1 Thessalonians: Overview

This concise book is full of helpful instruction and exhortation.

Introduction to 1 and 2 Thessalonians (6)

Pray Psalm 115.1.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.

Read 1 Thessalonians 2.10-12.

1. What is the Kingdom of God? What is the glory of God? How can we know when we are fulfilling our calling to God’s Kingdom and glory?

2. How did Paul try to help the Thessalonians fulfill this calling? 

Paul’s ministry to the Thessalonians had the same focus as everywhere else: The Kingdom and glory of God. For all the churches and believers he served, Paul labored and lived, exhorted and encouraged and solemnly charged them all to seek the Kingdom and righteousness of God and do all things to His glory.

In chapters 1 and 2 of 1 Thessalonians, Paul reviews the work of God among them, and reminds them of his example of selfless, dedicated teaching and ministry. He does this to teach them what is required to keep God’s people in the path marked out by their calling to His Kingdom and glory, so that they will continue in that path and thus advance the rule of King Jesus on earth as it is in heaven.

So concerned was Paul for the Thessalonians that he sent Timothy to follow-up on their initial visit. When Timothy returned to Corinth and shared his report on the believers in Thessalonica, Paul received it with great relief. In chapter 3, he expresses his gratitude to the Lord, Who has kept the Thessalonians in their calling, and causes them to increase and abound in love and holiness.

Chapters 4 and 5 provide the “application” section of Paul’s first epistle, in which he outlines those disciplines and duties which are essential for the believers and their churches to continue growing in the Lord. This he does with a focus on the return of our Lord Jesus, thus setting His appearing as a powerful motivator for the Thessalonians to continue in faith, love, and holiness. 

1 Thessalonians is concise, pointed, and pithy in its teaching about living for the Kingdom and glory of God. We’ll take our time progressing through this epistle, trusting the Lord to continue His work of sanctification in us as we wait on Him and contemplate His Word.

1. What does Paul mean by saying that God calls us? How does He call us? With what in mind? How should hearing His call affect our daily lives?

2. What did Paul do to encourage the Thessalonians to pursue this calling? Meditate on 1 Corinthians 11.1. What are the implications of this for our relationship with the believers we encounter in our Personal Mission Field?

3. What would you say are the key components of a “walk worthy of God”? How would you assess the state of those components in your own life?

His commendation of the grace of God is contained in the expression, who hath called us into his kingdom. For as our salvation is founded upon God's gracious adoption, every blessing that Christ has brought us is comprehended in this one term. It now remains that we answer God's call, that is, that we shew ourselves to be such children to him as he is a Father to us. For he who lives otherwise than as becomes a child of God, deserves to be cut off from God's household.  John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2.12

Help me to walk in a manner worthy of You, O God, so that I may…

Pray Psalm 115.1-18.

As you pray, contemplate the day ahead, and consider the opportunities you will have to bless and glorify the Lord. Commit your way unto His Kingdom-and-glory path.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 115 (Plainfield: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, “Where is their God on high?”
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Idols made by men’s own hand – ever to Your Name be glory –
see nor hear nor understand – ever to Your Name be glory!
They neither feel nor walk, nor can they speak or talk;
All those who serve them fall, but unto Your Name be glory!

All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory –
find in Him their help and shield: Ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord!  He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Blessings from our gracious Lord – ever to Your Name be glory –
will attend us evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
All who Your Name adore: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Grant us, Savior, great increase: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
And bless You evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. Moore

Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, can help you understand the setting of all the books of the Bible, and how they fit into God’s unfolding plan of redemption. Watch this brief video introducing this course at The Ailbe Seminary (click here), then plan to register after January 1 in our Certificate in Kingdom Studies program, featuring Introduction to Biblical Theology.

Forward today’s study to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link to the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Paul’s ministry and prepare for your own.

If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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