Main Themes of 1 Thessalonians

Paul arrived in the Thessalonica after a short time in Philippi (Acts 17:1-9). In Philippi he was arrested illegally and released when he informed the Philippian magistrates he was a Roman citizen. As is typical for Paul he visits the local synagogue and “reasoned from the Scripture” that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer, die, and rise from the dead. Luke indicates some Jews were persuaded, but also a “large number of God-fearing Gentiles and quite a few prominent women” (Acts 17:4).

Encourage one anotherBecause of this success, the Jews stir up a mob to “start a riot” and drive Paul out of the town. They seize Jason, a prominent Thessalonian who was hosting Paul and Silas in his home. The Jews bring Jason before the city officials and claim Paul has been “turning the world upside down,” defying Caesar’s decrees and claiming there is another king, Jesus. Paul is forced to leave the city and these opponents follow Paul to Berea (Acts 17:10-15). Paul is forced to travel alone to Athens (Acts 17:16-34) and eventually to Corinth (Acts 18). Silas and Timothy returned to Thessalonica and re-joined Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5). In 1 Thessalonians 3:6, Paul says Timothy had just “just now come from you” and reported good news: the church has continued to grow in faith and love and has stood against the attacks made against it. Timothy may have delivered a letter from the Thessalonians to which Paul now responds in First Thessalonians.

First, Paul must defend himself against unnamed opponents who are slandering him. Based on his defense in chapter 2, these opponents acclaim Paul has no divine authority and may be using the local church to enrich himself. It is true Paul was forced to leave Thessalonica under the cover of darkness (Acts 17:10), leaving Jason with some legal and financial burdens (Acts 17:9, Jason posted bail for Paul). Paul says his appeal to his readers did not “spring up from error or impure motives” (2:3) nor did he use the slick rhetoric of the Sophists to trick his readers into believing the Gospel (2:5). The church itself is a witness to Paul’s behavior in Thessalonica, so the opponents have no basis for making these charges.

Second, although Timothy gave an “encouraging report” (1 Thess 3:6-10), he also seems to have reported on two or three problems for the church. In 4:3-8 Paul deals with sexual immorality, encouraging people to control themselves and live in an honorable way. In 4:9-12 Paul instructs the Thessalonican believers to live a “quiet life” and to work to provide for their own needs. It may be the case some members of the congregation were abusing the generosity of others, no longer working while they waiting for the soon arrival of the Lord Jesus. In both of these cases, Paul encourages the readers to live lives which “win the respect of outsiders” (4:12).

Third, Paul addresses some concerns about the return of the Lord (1 Thess 4:13-5:11). Since Paul’s time was cut short, he may not have had the time to answer all the questions the church may have had about the imminent return of Jesus. What is more, some members of the church have died prior to the expected return of the Lord. Paul first must comfort the community by explaining that those who have died in Christ will certainly participate in the resurrection from the dead prior to the return of the Lord. In fact, they will rise first and join those who are still living as they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air (4:15). In chapter 5 Paul points out that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, so the “children of light” ought to live their lives in sober anticipation of the return of the Lord. Both of these teachings conclude with “therefore encourage one another.” This is the main point of any teaching on the return of the Lord, encouragement to living godly lives which “win the respect of outsiders” (4:12).

Although 1 Thessalonians is remembered as the “Rapture book” in popular teaching, the main theme of the book is “encourage one another.” Since the Thessalonian church was small and had to endure some pressure from both secular authorities and their cousins in the Jewish synagogue, they may have felt as though their new faith in Jesus was not worth the trouble. The congregation must comfort one another and encourage each member of their small group to continue living out their faith in Jesus as children of God.

33 thoughts on “Main Themes of 1 Thessalonians

  1. The way you said that they need to encourage one another more is exactly the thing that I thought of while reading through 1 Thessalonians. I find that Paul also continues to challenge the people when he tells them to love “more and more” (1 Thess. 4:10). He seems to know that they have been doing this well, but he also obviously wants them to continue to focus on loving each other. Longenecker states that by doing this Paul is “simultaneously” trying to “encourage and challenge the assembly” (Longenecker 70). I think this pushes the idea of encouragement. It seems that Paul tries to encourage the people through the letter as well as instruct them once again. He is obviously concerned with them living a way that would please God, and he seems to know that encouraging them and challenging them will push them to do even better.

