Monday: Paul’s Hope and Joy (1 Thess. 2:17-20)
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In the fourteen verses that run from 1 Thessalonians 2:17 through 3:10, Paul offers a chronological account of his separation from the Thessalonian believers. The theme of friendship runs throughout the passage. These Thessalonians are not just parishioners of Paul; they are truly friends. The entire passage pulses with deep emotion.

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Paul wants all of his later advice to, and criticism of, the church (in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5) to be read in light of his [...]

Sunday: The Judean Example (1 Thess 2:13-16)
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

First Thessalonians 2:13-16 reads on the surface like a digression from the previous themes of pleasing God and caring for the new believers (1 Thess. 2:1-12). But verse 13 continues the theme of how the Thessalonians responded to the apostles and the gospel that they brought to Thessalonica. With verse 14, Paul returns to the theme of imitation. The persecution in Thessalonica echoed the earlier persecution of Christians in Judea. Some Jews persecuted Jewish Christians in Judea, while Gentile and [...]

Sabbath: Friends Forever (1 Thess. 2:13-3:13)
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Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 2:13-3:13; Rom. 9:1-5; 11:1-12, 24-32; Matt. 24:9-22; 10:42.

Memory Text: “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:13, NIV).

Key Thought: Paul continues to praise the Thessalonians for the good things he sees in them and to encourage them amid the persecution they are facing.

As we read these passages, we can see that, to Paul, the Thessalonians aren’t [...]

Further Study: The Apostolic Example
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“No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellow men is not a true disciple of Christ. . . . He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 318, 319.

“While Paul was careful to set before his [...]

Inside Story: The Lost Boy
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Image © John Baker from GoodSalt.com

Du and Zho are a Global Mission pioneer couple who are planting a church in a city in China. They sell products from door to door in order to meet people and make friends for Christ. They focus on helping people with special needs such as the sick, the elderly, and the needy. Then they introduce their new friends to their Savior.

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Most of the people living in the region worship idols, so Du and [...]

Thursday: To Not Be a Burden (1 Thess. 2:9-12)
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While Paul was in Thessalonica, what other things did he do in addition to preaching the gospel, and why? See 1 Thess. 2:9, 10.

The idea that Paul was working “night and day” would be a huge exaggeration if taken literally. The Greek, however, expresses a qualitative idea rather than the actual amount of time spent. In other words, Paul was saying that he worked beyond the call of duty in order not to burden them; Paul did not want anything to stand in the [...]

Wednesday: Caring Deeply (1 Thess. 2:7, 8)
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In 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul’s primary motivation for ministry is to please God. What additional motivation does Paul bring up in the verses that follow? See 1 Thess. 2:6-8.

In today’s world, money, sex, and power are often considered the primary motivations for human behavior, at least for those consumed by self-interest. In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6, Paul uses a number of different words to rule out similar motivations in relation to his ministry. Greed, immorality, deception, and flattery have no place in Christian life and [...]

Tuesday: Pleasing God (1 Thess. 2:4-6)
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Read 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6. Describe the contrast between Paul’s motivation for ministry and the worldly alternatives he mentions. Why is it not always so easy to see the differences; that is, how can people deceive themselves regarding the purity of their own motives? Why is that so easy to do?

The word often translated “approved” (1 Thess. 2:4) reflects the idea of testing or examination. The apostles allowed God to test the integrity of their lives and intentions. The purpose of that testing was [...]

Monday: The Character of the Apostles (1 Thess. 2:3)
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Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:3. What key point is he making there about motives?

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

It was widely known in the ancient world that there were three keys to persuading people to change their ideas or practices. People judge the power of an argument on the character of the speaker (in Greek: ethos), the quality or logic of the argument itself (logos), and the power of the speaker’s appeal to the hearer’s emotions or self-interest (pathos). In 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 Paul [...]

Sunday: Boldness in Suffering (1 Thess. 2:1, 2)
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Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 2 in light of Acts 16. What connection does Paul draw between his earlier ministry in Philippi and his ministry in Thessalonica?

First Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the themes of the first chapter. The “you yourselves know” (NKJV) of this verse recalls the same language in 1 Thessalonians 1:5. And Paul’s reference to “coming” or gaining “entrance” with the church recalls 1 Thessalonians 1:9. So, Paul is continuing the themes that he raised in the opening chapter of the letter. The end of the [...]