Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians
Paul was concerned that the believers in Thessalonica might stop following Jesus because of the opposition they were facing..
In this letter, Paul first talks at length about his relationship with the new believers in Thessalonica. He recalls his time with them and says how grateful he is that they’ve remained faithful to Jesus.
After wishing them a blessing, he makes a transition to provide briefer teaching and instruction on several practical matters.
• Paul teaches the Thessalonians to avoid sexual immorality,
• to love one another
• and to work hard and earn their own livings.
But Paul reminds the Thessalonians that Jesus will come back suddenly and unexpectedly. So they should live in such a way that they won’t be ashamed to greet him, whenever he comes.
The apostle Paul wrote letters to the congregations he established in order to strengthen them, answer questions and address the needs of the members when he could not be with them. When Timothy returned with the welcome news that the Thessalonians had remained faithful, Paul wrote to them to express his joy. He also used the opportunity to provide some teaching and correction the community needed.
Audience: The church at Thessalonica
The church at Thessalonica was very young, having been established only two or three years before this letter was written. The Thessalonian Christians needed to mature in their faith. In addition, there was a misunderstanding concerning Christ’s second coming—some thought Christ would return immediately; thus, they were confused when their loved ones died because they expected Christ to return beforehand. Also, believers were being persecuted.
The letter was intended to encourage the Christian growth of new believers in the Thessalonian church and to settle questions they had, primarily about the Lord’s second coming
Paul commended the members for their steadfastness and faithfulness despite suffering severe persecution and opposition. They “became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1:6).
Because of a campaign by some in Thessalonica to destroy Paul’s reputation, he testified that his conduct among them had been in every way an example of unselfish and brotherly devotion to them.
His desire was to please God and not to seek the praise of men. He refused financial support.
Paul commended them for receiving the Word of God.
He longed to see them again despite the failures of previous attempts.
Christians are being persecuted and Paul hopes that this isn’t gonna shake the Thessalonians’ faith in Jesus. They’ve gotta be rock solid in the face of opposition.
Paul expressed his deep-seated concern for their spiritual welfare as he was unsure how they would stand up to bitter and sustained persecution. However, he was greatly encouraged and filled with joy when Timothy returned with the news of their steadfastness and devotion to God and His Word (3:1-10).
Paul emphasized godly conduct, including a warning against sexual immorality and encouragement to develop a righteous attitude toward fellow brethren and outsiders.
Love is important when it comes to non-Christians, too. Show them respect, and basically, keep a low profile so Gentiles won’t start trying to find reasons to persecute you.
These instructions were a prelude to a great future event—the second coming of Christ. Paul told them that after Christ’s return they would always be with Him.
One day soon, Paul says, you’ll see Jesus descend from Heaven with all kinds of trumpet blasts and shouts and archangels following him. See? Epic.
The dead will be raised up to Heaven and the living will float up into the clouds to high five Jesus (or something like that).
Then all the faithful will live with God forever.
Paul continued with the subject of the second coming of Christ. His return to the earth is a certain and undeniable event. This is a theme that is frequently mentioned throughout the Bible. Paul warned the members to be spiritually alert and vigilant so that they would not be caught off guard by the appearing of Christ. He will come suddenly, unexpectedly—“as a thief in the night”—and we need to be ready (5:1-11).
He also gives them some practical advice. Be respectful to the leaders in the community. Don’t fight with each other. Do point out when other Christians are doing the wrong thing. But don’t “repay evil for evil.” Be happy. Pray. Be thankful. Listen to the prophets among them who are filled with the Holy Sprit. In short, be excellent to each other.
Author: Apostle Paul
In the church of Thessalonica there were some misunderstandings about the return of Christ. Paul desired to clear them up in his letter. He also writes it as an instruction in holy living.
The first three chapters are about Paul longing to visit the church in Thessalonica but not being able to because Satan stopped them.
In chapter 4, Paul is instructing the believers in Thessalonica on how to live a holy life.
Paul goes on to instruct them of a misconception they had. He tells them that the people who have died in Christ Jesus will also go to heaven when He comes back.
Paul reminds the Thessalonians that the persecution they were receiving from their “own countrymen”, the Jews who rejected their Messiah, is the same that the Old Testament prophets suffered.
Jesus warned that true prophets of God would always be opposed by the unrighteous.