  2. Living a life that is perfect is not possible but, living a life that will please God is. There are many ways of doing this but often we want to do what pleases our flesh rather than what pleases God. We often want to do what we want over what we should do or do what we are not supposed to do. 1 Thessalonians is a great example as to how God wants us to live out our lives. God uses Paul and speaks through Paul to try and get through to people. We also tend to tear others down over building them up. God wants us to grow together in His kingdom helping one another when they are in need. But we like to make ourselves feel better by making others look bad. In doing that we are not living in the honorable way that Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (ESV) as Paul says in Colossians 3:23 and we need to do so no matter when we think God is coming back. In doing this we can then “win the respect of outsiders” (4:12). By people living for God it then will be like a ripple effect for others in the body to do so. As everyone starts doing this then comes the encouragement for the community to better itself and to grow and strengthen it from helping each other.

  3. I find it very interesting that back then someone could be forced out of a city because of an opinion without any factual proof. It seems most people in these times were sort of scared of the unknown and when something came about they didn’t know about, they automatically figured it is negative. In 1 Thess. 3:6-10, it seems as though the people of the church are being kind of arrogant about their beliefs. They seem to think because they are believers in the church, they do not need to partake in work like everyone else because God will provide for them.

  4. 1 Thessalonians was an attempt to reconnect with the people of Thessalonica. Paul and Silas were forced to leave the church in Thessalonica because of the intense persecution. Christian citizens were accused of defying Caesar because they said the true king was Jesus (TTP, 61). When Paul sent Timothy to check on the people of Thessalonica, he gave a positive report. Paul and Silas are comforted by Timothy’s report because they feared that the newfound Christians would become unsettled in other’s opposition: “in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:7). The believers in Thessalonica had come a long way from their adulterous and polytheistic past selves (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10). Thessalonians lived in a culture that worshipped Greek and Roman Gods and promoted un-Christian like behaviors. Sexual immorality is one of the temptations that was common in Greco-Roman cities at the time of 1 Thessalonians (TTP, 62). The Thessalonians needed to live a life according to Jesus’ teachings, a life that would please God (TTP, 62). It is after Timothy’s report to Paul and Silas that Paul writes 1 Thessalonians, which is believed to be Paul’s earliest surviving letter (TTP, 61-62).

  5. Paul’s theme in Thessalonians to encourage one another is extremely important for us to understand and take note of. You made a great point in connecting this theme even with the section of the return of the Lord because I had never heard any teachings making this connection before. It makes sense however, that Paul would want us to encourage one another to lead holy lives since he continually tells the church to do so, so that they may be found blameless on the day of the Lord’s return. This lesson was very needed for the Thessalonians at this time as well because of the persecution they faced, as well as the tense relations with non-believers in their community since they were not well respected. This all ties in with Paul’s urge in 1 Thess 4:10 to love each other and others even more than before. When we encourage and love each other we are living out life in Christ.

    This encouragement and love for one another also allows us to hold each other more accountable, because if you truly love your brothers you would want them to live holy lives and please the Lord and I believe that this is what Paul is trying to do through his encouragements in Thessalonians. As you have noted, the Thessalonians, although they had remained steadfast in their faith, there were still many moral concerns Paul had such as sexual immorality. Thus, Paul reminds them that they are to not partake in such sins and that they should control their bodies (1 Thess 4:3-4). Since this is clearly something that Paul has warned them about before ( 1 Thess 4:6-7) it is clear that Paul is keeping them accountable and reminding them of the consequences of their actions. This seems to play out throughout the rest of his theme of encouragement as well. Encouragement is a great way for us to learn to love one another better and keep each other accountable.

  6. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 says,” And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is a book of encouraging that Longnecker describes as being a letter filled with brotherly love and eschatological hope.
    Although 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 speaks of the rapture in a sense that Christ will return and resurrect Christians, and that the “dead will be raised”. For some reason I think that although the rapture is very clear and mentioned in Thessalonians, it was a book mainly meant for encouraging by instructing on certain ethical and eschatogical issues.

