For this study, we will follow five steps:
- Read the chapter through
- Pick a key verse for the chapter
- Summarize and discuss each verse
- Apply it to our lives
- Pray specific things from what we learned
I will be using the New King James Version in this study.
First, we read:
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.1 Thessalonians 1
6 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
From this chapter, a good key verse might be verse 6, which says:
And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.1 Thessalonians 1:6
Now, a verse-by-verse analysis:
- This letter is written by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the church in Thessalonica.
- Paul and his friends specifically remember and mention this church and others in their prayers. We should also pray for specific people and groups, for their needs.
- They never forget the Thessalonians’ work, love, and patience.
- The Thessalonians and Paul know that they are a part of God’s elect.
- Paul knows that the good news they received was not just words and knowledge, but the Holy Spirit came to them as it comes to all who obey, and they also had the assurance of their election, on top of knowing of it.
- Although they were persecuted for it, the Thessalonians received the word and followed the Lord with joy given by the Holy Spirit. We need to rely so much more on the Holy Spirit to bring us joy in our trials.
- Because they obeyed, the Thessalonians became examples all those around them.
- They apparently proclaimed God’s word so well that Paul did not feel the need at that time to go and preach in those areas. The church of Thessalonica did great work in its area.
- All those around tell Paul of the Thessalonians’ story: their turn from idols to instead serve the true and living God.
- They are now eagerly awaiting Christ’s return, as are we all.
So what can we learn from the Thessalonians’ great example?
Being a good example, both individually and as a congregation, has an incredible impact on believers and non-believers alike. We should strive to be good examples as the Thessalonians were. They were not afraid to share the story of how they turned from their sinful, idolatrous past to repentance and new life in God. May we also find ourselves awaiting Christ’s return and not putting off making changes in our lives, hoping that He doesn’t return before we do so. The Thessalonians teach us, by their example, to follow God even when it is difficult, and God’s Holy Spirit, our Helper, will bring us joy.
Take a moment now to pray about some specific things we learned:
- Pray that you and your congregation may be better examples today than you were yesterday to all those around.
- Pray that others will benefit from hearing YOUR story of redemption and courage that you may share it.
- Pray for Christ’s return to come soon and pray for help in being ready for it.
- Finally, pray that the Holy Spirit will bring you joy, especially when the Christian life gets tough.
I hope that this lesson can be of some help to you. Please feel free to share it if you would like, and feel free to use this study format in your personal bible study. It has helped me a great deal. Lord willing, I will continue this series through 1 Thessalonians and on! Thank you for reading, and feel free to comment your thoughts down below!