Table of contents
Like a good detective, let's examine this book.
This is one of the earliest letters Paul wrote. In Acts, Luke says Paul preached over three Sabbath days to the Jews. (Acts 17) During this time, the church was started and began to grow. Paul is now writing to them so they can grow and abide in love and hope. He also gives hope so they know what to do when people die before the second coming of Christ. Christ will return. However, we do not fully when and how it will happen. This letter reminds us that God has a plan. Our job is to trust His timing.
🔍 Things to Notice
- How to keep growing in faith
- How to grow in love
- How to grow in hope
🙏 Jesus in this Book
(Every book reveals the glory of God, revealed in Christ Jesus)
- Our comfort in the last days
- Sexual morality
- Understanding the Lord’s return
- Basic Christian conduct
Who wrote it: The Apostle Paul
Martyred: Killed by Nero between 62 and 64 A.D. He beheaded. There were many more gruesome ways to die so this was considered a merciful death for a Roman citizen.
Who is the original audience: notes
Where are we: Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonian church from the city of Corinth around, just a few months after having preached in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey.
When was it written: 51 AD. This is one of the earliest letters written.
What is the big idea: The primary goal of this book could be summed up in one word: Encouragement.
Paul taught the people that any spiritual growth would ultimately be motivated by their hope for the ultimate return of Jesus Christ.
Why is this book important: Paul is writing to give hope for the future. This can do the same for all of us. Hope that no matter what days are ahead, God is good and just. He will take care of the living and the dead. Christ will return for His people. We can have joy in knowing that Jesus will return and He will bring His people to Him when the time is right.
How can I apply it?: From Chuck Swindoll: Do you ever feel as though your Christian faith has grown stale, that you are withering on the vine when you would rather be flourishing in His service? Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is the perfect remedy for such a feeling. Its focus on Christ’s return provides water for the thirsty soul today, encouraging growth in maturity by providing hope in the midst of suffering or uncertainty.
Paul’s specific, practical instruction for this process of sanctification can be applied directly to our current circumstances. By clinging to our hope in Christ, we may see several clear results in our lives: avoiding sexual immorality, refusing to defraud others, appreciating those Christians who serve on your behalf, refusing to repay evil for evil, rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in all things—to name a few (1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; 5:12–23). This list, of course, is not exhaustive, but the first letter to the Thessalonians makes clear that every Christian should expect to grow in holiness over the course of his or her life.
Quick Thoughts on Each Chapter
1 Thessalonians was written very early after the resurrection of Jesus. Possibly one of the earliest. While not all the letters Paul wrote were to churches he started, this one was. The theme of this letter could be: The hope of Christ’s return comforts and motivates us to live with hope.
Verse 8- Paul speaks of sharing his life with the church. Many times when Paul started these churches, he would spend years at these locations. He was also a “tent maker.” During this time in history, this was possibly just what it says, but also could be seen as a generalized leather-working as well. Therefore, it is possible Paul spent many of his days preaching and teaching while picking up odd jobs on the side.
Beginning at verse 6, you can see how Paul lived out his future plans. He had hopes but always deferred to trusting in God to either open or close doors. What a great way to think of our future.
This chapter speaks of the promise of Christ’s return for His church. There have been many people who have tried to discern specifics about this. We do not know when but we see how. We see that Jesus will return for His church and we will forever be with Him. That is enough to give us an everlasting hope.
This chapter is full of apocalyptic imagery and fills us with various questions concerning the coming of the Lord. When will it be? How will it be? The best news is verse 9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This fills us with hope. We do not know what tomorrow holds but we DO know who holds our tomorrow.