  7. I had just finished reading 1 and 2 Thessalonians along with chapter two of Longenecker. The main theme that is seen from 1 Thessalonians was a reminder of encouragement. Paul has referred to previous visits to Thessalonica in the letter. Therefore Paul was encouraging them to keep it up and become blameless and holy more and more.
    I saw that Paul mentioned a few times that he had visited Thessalonica and knew they were believers, “for when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand” (3:4). And (4:9) when Paul is talking about brotherly love and how they have been taught these instructions already. then after leaving, Paul sent a letter back to encourage them to become blameless and holy, “More and more” (4:1) and (4:10). This phrase was used twice by Paul. This leads us to believe that they already know whats right and they have been doing an alright job, but keep it up more and more. Paul would instruct them again to “Control your body in holiness and honor” (4:4) also to admonish the idle and encourage the fainthearted and many more instructions of right living.
    There are other parts to 1 Thessalonians like the coming of Jesus, but that was explained in 2 Thessalonians much better to clear up some confusion. The overall theme of 1 Thessalonians was to remind this church to become blameless and holy for when Jesus comes back who is holy.

  8. An overarching theme that I gathered from reading 1 Thessalonians was Paul’s love for the people of Thessalonica. In “Thinking Through Paul” Longenecker mentions that Paul wants the people to “realize his deep-seated desire to see them again” (pg. 68). Paul truly cares for the people of Thessalonica and wants to help them through their new found faith by encouraging them and reinforcing the lifestyle they need to be following. Paul acts much like a Parent to the Thessalonians, he remains loving and authoritative. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, Paul warns the people of God’s wrath, telling the Thessalonians to remain strong in their faith and please God “more and more” but if they were to disregard a lifestyle honoring to God it would be the equivalent of disregarding God himself (1 Thessalonians 4:8). This warning is out of love for the Thessalonians, it isn’t meant to frighten them, but in turn, to strengthen them. Much like how a parent warns a child of dangers in order to protect them. Lastly Paul goes on to comfort the people, as they have fears about loved ones who have passed, just as a parent comforts a crying child when they are afraid.
    I think that there are many themes present in 1 Thessalonians including, encouragement, concern, and comforting. But I think when you take the themes from the passage, they can be combined into one central theme of parental love. Paul’s intentions when writing this letter were to exemplify his longing to see the people of Thessalonica, to encourage them in his absence and keep them on a straight path towards living a Christ honoring life, all with a heart of love for the people.

  9. In the letter of 1st Thessalonians, we see Paul urging the new believers to live a simple and quiet life. This call for simplicity and to work hard for yourself (4:11) seems to be such a different message than what we often hear in our churches. You mention that the Thessalonians are under much persecution and they are trying to figure out if this whole Jesus thing is worth all of the adversities that they are facing. Paul tells them to stand firm together and to encourage one another, but he never says to proclaim to others what I have told you. He never tells them to be bold in their faith, but rather to hold fast to it.
    In America today we are rarely persecuted for our faith, and Pastors often link this fact back to passages such as this and make bold statements such as; if you are not being persecuted for your faith, then are you really living in it, and are you really following Christ? Many Pastors preach about extreme evangelicalism, about how we should be screaming about Jesus everywhere we go because the gospel is that awesome. While I agree that the gospel is awesome, and we should share it every opportunity we have, this is not what Paul teaches in this letter. He instead is telling them to stand strong and live quietly, working hard and remembering all that he has taught them. Of course this passage is great to go look at for when we are facing any kind of hardship, and to learn about godly community, but just as it is often misclassified as an eschatological text, it should also not be used as proof that we are not truly living in Christ if we are not facing persecution.

  10. As this post shows, it seems as if 1 Thessalonians is a letter in which Paul jumps around from topic to topic. He covers the slander he receives in regards to his authority to preach the gospel, he offers ethical instructions, and he comments on the return of the Lord. Paul opens about the slander he receives, and he appears fairly provoked by this slander from others. It is interesting that Paul does not name his opponents. In today’s society, it seems as if people prefer to bring opponents or accusers to the public so that they can be recognized and named. This is especially evident in social media in today’s world. However, Paul does not name these opponents, but rather, he talks about them not about who they are. Paul focuses his defense to his attackers on the nature of his missionary work in Thessalonica. For example, Longenecker and Still claim that Paul’s motives were not impure, and his missionary work did not include “slick-talking, people-pleasing, glory-seeking charlatans driven by greed and gain” (67). Although Paul does not say this directly about these people, he seems to hint at the fact that his opposition features impure motives and their teachings are centered around selfish gain and desires. Paul has similar talks when he talks about where his gospel stems from in Galatians. It is very important to understand that Paul’s missionary work in these cities, such as Thessalonica, was not free and easy. His time was opposed by certain people in multiple areas during his missionary journeys, and Thessalonica is one of those places.

