Final prayer (chapter 3)

Paul said may God our Father direct us to you.  May the Lord make your love increase for one another and for all people.  We certainly love you.  May God strengthen your hearts in holiness.  Thus, you may be blameless at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Do you pray for other people?

Timothy’s good report (chapter 3)

Paul said that Timothy had just arrived from Thessalonica.  He brought good news about their faith and love.  They too longed to greet and meet Paul.  Thus, Paul was encouraged by their faith, despite his own personal problems.  They were standing firm in the Lord.  He wanted to thank God for the great joy that he felt because of them.  Night and day, he was going to pray to see them face to face, in order to restore whatever was lacking in their faith.  Have you ever gotten a good report from somebody?

The mission of Timothy (chapter 3)

Paul said that he was alone in Athens.  Thus, he sent Timothy, his co-worker in proclaiming the gospel to strengthen and encourage them in their faith.  They should not be shaken by any kind of persecution or sufferings that they are destined to be involved with.  He had told them about these future sufferings and persecutions when he was with them.  Paul was afraid that he had labored in vain.  He sent Timothy to find out how they were doing with their belief in Jesus Christ.  Perhaps they had been tempted to abandon their belief.  Have you ever wondered whether you work has been in vain or useless?

Paul wants to visit them (chapter 2)

Paul had been separated from them.  They were like orphans.  Even though they were separated in person, his heart was still with them.  He longed eagerly to see them face to face.  Somehow Satan had blocked him from going to Thessalonica.  Still, he had the hope of boasting about them when the Lord Jesus would come again.  They were his hope, joy, and glory.  What is your hope, joy, and love?

The Jews in Judea (chapter 2)

Paul said that they had become imitators of the churches of God in Jesus Christ that were in Judea.  They suffered the same things that the former Jews suffered in Judea.  Paul had been one of them.  The Jews in Judea had killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets.  They drove out the followers of Jesus Christ.  They displeased God and everyone.  They had hindered the Jewish Christians from speaking to the various gentile groups to save them.  There was no need to worry, because God would take care of them with his wrath.  Has anybody mistreated you?

Paul wanted to remind him about his work (chapter 2)

Paul had labored night and day among them.  He was never a burden to any of them.  He simply proclaimed the gospel of God.  God and they would be witnesses that he and his companions were blameless.  They were pure and upright in their conduct towards the believing Thessalonians.  He was like a father to his children.  He urged them and encouraged them to lead a good life, worthy of the divine calling to the kingdom of glory.  They had received the word of God that they heard from him.  They had accepted it for what it was, the word of God and not merely human words.  This word was at work among them as believers in Jesus Christ.  Were you a good parent to your children?

You were an example for others (chapter 1)

Paul said that the Thessalonians had become at example to all the believers in Jesus Christ in both Macedonia and Achaia.  In fact, their faith had become known to every place where faith in God has happened.   He did not have to speak about this.  All these other areas reported about what kind of welcome they had among them.  They had turned to serving the living and true God from idols.  Thus, they are waiting for Jesus, the Son of God, who was raised from the dead.  He has rescued them from the coming wrath.  Is your faith in God an example for other people?

Thanksgiving for their faith (chapter 1)

Paul said that he always gave thanks to God for all of them.  He constantly remembered them before God.  They had a strong faith and a great love in our Lord Jesus Christ.  They knew that God had chosen them.  The message of the gospel had come to them not with mere words but with the power of the Holy Spirit.  They had a full conviction in Jesus Christ.  They knew what kind of a person Paul was among them, since they were imitators of the Lord, as well as Paul and his companions.  In spite of persecution, they received the word of the Lord with the inspired joy of the Holy Spirit.  Do you give thanks to God?

Themes

Unlike all subsequent Pauline epistles, 1 Thessalonians does not focus on justification by faith or questions of Jewish–gentile relations, themes that were covered in all the other letters.  Because of this, some scholars see this as an indication that this letter was written before the Epistle to the Galatians, where Paul’s positions on these matters were formed and elucidated.  What do you know about justification by faith?