Summary of 1 Thessalonians 1:
Paul writes to the church in Thessalonians (a church he founded), telling them he thanks God for them and prays for them, remembering how their work is produced by faith, their labor prompted by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in Jesus.
God has chosen them as evinced by the power of the Holy Spirit and their deep conviction. They welcomed the message with joy despite suffering. The Thessalonians then became a model for Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere. It is known how the Thessalonians turned from idols to the One, True God and how they wait for his Son to return from heaven–the one who was raised from the dead–and who will rescue all from the coming wrath.
Summary of Acts 17:1-10:
Paul preached in the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, explaining and proving Christ had to suffer and was raised from the dead. Some of the Jews as well as Greeks were persuaded and joined Paul. The Jews were jealous of Paul’s success so they rounded up a mob and rioted in the city. They searched for Paul and Silas but did not find them. Instead, they dragged Jason (whom Paul was staying with) and others before city officials, saying they have defied Caesar by declaring a new king called Jesus. The officials were not happy, but they released Jason and the others on bond.
Thus, Paul and Silas had to flee to Berea, where they preached in the Jewish synagogue.
BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
3) Part personal Question. My answer: The Thessalonians did their work by faith, their labor by love, and their endurance inspired by hope in Jesus. They imitated Jesus despite suffering and welcomed the message with joy given by the Holy Spirit. I like how they welcomed the message with joy. I can take the message for granted a lot since I have such an easy life relatively speaking.
4) Personal Question. My answer: The Christian life is all by faith and has suffering and joy. Jesus because he is King, Lord, and Savior.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Verse 6 because I need to be more joyful.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
All personal questions again. Wonder if this will be a pattern for the second have of the study of Acts. I like joy and suffering again appearing together. Seems they are forever intertwined.
Another great video for an overview of 1 Thessalonians:
Holiness, Love, and Future Hope is the themes of this book.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 1 with Acts 17:1-10
History of the Church of Thessalonica
Paul visited Thessalonica when enemies were chasing him from town to town (Acts 16-17). After Paul left the Thessalonians, they continued to experience trouble.
This letter is the earliest record we have of a Christian community. Paul wrote this letter after Timothy reported back positive things about this church. While Paul rejoiced, he was concerned about their problems. The Thessalonians were disagreeing about Jesus’ return to earth and about morality.
Paul is in Thessalonica with Silas. Timothy had previously visited Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2).
Paul founded this church (Acts 17:1-9), but was driven away. Still, he never forgot them, which prompted this letter.
Thessalonica was the prosperous capital of the province of Macedonia (northern Greece), located on the famous Egnatian Way.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
After only three weekends of prosperous ministry (Acts 17:2), Paul had to flee from an angry mob. 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 2:3). 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: the church there was strong. Paul became so excited that he dashed off this letter to the Thessalonians, probably his first letter to any church. He wrote it just a few months after he had first established the church in Thessalonica. After writing and sending this letter, Paul enjoyed a sustained and fruitful ministry in Corinth – and eventually returned to the Thessalonians.
Paul brought this customary greeting to the Thessalonian Christians, hailing them in the grace and peace of God the Father.
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: faith, love, and hope.
“Here for the first time, chronologically, in Paul’s writings we have this famous triad: faith, love, hope. But Paul’s stress is not on these virtues alone, but rather upon what they produce.” (Hiebert)
- Faith produces works
- Loe produces labor
- Hope produces patience
“There are two different ancient Greek words for work: ergon and kopos. Ergon “may be pleasant and stimulating,” but kopos “implies toil that is strenuous and sweat-producing.” (Hiebert)
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that God loved them (beloved) and that He chose them (election). The two go together. When we love someone, we naturally choose them.
- “The phrase beloved by God was a phrase which the Jews applied only to supremely great men like Moses and Solomon, and to the nation of Israel itself. Now the greatest privilege of the greatest men of God’s chosen people has been extended to the humblest of the Gentiles.” (Barclay)
The Gospel is more thatnwords, it also has power.
The Holy Spirit, a living Person, who works within the hearts of the hearers, to convict, to comfort, and to instruct.
The Thessalonians stopped following other things but followed after Paul and the Lord. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Examples to Others
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.
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.
“Sounded forth”means “a loud ringing sound, as of a trumpet blast.” The word of the Lord sounded forth, and their faith toward God has gone out
It seems that the verb douleuo (to serve) was apparently never used in a religious sense in pagan literature. Hiebert quotes Denney: “No Greek or Roman could take in the idea of ‘serving’ a God… There was no room for it in his religion; his conception of the gods did not admit of it. If life was to be a moral service rendered to God, it must be to a God quite different from any to whom he was introduced by his ancestral worship.”
Later in this letter, Paul used the expression God did not appoint us to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9) to refer to God’s deliverance of His people in the context of the wrath to come upon the world in the last days. He may have the same idea in mind here. “Used technically, as it so frequently is in the NT, ‘wrath’ (orges) is a title for the period just before Messiah’s kingdom on earth, when God will afflict earth’s inhabitants with an unparalleled series of physical torments because of their rejection of His will.” (Thomas)
End Notes Acts 17:1-10:
Thessalonica was an important port city, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) and a three-day walk from Philippi. Modern Thessalonika is still a large, thriving city.
Paul uses the Scriptures, explains them, demonstrates how Christ died for us, and talks about who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Some believed.
When Paul was in Thessalonica, he received financial support from the Christians in Philippi (Philippians 4:15-16).
Jason was a Christian in Thessalonica whose house seems to have been a center for the church.
Other versions say “men who have turned the world upside-down” instead of caused trouble. This more effectively reflects what Christ had done and continues to do for those who know him.
No one wanted to defy Caesar and bring Rome’s wrath upon them. This further stirred up people since no one wanted Roman soldiers to come and restore order. So Jason had to post the bond even though he did not start the riot.
Paul and Silas left Thessalonica quickly, not wanting to bring more persecution on the Christians there or to jeopardize Jason’s security deposit.
Paul only spent a few weeks in Thessalonica (Acts 17:2) and it seems he wished he could have taught them more. He decided to teach them more in a written letter, and many believe that 1 Thessalonians was his first letter written to a congregation.