“The Thessalonian believers were greatly annoyed by men coming among them with fanatical ideas and doctrines.
Some were ‘disorderly, working not at all, but . . . busybodies.’ The church had been properly organized, and officers had been appointed to act as ministers and deacons. But there were some, self-willed and impetuous, who refused to be subordinate to those who held positions of authority in the church.”-Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 261.
“Paul was not wholly dependent upon the labor of his hands for support while at Thessalonica. . . . Philippians 4:16. Notwithstanding the fact that he received this help he was careful to set before the Thessalonians an example of diligence, so that none could rightfully accuse him of covetousness, and also that those who held fanatical views regarding manual labor might be given a practical rebuke.”-Pages 348, 349.
“The custom of supporting men and women in idleness by private gifts or church money encourages them in sinful habits, and this course should be conscientiously avoided. Every man, woman, and child should be educated to do practical, useful work. All should learn some trade. It may be tentmaking, or it may be business in other lines; but all should be educated to use the members of their body to some purpose, and God is ready and willing to increase the adaptability of all who will educate themselves to industrious habits.”-Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 912.
- How does our church keep its balance between hanging onto truths confirmed in the past and following the advancing light of God? How can we know when new “light” is, indeed, “light” and not deception?
- How do we deal with unruly and troublesome church members who always seem to be complaining about something? At the same time, what about those who are expressing concerns over real problems?
- Summarize in your mind the essential message of Paul to the Thessalonians in these two letters in a way that makes them relevant to the situation in our church today.
Summary: The two letters of Paul to the Thessalonians have taught us a great deal about how to be a church in a difficult environment. However different the immediate context he dealt with is to ours, the principles he espoused are enduring and eternal, because they are inspired by the Lord Himself.