    • I really liked your post Adam. I didn’t even think about how he didn’t name his opponents. We always bring opponents and people to public. You constantly see stuff on the news or gossip in your own life. I feel like I am similar to Paul. I tend to defend myself more than accuse people. Paul probably did this because it was right for his missionary work in Thessalonica, but either way it can be productive. I think it helps not bring light to the people spreading slander. It took a lot of courage to do it the way he did with all the oppression he faced.

  11. The main of 1 Thessalonians is to encourage one another. Often times are encouraged to be boisterous and proud of our faith. To be a good missionary you need to know your surroundings and environment. Recognizing this can make what you say and do most effective. Paul had a lot on his plate to deal with, but he dealt with everything in a calm collected way. The third point of the post Paul addresses concerns about the return of the Lord. In a time of things being hectic with the return of the Lord Paul was reassuring to the community and this brought them closer and set an atmosphere of encouraging one another. One thing he mentioned was people who died prior to the return of the Lord. Paul says those who died in Christ will participate in resurrection even if they died prior to it. I believe this is important to bringing calmness and people together. Longenecker talks about the ethics of Paul and in doing so they will “win the respect of outsiders.”(70). There is always something about leading by example and being a person someone can look to and see their doing well and living a holy life. Longenecker also says to encouraging fellowship (70) and fellowship is a great way to get people to come together and be encouraging of one another. Sharing fellowship helps build your relationship with others and God and will hold you more accountable of your sins and help you grow

  12. Reading through 1 Thessalonians, it is important to note that Paul is both encouraging and challenging the people in Thessalonica. Paul starts his letter with the thanking of the Thessalonians’ faith, love and hope. They are continuing in love, and creating an endurance through their experiences (Longenecker, p. 65). He is very grateful for the example they have set forth in their area, and also the turning of hearts to the one true God, rather than the idols they used to serve (1 Thess 1:7-10). Paul then goes on to speak words of encouragement from the report of Timothy and how they are praying earnestly for the Thessalonians to grow and abound further in love (1 Thess 3:10-12). I believe the encouragement factor is directly tied into the conversations with the church about the eschatological theories. They are building each other up to be more effective in growing towards holiness and righteousness, with the help of the Holy Spirit, so they can best prepare themselves for the Day of the Lord.
    The other side of Paul’s letter is a challenge to the Thessalonians. He does address issues in the church and of their beliefs, but only to sharpen them and once again, to prepare them further for the coming of the Lord. He corrects core beliefs, doing it all in love, but also strictly. Some of these issues are ethical, some are with end times, and some with the church itself. It is important that someone like Paul is able to step in and see what can be shifted or changed by having an outside perspective. For example, with issues like sexual immorality, Paul calls each to a higher level of holiness, reminding them this was what God has called them to (Longenecker, p. 69).
    It is interesting to see the balance of encouragement and challenge in these passages, knowing that it all comes from a place of love and a desire for the believers to see the truth they may not see right in front of them.

  13. The main theme I find from 1 Thessalonians is being encouraging to one another being there for others. What I got out of this passage for as little as they had no matter what the situation they were in they were still there to be able to encourage others through the tough times they had. For me 1 Thessalonians is a huge reminder to encourage others God wants us to share that with others and it is what this passage is trying to tell us. I think God tells no matter what you are going through you are still going to be able to encourage others this passage shows us everything that Paul went through and it was not easy but he was able to get through what came at him and he did it in a calm efficient way to be successful.

  14. I really appreciate these posts on the main themes of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. They give a very clear summary on what Paul was going through at the time, and why he wrote the letters. At times, if I’m just reading through Paul’s letters, they can seem random, jumbled, and packed full of indiscriminate information. It is increasingly helpful in interpreting Paul’s letters to identify what his main themes are and his purpose in writing each letter. I find it important to take into consideration everything that Paul went through prior to writing 1 Thessalonians. He was writing the letter shortly after he was arrested illegally, driven out of the town, and falsely accused. This drastic persecution would undoubtedly cause the new Thessalonian believers to question Paul and his powerful teachings. I have met and heard of Christians today who struggle with Paul because of his seemingly holier-than-thou statements in passages like 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-12. However, if you note everything that Paul went through and all the lies being told about him, it only makes sense that he needs to defend himself to the Thessalonians. He doesn’t want the truths about God to be disregarded because his own reputation is at stake. Paul’s reputation is important to him, not because he cares about man’s opinion (1 Thess. 2:6), but because he needs to be known as credible to have success when sharing the gospel. His assumed ‘pride’ is really a declaration of the humility he had in serving God.

