SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The next two New Testament bible books we’re going to read are letters written by Paul to the church he started in a city called Thessalonica. A record of Paul’s preaching in that city (and the resulting events) can be found in Acts 17:1-15.
- In that day, Thessalonica was a city of 200,000 people and had been made the capitol of a province called Macedonia, which covered the north half of present-day Greece after being conquered by the Romans in 168 BC.
- Paul opens by sending greetings not only from himself, but also from two of his ministry apprentices, Silas and Timothy.
- Paul commends the readers for showing faith, hope and love through their actions.
- The Thessalonians are commended for having joy (given by the Holy Spirit) in spite of severe suffering.
- The Thessalonian Christians and their story had become well known and a model for others in surrounding areas to follow.
- Our faith, hope, and love should produce work for God. We don't do good works to earn approval from him, but the natural result of our faith in him, our love for him, and the hope that he gives us should be good works.
- We can have joy despite suffering. This may barely be humanly possible, but with the presence and power of God given through the Holy Spirit, it is possible for Christians.
- Paul called the church in Thessalonica a model for other churches and believers. Apparently this was because of the way they responded to the message about Jesus, their joy despite suffering, and their works prompted by faith and love. Could you be held up as a model for other believers? If so, in what ways? If not, why not? And what will you do about that? What changes could you make in your relationship with God to allow him to more powerfully work through you, so you can have a life worth imitating?