Thessalonians … The Model Church

AN INTRODUCTION TO 1 THESSALONIANS

(1 Thes 1:1-10)

The first letter to the Thessalonians was probably one of the earliest of Paul’s many inspiring writings. He wrote it from Corinth very shortly after he departed from Thessalonica.  Tremendous persecution had broken out there and he was sent away for his personal safety.

Subsequent to leaving Thessalonica, Paul had sent Timothy from Athens to visit the church. Following Timothy’s great feedback about them, Paul wrote this letter in which he commends them for their steadfastness and reminds them of the various truths he taught them while he ministered to them for just under a month.

The theme of 1 Thessalonians can be divided into 4 sections:

  • To help and confirm the new converts in the foundational truths he’d already taught them
  • To exhort or encourage them to live a life of personal holiness, pleasing to the Lord
  • To comfort them concerning those who had died
  • To instruct them with regard to their own hope of the Lord’s return

An interesting feature of both first and second Thessalonians is that teaching on the coming of the Lord is very prominent throughout both letters, and forms part of basic doctrinal teaching which is sadly lacking in the church today!

It is also very interesting that even though the time spent in Thessalonica was relatively short (just less than a month), many great doctrines of the Christian faith are referred to in his first letter to them. This would indicate that they would have had more substantive teaching on these doctrines whilst Paul was with them.   Here are the doctrines he alluded to:

  • The Trinity (1:1, 5 & 6)
  • The Holy Spirit (1:5-6; 4:8 & 5:19)
  • Christ’s second Advent (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:14-17 & 5:23)
  • The Day of the Lord (5:1-3)
  • Assurance (1:5)
  • Conversion (1:9)
  • Resurrection (4:14-18)
  • Sanctification (4:3 & 5:23)
  • Christian Behaviour (2:12 & 4:1)

The commentator’s (Scofield) sub-heading for verses 5-10 is “The Model Church”.  Paul said about them “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (v2)

In our next study, if the Lord tarries, we will look at the three “tenses” of the Christian life

Now a prayer

Precious Father.  We come to You in the Name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We thank You for Your Word which is alive and active and that speaks to us.   Thank you that Your Word is Truth and is our Guidebook for living.   Thank you that by Your Blessed Holy Spirit You help us to live a life that is pleasing to You.   We know too that if we do sin, “we have an Advocate Who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous”.  Help us to live each day for You and to Your glory.  Help us to watch for Your appearing.   Help us to tell others about You while we still have time.  We ask this all in the matchless Name of Jesus. Amen.

“… looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment” (1 Thes 1:10).

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