  15. The growth of the Thessalonian church definitely did not come about through pleasant circumstances. After all, not only were they being persecuted for religious reasons, but they also were likely being persecuted for political ones as well. Thessalonica had regained its free city status by the time that Paul visited there, according to Longenecker & Still (p. 60). Because of this, it would make sense that the other Thessalonian residents might want to suppress Christianity since it had already been the cause of a riot (Acts 17:5) and whose leaders were accused of anti-Roman (vs. 7-8). Otherwise the Thessalonians could very well be on track to losing their privileged status again.

    Therefore, because of this persecution, it makes sense that Paul would use such a gentle tone in his letter to the Thessalonians. Having his focus more on encouragement rather than discipline or strict instruction in trying to rid the church of the problems that they were struggling with. Because of this, Paul’s defense of his ministry while in Thessalonica (2:1-8) could be seen not only for his own benefit, but also as an affirmation for the Thessalonian believers that their mentor and teacher indeed had pure motives with his teaching.

  16. One of the main themes of 1st Thessalonians is for Paul to encourage this new group of believers. As they were new in their faith, it was a possible that they could be more susceptible to recurring sin(s) that Paul continually fights again, such as the filth of sexual immorality. Paul deeply cared for the Thessalonians. A significant number of Thessalonians greeted both God’s word and those who brought it to the city with some degree of kindness, unlike some other cities, such as Philippi (Longnecker, p. 59). Although not explicitly stated, I believe one of the main or at least underlying themes of this book of scripture is courage in obedience to God. These warriors for had “suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi” (1 Thess. 2:2), yet they ventured to a new and unfamiliar city to once again preach the Gospel. For all they knew at the time, they might have expected to have been treated in the same atrocious manner, or perhaps worse. Most luke-warm believers in our nation today would balk at simply the idea of sharing the good news an initial time, let alone doing so a second time after they had been abused as the apostles were. However, we know that whatever we lose for the gospel, God will restore for us in much greater abundance. Mark 10:29-30: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life”. As followers of The Way, we know that our lives will be more difficult than those who reject God, but with these trials and suffering, there are eternal rewards that wait for us with the Father in heaven.
    Paul also served as an example to the inhabitants of this city in regards to the sin of idleness. He asked nothing of no one, instead rightfully choosing to provide for all of his own means by laboring as a leatherworker. It served two purposes, one being that his needs were met, and two being that no one could slander him, or insinuate that he was accepting “hand-outs” instead of working. Lastly, Paul addresses the concern of some of his converts here and their worries about the end times. His purpose is to ease their minds on any confusion they had toward this subject. 1 Thess. 5:4 “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief”. As author Longnecker accurately states, Paul does not want them to be ill-informed, the Greek for “non-ignorant” being “agnoein” (Longnecker, p. 70). Let us not be ill informed either, nor worrying needlessly about the moment Christ will return. Instead, let us live lives that reflect our faith, glorify God, and bring hope to others by sharing the gospel. By doing this, we will have no need to worry about such minor things such as the exact hour or minute Christ will come back. Instead, we will be busy doing kingdom work for Him.

  17. “Paul takes up three topics about which he had previously instructed the Thessalonians in person- sexual purity, brotherly/sisterly love, and civic responsibility.” (Longenecker 69). These things are not just things that are not going to come out of now where to take down the spirits of Thessalonica. Paul is saying that these will come and when they do that they need to be prepared. Just because they follow God doesn’t mean that they won’t be challenged by these things. They need to be there for each other during these times of struggle and help each other through them. Paul is nervous because he was unable to be with them long enough to ensure that they are able to keep growing.
    One thing I have learned through Paul that a lot of this letter was a concern the Thessalonians will not continue to grow. The big question is where is Paul’s trust in God? Even though he wasn’t there for them long doesn’t mean God can’t do work. Paul had planted a seed in these people and it was only going to be through the work of God that it will grow. Paul knows that there are things that Timothy reports that the people of Thessalonica lack in with their new found walk. These things are things that will simply take time to grow. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1Corinthians 3:6).

