Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 and Matthew 24:9-22. In what larger context does Paul see the sufferings of the Thessalonians and himself?
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Paul is so distressed about his absence from the Thessalonians that he decides to forgo the companionship of Timothy in Athens in order to get firsthand news of their situation. His intense longing for them leads him to prefer being without Timothy rather than being without news of how they are faring.
Because Timothy’s mission is to be [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
“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 [...]
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 [...]
The Dwindling Church
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“We simply must DO something to increase our membership,” Angie said.
Sylvia shrugged. “Or get more of our inactive members to show up for church–”
“–With an offering.” Angie broke in.
Fred was peeling an orange as he entered the living room from the kitchen. “What’s wrong with belonging to a small church?” he said. Angie jumped up and handed him a towel.
Sylvia said, [...]
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 [...]
Several years ago, when I first became a literature evangelist, I was attending an awards banquet for the best sales persons in the Southwest. I was awe struck by the nice shiny plaques and trophies the winners were receiving for leading the region in sales, hours worked, and other categories. I was so impressed that I decided right then and there that I was going to be Number One next year so that I could receive such a reward at [...]
Whether we like it or not, someone is always watching us. Have you ever thought about that? Even when you think you’re completely on your own, in a place where you think you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you, people are watching. Being a Christian only increases the number of people watching.
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Why do people watch Christians so intently? Some folks would say it’s because they’re waiting for us to mess up. In a [...]
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 [...]
Key Thought : A desire to please God and love others will truly be an effective witness for Christ.
[Teaching plan for "The Apostolic Example" July 30, 2012]
1. Have a volunteer read I Thessalonians 2:1-3.
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. How can we be positive and persevere in presenting the gospel when things aren’t going so well for us or we have a ton of opposition? Share [...]
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 [...]
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:3. What key point is he making there about motives?
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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 [...]
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 [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 2:1-12, Acts 16:1-40, Deut. 10:16, Ps. 51:1-10, 2 Cor. 8:1-5, Luke 11:11-13.
Memory Text: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV).
Key Thought: By revealing what the true motive in ministry must be, Paul can help us all examine our hearts and lives in light of the gospel.
This week’s lesson marks a major transition from the [...]