this, they often disgrace and curse themselves by returning persecution for persecution towards others.
Paul’s Response to Satan’s Attack:
- Paul understood who was attacking him (Satan)
- Paul had faith
- Paul was committed to fight what was against him
- God brought victory as Paul returns to the Thessalonians in Acts 20:1-5
1 Thessalonians 3:
For the sake of the Thessalonians, Paul was willing to be left in Athens alone. It cost him something to send Timothy to the Thessalonians, and he thought it was good to pay that cost.
Paul sought to establish first. Encouragement can really only come after we are established in the right direction.
As part of the normal Christian life, believers have an appointment with affliction.
It is true that there is a great deal of suffering we could be spared by simply obeying God’s Word, and God wants to spare us that suffering. Nevertheless, suffering was good enough to teach Jesus (Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8), therefore it is good enough to teach us. God does teach the believer perseverance, obedience, how to comfort others, and deeper fellowship with Jesus in trials.
There are two ancient Greek words used to translate the concept of suffering, and neither of them is used exclusively in regard to persecution. Thilipsis was used for such things as physical pain, emotional hardships, and suffering under temptation. Pasko was used for such things as physical sufferings unrelated to persecution, suffering under temptation, and hardships in a general sense.
Affliction means that God loves us enough to give the best when we may only desire what is easy. Paul recognized that Christians are appointed to affliction.
Paul could barely endure the thought that the faith of the Thessalonians might crumble under this season of affliction, so he sent Timothy to both check on them and to help them. He sent Timothy to them, because those who are in affliction need the help of other godly people.
Calvin on faith and love: “In these two words he states concisely the sum total of godliness. All who aim at this double mark are beyond the danger of error for the whole of their life.”
Morris on good news: “The verb he employs is the one which is usually translated ‘preach the gospel.’ Indeed, this is the only place in the whole of Paul’s writings where it is used in any other sense than that.”
Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, and his coming to that city was marked by difficulty. He said of his coming to Corinth, I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). Yet since Timothy came back with good news, Paul had a renewed strength and freshness of life. It made Paul feel much better that the Thessalonians were doing well.
The church is founded upon the apostles, with Christ Himself the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). The foundation of the New Jerusalem is the twelve apostles (Revelation 21:14). There was something significantly unique about the first-century apostles and prophets, and that unique ministry is preserved in the New Testament.
Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians emphasized three things that are important for every Christian today:
- First, he wanted to be with them, so they could benefit from his apostolic wisdom and authority.
- He wanted them to abound in love.
- He wanted them to be established in true heart-holiness.