The two letters written around AD 51/52 are among the earliest of Paul's letters.
If you go to google map to find the place Thessalonica, you will find this city known as Thessaloniki. This is an ancient city, originally named Therma & in 315 BC was renamed Thessalonica after the half sister of Alexander the Great. When Rome conquered Macedonia in 168 BC, the city was made capital of the entire province.
Paul and his companions responded to the call & crossed over into Macedonia in AD50. It led him to Phillipi and in due course, came to Thessalonica. (Acts 15-17)
Some TIPS on How To Read: Above is a short introduction of Thessalonica & the church in Thessalonica. These 2 letters written to the Thessalonian church are rich with encouragement to this young & thriving church; providing instructions in Godly living & correcting some serious misunderstandings.
Read each letter in one sitting, reading in the tone of a letter written from a Spiritual Father to his children. As you read,
1. Listen to the heartbeat & concern of Paul that motivated him to write both the letters.
2. Find out the background of both the letters
a. With a bible atlas (trace the location of Paul & his companions that relate to both these letters)
b. Cross reference to Acts 17:1-9 (for the background of the church)
3. Spend 12 days within this month to read 1st & 2nd Thessalonians
Day 1: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Day 2: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Day 3: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
Day 4: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
Day 5: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Day 6: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Day 7: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Day 8: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Day 9: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
(Again, begin by reading the 2nd letter in one sitting)
Day 10: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Day 11: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
Day 12: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
Let's be WORDessential Christian...at the end of each day, take time to review those verses & examine your heart.
1. What did I learn from the verses today? (from the person of Paul or from the Thessalonians Christians)
2. How can I apply this in my daily living?
3. What are some truths of the Gospel in both these letters & in what ways is the Lord asking me to respond to these truths.
"We continually remember before our God & Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love & your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."
In reading the 2 letters of Paul to the Thessalonians Christians, one can almost hear joy & gratitude in Paul's heart as he encourages & urges this young church on in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The church at Thessalonica was born through the faithful preaching of the apostle & his helpers, thereafter nurtured through the faithful pastoring that Paul gave to the infant church together with his friends.
Despite the suffering & persecutions they were facing in Thessalonica, the Thessalonians were shining witness to Christ in where they were. Faith, Hope & Love were the distinctive characteristic of the Thessalonian Christians from the very beginning.
1. They were an exemplary people to other believers (v5-7)
Paul affirms who they are...'being imitators of us & of the Lord'. Not only were the Thessalonians imitators of the Lord & of Paul (1 Thess. 1:6), but they also became imitators of the Jewish believers in their experience of persecution. (1 Thess. 2:14-16). The Thessalonians set an good example to the believers in Achaia & Macedonia.
'Faith, Hope & Love seen in their exemplary lives'
2. They were a living witness for Christ (v8)
The Thessalonians Christians not only received the Word (1 Thess. 1:5) but shared the Word with others for "The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God had become known everywhere". I believe that the message of Christ rang through their lives motivated by their own personal encounter with God or in other words a first hand spirituality. We see this in verses 5 & 6.
And in verses 8" They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living & true God." Here we see a clear turning away from idols to the living God. With this, their lives were living witness to the Gospel.
'Faith, Hope & Love witnessed in the U-turns of their lives'
3. They lived with Expectancy
Putting their faith in Christ, the Thessalonians looked forward to Christ 2nd coming with Joyful Expectancy. They knew that they would be delivered 'from the wrath to come' (1 Thess. 1:10). Paul repeated this truth in 1 Thess. 5:9-10 & clarified further in 2nd Thess. 1:5-10
'Faith, Hope & Love lived out with eternity in view'
Is Christ magnified in the way we live our lives?
Does others see faith, love & hope being reflected in the way we live our lives?
What is the Word of God asking of me?