Setting

Paul gives thanks to God first of all for the growing faith and love of the Thessalonians in the midst of persecutions. He comforts them by assuring them of the righteous judgment of God. He also mentions the continual prayers of him and his co-workers on their behalf.

Key Verse

(1:4-5)

Did You Know...?

1. “Flaming fire” (1:8): “In biblical times, fire was often the symbol of divine presence, such as at Mt. Sinai and on the day of Pentecost. Compare these related references: Exodus 3:2; Isaiah 66:15; Daniel 7:10-11; 2 Peter 3:7” 2/80 [ref]

2. “Vengeance” (1:8) literally means ‘out of justice.’

Outline

  • Salutation
    (1:1-2)
  • Thanksgiving
    (1:3-4)
  • God’s Righteous Judgment
    (1:5-10)
  • Prayer
    (1:11-12)

Segment Analysis

  • 1:3-4

    1a.

    1a. For what does Paul give thanks to God?

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    Paul gives thanks to God because their faith grows exceedingly and their love abounds toward each other (3). He is also thankful for their patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations that they endure (4).

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  • 1b.

    1b. Relate Paul’s thanksgiving to his earlier prayer and exhortation in 1Thessalonians 3:10,12 and 4:1

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    In his first epistle, Paul prayed that he may perfect the faith of the believers and that the Lord may make the believers increase and abound in love. He also urged the believers to abound more and more in living to please God. Now, as he writes the second epistle, he has heard of the spiritual growth of the Thessalonians—an indication that God has heard his prayer and the believers have obeyed his exhortations.

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  • 1:3-4

    2.

    2. “We are bound to thank God always for you…” What attitude can you learn from this?

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    The words “we are bound” indicate that thanksgiving is a personal obligation to God. A strong sense of gratitude compels us to thank God. “Always” tells us that thanksgiving must be constant. “For you” reminds us to always remember our brethren and to acknowledge the work of God in their lives.

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  • 3.

    3. Is your faith growing exceedingly? How do you know?

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    A growing faith means greater dependence on and trust in the Lord and His word (cf. 1Cor 16:13; 2Cor 5:7; Gal 2:20; Heb 11:1,6). A growing faith is also accompanied by growing works (cf. Gal 5:6; 1Thess 1:3; 2Thess 1:11; Jas 2:17;26).

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  • 1:5-10

    4.

    Record what this paragraph teaches about The persecutors: a. The persecutors; b. The persecuted:

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    a. The persecutors: God will repay them with tribulation (6), take vengeance on them (8), and punish them with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (9).

    b. The persecuted: God will count them worthy of the kingdom of God (5), give them rest when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (7). When the Lord comes, He will be glorified in them and admired among them (10).

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  • 5.

    What is evidence of the righteous judgment of God? Why?

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    The believers’ patience and faith in persecutions and tribulations is evidence of the righteous judgment of God. The present endurance of the saints is a demonstration that God’s future reward of the saints is just.

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  • 6.

    What does it mean that the believers be counted worthy of the kingdom of God? Does it mean that they deserve to enter God’s kingdom by virtue of their endurance?

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    Being counted worthy of the kingdom of God does not mean earning our way to the kingdom by our own merits. Rather, it means that God makes us fit for His kingdom. He does so by enabling us to endure sufferings— a test that all disciples of Christ must go through. In other words, the believers’ endurance is a sign that God has indeed chosen them into His kingdom.

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  • 7.

    To whom will God take vengeance?

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    God will take vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (8). These include both the gentiles and the Jews who persecuted the Thessalonian believers.

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  • 1:11-12

    8.

    8. How does this prayer encourage believers who are suffering persecutions?

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    This prayer is a reminder that through the believers’ patient endurance in persecutions, God is accomplishing His good purpose in them and that His name is glorified in them.

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  • 9.

    9. What is “the good pleasure of His goodness” (11)?

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    The phrase literally means “every resolve for goodness.” It is God who inspires the resolve in believers to do good, and it is God who will fulfill this resolve (cf. Php 1:6).

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  • 10.

    10. What does it mean that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us and we in Him (12)?

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    When God’s good purpose is accomplished in the believers through Christ, the name of Christ will be glorified. We, in turn, will share the glory of Jesus Christ when He appears (cf. Col 3:4).

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  • 11.

    11. What is the basis of Paul’s prayer?

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    Paul’s requests in prayer are based on the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (12). It is by God’s mercy and the atonement of Jesus Christ that believers are called into God’s kingdom and that God’s glorious purpose is accomplished in the believers.

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