Return Visit

Paul reveals his love and concern for the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 3 (1)

Pray Psalm 23.1-3.

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Read 1 Thessalonians 3.1-3.


1. Two verbs summarize Timothy’s mission to the Thessalonians. What are they, and what does each mean?

2. What kinds of afflictions have we been appointed to endure?

Paul regarded himself as a shepherd to the Thessalonians, and he understood that it is the duty of a shepherd to look well to know the condition of his flocks (Prov. 27.23). Knowing that when he left Thessalonica the believers were already beginning to experience persecution, Paul had them on his mind throughout his mission in Greece.

When he could “no longer endure it,” he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to find out how they were doing. Timothy had two objectives in his mission: to establishthe church and to encourage them in their faith.

Establish (στηρίξαι, to strengthen or make firm) has the sense of firming up a foundation, making sure the basics are in place and those who originally believed them still did.

Encourage (παρακαλέσαι, to entreat, exhort, encourage) suggests going forward to the next stage in a progression, not remaining on the foundation, but building on it.

We can see that Paul is doing something like this in 1 Thessalonians, reviewing the foundation of the Gospel and the Thessalonians’ initial response, and urging them on to the next stage in their walk with and work for the Lord. We all need both of these works in our life – the continuous shoring-upof the foundations of faith and life in the Kingdom, and the constant encouragementto keep growing and reaching out for more of our eternal life in Christ. Without these, we can be shaken by the various afflictions, obstacles, hindrances, set-backs, and disappointments that come with living in a fallen world.

1. How do you maintain these disciplines of being established in the faith and encouraged to grow in it?

2. God has appointed you as a shepherd to the people in your Personal Mission Field. What is your practice of looking well to know the condition of your flock?

3. Paul sent Timothy to encourage the Thessalonians, and Timothy’s report of their love for him encouraged him. Encouragement seems to be pretty important in the life of faith. Explain.

Paul says that Timothy is coming to strengthen the Thessalonians with his words, stabilizing the thinking of the Thessalonians by his presence with them, lest they collapse under the weight of their tribulations. Paul describes this collapsing as a “commotion,” being caught up in the passions of your persecutors. Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428 AD), Commentary on 1 Thessalonians

You have appointed me as a shepherd in Your flock, O Lord; show me how to establish and encourage Your sheep as I…

Pray Psalm 23.

Seek the Lord’s shepherding presence for yourself, then ask Him to guide you in your work as a shepherd today.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 23 (The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire)
Because the Lord my Shepherd is I shall not want, for I am His!
He makes me lie in pastures full; I rest in Him by waters still.

My soul He quickens and will bless; He leads in paths of righteousness.
Though I may walk in death’s dark vale, I shall not fear – He will not fail!

The Lord is ever by my side; His rod and staff with me abide.
A table rich for me He spreads; with oil my Lord anoints my head.

Goodness and mercy, full and free, shall ever after follow me,
and in the house of God, my Lord, shall I abide forevermore!

T. M. Moore

You can map out your Personal Mission Field by watching this brief video (click here). Download the worksheet that goes with the video and get started working your Personal Mission Field today.

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. 

Today's ReVision

Never So Bad

How bad can things get? Not bad enough to thwart our mission.

Join the Ailbe Community

The Fellowship of Ailbe Newsletters