This is the second part of the “A Study Through” series on the First Letter to the Thessalonians. If you missed the study on chapter one, click here:
Remember that for this study, we will follow these 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
Let’s begin by reading the chapter:
For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.1 Thessalonians 2
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
The key verse for chapter 2 could be verse 13:
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.1 Thessalonians 2:13
Now, let us examine each verse more closely:
- Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy coming to the Thessalonians was not in vain.
- They were apparently badly treated in Philippi. Despite this, they still spoke boldly in Thessalonica, even though there was conflict.
- They were pure and truthful in all their exhortation to the Thessalonian church.
- God has approved the three men and entrusted them with the duty of proclaiming the gospel. They were not doing so for man’s approval, but for God.
- They did not “sugarcoat” God’s message in their teachings to the Thessalonians. Paul calls on God as witness to this claim.
- As apostles, they could have made all kinds of demands and sought glory from men, but they remained true to God’s purpose.
- They, instead, were gentle.
- They were happy to give both the gospel and their own lives to the Thessalonians because they had grown fond of them.
- During their stay, Paul and his friends did not want to be a burden, so they worked hard and preached the gospel to them all the time.
- Paul appears to be defending that their behavior before the Thessalonians was just.
- Paul reminds them that they exhorted, comforted, and charged them all to:
- “Walk worthy of God” because God calls all to His kingdom and glory.
- They thank God endlessly that the Thessalonians accepted God’s word. His word works in all who believe.
- The church at Thessalonica emulated the churches in Judea, even to the point of suffering similar persecutions from all those around.
- Those who persecuted the church in Judea were the same ones who killed Jesus and many of their own prophets.
- Those persecutors forbade Paul and other Christians from preaching the truth to Gentiles, but have now received the fullness of God’s wrath.
- Although Paul and his team had to physically leave Thessalonica, they were still with them in spirit and wanted to come and see them again.
- They were hindered many times by Satan from returning to Thessalonica.
- Paul says that being in their presence once again when Christ comes will bring them joy, the thought of which gives them hope, and that seeing them again will be their crown and prize.
- The Thessalonians are Paul’s glory and joy.
We see from this chapter that Paul and others worked very hard when they went to preach to the Thessalonians. He continued to commend them for their repentance, faith, and perseverance in the face of persecution that was similar to that of the Judean Christians. Paul wished and longed for the chance to see them again whether on earth or when Christ returns.
We conclude this study with a few specific points of prayer from the lesson:
- Pray that we work as hard as we can when we preach God’s word to others.
- Pray that we stay strong in the face of persecution as the Thessalonians did.
- And finally, pray that we may see each other, Paul, Silvanus, Timothy, and those of the church of Thessalonica when Christ returns.
Thank you for reading, and I hope this study has been helpful to you. Feel free to share and to comment your thoughts down below. Keep an eye out for our study on chapter 3!