Synopsis:Paul rounds out his letter with some final instructions to this young church. He suggests strongly that how we live as Christians should have a significant impact on how we live together in Christian community and in the midst of the greater world.
Opening QuestionThink of a time when you were trying to pick up a new skill. How did you learn the basics and how did you then put principles into practice?
- We always need to make sure that we understand that our Christian faith is not rooted in “moralisms,” yet in some way the way we live in the world does have a great deal to do with the faith we profess. In this last section, Paul gives the people of Thessalonica some final remarks with regards to how they should live their lives together in community.
- How does Paul suggest that we in the Christian community should hold each other accountable for how we live?
- What are some of the things that Paul singles out as noteworthy behaviors that are worth imitating?
- Paul suggests that a special place of honor is to be held for those who “care for us in the Lord.”
- Who in you life has “cared for you in the Lord?”
- How have they influenced the kind of Christian that you’ve become?
- Verse 14 seems to be a difficult balance beam to walk. At the end of verse 13 Paul admonishes his friends to “live in peace” with one another, and now he challenges believers everywhere to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage those who are disheartened, and help the weak.”
- What would each of these three things look like?
- How have each of these – warn, encourage, and help – been beneficial in your spiritual life?
- In what way might Godly patience play a significant role in aiding us in addressing these three things?
- In verses 16-22, each of these statements in the Greek language of the New Testament is written in what’s called, “the imperative mood.” What that means is that these are command-like statements, not simply suggestions. Four – rejoice, pray, give thanks, and hold on – are all positive statements, while the other three are all offered as “do not” statements; or negative statements.
- Why do you think that Paul chooses these seven things as his final words of instruction?
- Do they perhaps have anything to do with the topics he’s already addressed in the letter?
- How do the first three – rejoice, give thanks and pray – fulfill God’s will for us?
- What are some ways that the church might “quench the spirit?”
- How can we test “prophecies;” proclamations made on God’s behalf?
- What are some practical ways we can reject evil?
- Verses 23-28 serve as the letter’s benediction – the last words of Paul to the church.
- What do you hear in Paul’s voice as you read them?
- What does he want them to know?
For Next Week: 1 Thessalonians 4.13-5.11