    • That is a good point about Paul lacking faith in God doing his end of the job. I can apply this to my own life, when things are going good, I feel like it is my job to carry it out till the end, but I need to realize like Paul that God is there as well, and we do not have to do it all ourselves. I agree that Paul might have been expecting too much, as the road to a holy life is not a road that happens overnight. I believe that they would have been doing better if Paul was there the whole time, but as Timothy said they were doing good in faith and love, which is something to celebrate. “he was simultaneously mindful that they were still vulnerable and needed to build spiritual muscles” (Longenecker p63). I am assuming that Paul new this from past experience that as a new Christian it can be hard when you are getting persecuted. Paul goes on to say that they need to stay quiet, mind their own business and work with their hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Paul did not want them to stay focused on what people were doing or thinking of them, but instead focus on what is important, and what will make them the strongest spiritually.

  18. The overall main theme that I saw in 1 Thessalonians is about encouraging each other, as you said in your original post. After Timothy returns, he tells Paul what he saw when he went back to Thessalonica. Timothy saw the new Christians having good faith and showing love, but they knew that they could grow more in this area. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says that he was dealing with them as the Father deals with his children by encouraging but also pushing them to live lives that are worthy of God. Paul could have just congratulated them on how well they were living and left it at that, but new that persecution was happening and was going to continue to happen, which would mean they would need to become stronger. Paul then goes into details of what areas that they need to focus on, including sexual immorality, continuing to work, and live to please God. I believe Paul tried to use a scaring tactic in 1 Thessalonians 4:8 to not only make sure they do not fall away, but to make sure they will wake other people as well. Paul is letting the Thessalonians know that rejecting God is not to be taken lightly and living a holy life should be their primary objective. Paul follows this up by saying that they must encourage those who are not awake so that they may be with the Lord forever. “Paul is praying that the Thessalonians will persevere so that they may be found pure in God’s presence at the time of Christ’s Parousia” (Longenecker p64). Paul was worried that he had not done enough for the Thessalonians and is hoping that they will help each other out in the journey of being persecuted by other Thessalonians.

    • The people need to be aware that the hard times will come their way no matter what amount of time they spend with Paul. Paul is spot on by sending this letter of encouragement, but at the same time maybe it puts in their minds that they are not fully prepared for what might be coming their way. Paul does praise them in the good direction they are going but fears that they don’t know enough to stand strong. God has them and is going to be there through the tough stuff. The important thing is the community that they and the fellowship among one another. People today can learn a lot from this that just because we have God in our lives doesn’t mean that all the issues just go away. It’s the fact that we need God more and more every day to overcome life’s trials. Paul is sharing that they need to lean more into God, so that they can be ready and not fall back in to their old ways.

  19. I believe that 1 Thessalonians was written to reiterate the instructions that Paul had for the Thessalonians. In the book “Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology,” the author states that “In 4:3-8 Paul reiterates that God’s will for the Thessalonicans is sexual sanctification” (Longenecker, 69). This seems to be a highly stressed topic in 1 Thessalonians, assuming that this was a sin in which the Thessalonians tended to struggle more with. Paul makes it evident that the Thessalonians were doing a great job at practicing what he had instructed in the past. In 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Paul says, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, JUST AS YOU ARE DOING, that you do so more and more. It is clear that the Thessalonians are walking the walk, but it is important as Christians to continue to discipline ourselves, even if we are already on the right track. We should always be pushing ourselves to be more and more Christ-like, just as Paul teaches the Thessalonians. Paul does touch more specifically on sexual immorality in relation to the Thessalonians saying, “…that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust…For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:4-7). 1 Thessalonians touches on other instructions, reiterating the disciplines that the Thessalonians should continue to practice more and more.

    • I love the aspects and elements that you possessed within this post. I believe that every facet of your post is very true and I agree with your points that you established. The sense of following the instructions that Paul provided to the people of Thessalonica was very important in the plan that God had for him. Those instructions gave those new believers the great insight on how to live right as they continue to build on their faith (1 Thessalonians 2:12). However, a big aspect that I believe these instructions provide is that sense of encouragement and hope. These facets create that sense of encouragement and for that God will always see them through no matter the circumstances. The people in Thessalonica were feeling as if the walk of faith in Christ was getting overwhelming or hard therefore that encouragement that Paul provides aids in their struggles. Paul wants them to understand that this since of encouragement that he provides is just like a boost to get them over the hump that they may be facing. It creates that element of care and love for one another in Christ that is really the most important element in the book (1 Thessalonians 3:12). This also plays a very important role in the modern day as we may face challenges all the time. In which that same encouragement that Paul provides can come from our parents, peers, grandparents, and even teachers. In which those individuals care for our well-being and wanting us to be successful. That aspect of believing in us when sometimes we may not believe in ourselves is what Paul wants the people of Thessalonica to understand..

