Read 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8. Timothy was sent to encourage the Thessalonians. What aspects of Timothy’s report brought joy and encouragement to Paul? That is, what did Timothy see in the Thessalonians that Paul thought was so good?
The “but now” of verse 6 is very emphatic. Paul did not waste any time before sitting down to write to the Thessalonians. The instant he got the news from Timothy, he immediately wrote 1 Thessalonians.
The absence of words like always and constantly (see 1 Thess. 1:2) suggests there was something new in Paul’s joy and thanksgiving here beyond the constant joy and thanksgiving that he always felt when he prayed for the Thessalonians. The joy and thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 3:9, 10 is in immediate reaction to Timothy’s news.
What was lacking in their faith (1 Thess. 3:10)? The immediate text doesn’t say. As we can see later, Paul’s concern for their faith was more practical than theological. Chapters 4 and 5 indicate that they needed to bring their practice in line with their belief. Though they had love and faith and were “standing firm in the Lord,” it becomes apparent later in the letter that they still had some important growing to do.
Why is prayer so important in our own walk with the Lord? How much time do you spend in prayer? What does your answer tell you about how important you deem it? In what ways can you strengthen your prayer life?