Read 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10. In what ways does this passage offer additional evidence of the Thessalonians’ faith?
Paul continues the sentence that began in verse 2 by explaining how he knows the Thessalonians have become a model or type to the other believers in Macedonia (where Thessalonica was located) and Achaia (where Corinth was located).
First, they were a model of evangelistic effort and success. From them the word of God “rang out” (NIV) into both these provinces, and beyond. Paul also considered them to have a model faith because of their openness to him and the gospel. They were willing to be taught. They were also willing to make radical changes in their lives, such as giving up idols and other popular forms of worship.
Communication was relatively rapid in the ancient Roman world, thanks to well-built Roman roads and widespread travel. So, the claim that their faith was known “everywhere” may indicate that people in places like Rome and Antioch had already made reference to it in their communications with Paul.
It is also true that people want to live up to the high expectations of others. Praise contains an implied expectation. By praising their faith in such an overwhelming fashion, Paul was encouraging them to grow in that faith more and more.
It seems there was something uniquely remarkable about their conversion. As pagan idolaters they had to overcome two major barriers. First was the “crazy message” about some man who was dead and came back to life again. Then there was the fact that it was a crazy Jewish message. Many Gentiles probably laughed when they heard the Christian message. The Thessalonians didn’t. Instead, they completely rearranged their lives in light of the gospel.
“The Thessalonian believers were true missionaries. Their hearts burned with zeal for their Saviour, who had delivered them from fear of ‘the wrath to come.’ Through the grace of Christ a marvelous transformation had taken place in their lives, and the word of the Lord, as spoken through them, was accompanied with power. Hearts were won by the truths presented, and souls were added to the number of believers.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 256.
Read again 1 Thessalonians 1:10. What’s Paul talking about? What is the “wrath to come”? What does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with the point he is making? Why is this promise so crucial to all that we believe?See 1 Cor. 15:12-17; John 11:24, 25; Dan. 12:2.