  20. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians Paul instructs the believers on how they should work in the midst of a pagan culture. The tone in 1 Thessalonians is instructing and encouraging. He urges them to “lead a quiet life” and “work with [their] hands” (1 Th 4:11). They must do this so that they could gain the respect of those in the community who were possibly hostile to their conversion (TTP, 70). Earlier in the letter, Paul defended the legitimacy of his ministry in Thessalonica, he claimed that he and his companions were an example of hard work while they were with the Thessalonians (1 Th 2:9)(TTP, 67).
    The tone in 2 Thessalonians is more urgent and serious. Paul is addressing laziness in the church and wants to put a stop to it (TTP, 79). These people were “idle and disruptive” (2 Th 3:11). Instead, the whole congregation should “never tire of doing what is good” (2 Th 3:13). Paul again refers to the example set by him while they were in Thessalonica. They worked so as not to be a “burden to any of you” (2 Th 3:8). Paul claims their reason for working was to “offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate” (2 Th 3:9).

  21. As we may look and examine the elements that 1 Thessalonians provides throughout, we come to see the utilization of God’s distinct word in life. Thus, the main theme of 1 Thessalonians is to encourage this new group of believers founded in Thessalonica. That sense of encouragement in terms of leading individuals in the right direction in Gods word is pivotal in not only spiritual growth but mental growth as well. Such as when someone is encouraged to do better in their personal walks of life it creates that sense of caring being them and the individual doing the encouraging. It allows for them to feel more confident knowing someone is in their corner and wants to see them win in life. That element of helping each other want to do better is what Paul was trying to accomplish (Proverbs 27:17). Paul knows that the walk of faith may become hard as we are trying to please God and live as He wants us to live. With some elements such as civic responsibility, sexual immorality, and brotherly/sisterly love being explained to the people of Thessalonica by Paul to look into more and follow obediently is another element in 1 Thessalonians that is vital to understand (Longenecker, pg. 69). These instructions that Paul provides exemplifies the love and affection that Paul actually has for his brothers and sisters in Christ. He wants them to succeed in living in Christ just as he wants to succeed through the most fundamental aspect of Christ that the book exemplifies which is love (1 Thessalonians 5:13).

  22. After reading and looking at the context that 1 Thessalonian has, I believe that the purpose of Thessalonians is to teach others about encouragement and encouraging others. There are many different areas where we see Paul carrying out encouraging statements. I was not sure if I was getting the right context out of my reading until I was reading through your post and realized that my thinking was correct. Most of us more often tend to shoot people down rather thing lighting up their mood and feelings. 1 Thessalonian shows us how God is working through Paul and using him to reach others and show others how God expects us to treat each other. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 is Paul reminding people that sins are not to be participated in and everyone should take control of their own bodies in order to live an honorable life in the image of God.

  23. After reading this blog and reading 1 Thessalonians for myself, it comes apparent that Paul is concerned about the Faith of the church in Thessalonica and instructions them to encourage one another for you never know when Jesus may come again. Paul tells the church that christians are destined not for wrath but for salvation when Christ returns (1:10; 5:4, 9) and that God’s wrath comes on those who reject the gospel (2:16; 5:3). Therefore, Christians should live lives of complete holiness and thankfulness for they are elected and called by God (1:4; 2:12). This calling continues throughout their lives and should be the foundation of their lives to honor God and teach and pray for those who are lost in sin; God will do the rest. Paul tells them that it is going to be hard and that they will be prosecuted for being Christians; but the wrath of God will go to those who reject Christ and blessing will come to those who keep the faith. Paul lives them with final instructions to seek to do good to one another and always rejoice, praying without ceasing, and above all give thanks to God in all circumstances (5:15-17); if you do this “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (5:28).

    Much of this we can relate to today, I saw a couple memes posted by a kid that I went to school with in middle school; making fun of christians today. Saying that they are fake and only believe because they are in a place where it is “safe” to be a Christian. That we would not be a Christian if we did not have a roof over our head or if it hurt. Sadly, there is truth to that post, today many Christians “go through the motions” and are not going out and reaching those who are less fortune or do evil to us. We have our little Christian bubble and do not even try to connect with people outside of it. Paul wants us to go and encourage those who reject our Savior and warn them about the wrath that may come as result if they do not believe.

