Sunday: Abounding More and More (1 Thess. 4:1, 2)
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Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 and 4:1-18. How does the content of chapter 4 expand on various parts of the prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13? What is the relationship between Paul’s prayer and his inspired words to the Thessalonians?


Paul’s prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 contains a number of key words that anticipate the content of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18. The prayer is about “abounding” in “holiness” and mutual “love” in light of the second coming of Jesus. All of these themes point to specific passages in chapter 4.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

In our text for today (1 Thess. 4:12) Paul picks up on the language of “abounding” in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, although the connection is masked by most modern translations. Modern translations have the commendable goal of making things more understandable in today’s language, but they may inadvertently hide connections that are explicit in the original. In the King James Version, the parallel between 1 Thessalonians 3:12 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1 is explicit; Paul invites the Thessalonians in both places to “abound more and more” in their love for each other and for everyone.

Paul began the work of building their Christian framework while he was with them, but now he is impressed by the Holy Spirit to fill in the gaps (1 Thess. 3:10) and clarify their understanding. The result would be “more and more” of what they were already attempting to do, which is live a life worthy of their calling.

Paul begins chapter 4 with, “Finally, then” (NKJV). In chapters 4 and 5 he is building on the previous chapters, where his friendship with them is the basis for the practical counsel he will now give. They had made a good start. Now he wants them to continue growing in the truths that they had learned from him.

Two mentions of Jesus in this passage (1 Thess. 4:115) are particularly interesting. They indicate that Paul was passing on the teaching of Jesus’ own words (which were later preserved in the four gospels). Paul was offering more than just good advice. Jesus Himself commanded the behaviors that Paul was encouraging. Paul, as Christ’s servant, was sharing the truths He had learned from Christ.

Read again 1 Thessalonians 4:1. What does it mean to walk in a way that will “please God”? Does the Creator of the universe really care about how we act? How can our actions actually “please God”? What are the implications of your answer?

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Sunday: Abounding More and More (1 Thess. 4:1, 2) — 4 Comments

  1. Maybe this isn't the focus of the lesson, but I think it's very interesting that Paul says "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you."

    That speaks a lot to me....Not everyone is called to the same type of lifestyle Paul was called to...it's ok to stay put and witness through right living...I really believe that. I'm saying this from half way around the world from my home state.

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  2. Its important to note that while Paul was loving & praying for the Thessalonians, he also was admonishing them to live rightly ąπ∂ blamelessly. They were to grow daily in their walk with the Lord ąπ∂ abound more ąπ∂ more in their spiritual lives.
    Moreso, in response to your comment Bryan; just as a Hynm writer says "if Ʊ cannot preach like Paul, Ʊ caŋ tell the love of Jesus, you can say He died for aℓℓ". As much as you can share the love of God. He sees the heart.

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  3. i love bryans comment...you can be more of an evangelist through right living! walk the talk!!Happy Sabbath everyone

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