  24. The blog post clearly lays out the main themes of 1 Thessalonians, but I believe that the central theme is to encourage one another. In today’s world, our faith is being tested each and every day. It is crucial that modern day Christians support each other in our beliefs because of how critical those that don’t believe are of us. Our world is so diverse and it always seems like people are always against each other, so Paul’s message is as true as it ever has been. Today, misinformation and criticism can undermine the credibility of Christian leaders and the faith itself, so Paul’s defense against slander and false accusations is still relevant. The focus in 1 Thessalonians 4:12 on living lives that “win the respect of outsiders” is a call to Christians to live the best they can and make a positive impact on the world, which is especially important in a world where Christians are constantly under a microscope by society. 1 Thessalonians covers concerns that still impact believers today, such as the need for encouragement and the significance of living honorable lives. These topics lay out a good blueprint for Christians to navigate the modern world’s difficulties.

  25. The main themes throughout 1 Thessalonians is Faith, love and Hope. not just to encourage one another, it also to encourage them to live in Christ and shine. The scripture said: ‘’ We remember before our God and Father your work produced by Faith, your Labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our lord Jesus Christ’’, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV).
    The people of Thessalonians who Paul wrote a letter to already acknowledge in faith the salvation of Jesus Christ. but Paul encourages them to continue to persevere. The city Thessalonians well known as a free city and filled with idols, filled with sexual immorality and impurity. So He encourages them to abstain from those and to live in a manner that pleases God. Lastly, he talked about the second coming of Christ.
    To live clean until the day of Jesus coming and wait on him as living good. They address what will happen, those who had died before Jesus coming, and still living or will die. He assures them that both the living and the dead in Christ will be united with Him. and lastly he encouraged them to love one another and support each other and work together in God’s ministry.

  26. We can see clearly in 1 Thessalonians that Paul lays an example of faith and diligence. He had eagerness to spread the Gospel, he had courage in his mission, and he was devoted to God and the mission he received from Him. 1 Thessalonians gives proof of the depth of ministry Paul was doing; he references his experience in Philippi, where Paul was called to suffer from Christ during his imprisonment. He used the situation to praise the Lord, and in result, the prison guard was saved (Acts 16). 1 Thessalonians 2:4-5 vocalizes Paul’s commitment to the mission, “…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” Paul’s ability to pull himself out of a situation of conflict to focus on the Lord and the big picture of his suffering is nothing more than an amazing act of a submissive heart to God and His Will. Paul is, as we are called to be, passionate for Christ, for the spreading of the Gospel, and is filled from head to toe with compassion. We are called to carry this passion in response to Christ’s passionate love for us, as we can read about in John 3:16.
    Paul’s compassion is seen in depth in his connection to the churches as well. He spent time with the churches ministering and discipling them. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul notes that he is not going to withhold teaching to the churches. Like a parent, as the verses continue, Paul’s heart is full of compassion for the congregation of Thessalonica and wants to see them flourish in faith. After Paul offers encouragement to the church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, the leaves the church with this example of encouragement and how it should be the nature of the church within its community. The depth of Paul’s ministry offers an amazing model of faith and an amazing model of God within the life of a believer.

  27. From reading through 1 Thessalonians and our Longenecker Book, it is quite clear that while a large chunk of 1 Thessalonians 4-5:11 does explain and talk about the Coming of the Lord, 1 Thessalonians is primarily a letter written to the city of Thessalonica as a way to tell the church at Thessalonica to be strong, and to persevere through the current troubles and problems that the people were currently having at that time.

    Another point that while 1 Thessalonians does talk about the coming Rapture, and the Day of the Lord, the larger part of 1 Thessalonians (especially Thessalonians 4:1-8), explains to the Church of Thessalonica how they should live in accordance with the Word, as well as a word of encouragement as seen in 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13. In other words, the Book of 1 Thessalonians, while it can be read as an eschatological book (and should in some points), is meant to be written towards the Church of Thessalonica, on how they should persevere through their continuing persecution, as well as a way for Christians today to live out our lives in accordance with the Word.

    Finally, the part in 1 Thessalonians where Paul describes the Rapture, as well as the eschatological part should be read. While it was written to the Church of Thessalonica, it was also meant as a warning to Christians today, and that we should be aware. “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). In other words, we should be aware, and keep the faith until the very end, doing what is written down in the Word and by continually doing good works and praying.

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