1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Aim of the Study
Greater assurance, in the light of God’s electing love and work
Greater gratitude to God for the gospel and its work in our/others’ lives
Greater work, labour and endurance as we continue to trust, love and hope…
Structure of the Study
Verses 2-10 are all one sentence in the original, but for the sake of the study, consider dividing the chapter up as follows:
Introduce with… This verse tells us who the letter is from, who it’s to, and what impact the authors intend it to have on the recipients.
It’s obvious who it’s from…
- In which 2 ways are the recipients defined?
- Why is the 2nd of these an encouragement/comfort to a group of suffering Christians?
To what extent…
- Do we regard ourselves as a community?
- Is our community-identity defined by an intimate relationship with/“in” God?
- What benefit should we be hoping / praying for as we study this letter together?
- What is Paul’s first reaction whenever he thinks of them?
- What sorts of things provoke his gratitude to God?
- What do the Thessalonians’ faith, love and hope all have in common?
- What is distinctive about Christian faith, Christian love and Christian hope?
- Why does Paul thank God for these qualities in them?
- What, if anything, can we learn from Paul’s expression of gratitude here?
- How does verse 4 help us to understand Paul’s gratitude to God?
- The Bible is very clear that God chooses people; what clue are we given here as to why he chooses people?
- Paul says “We know…” What reasons does he have for such confidence?
- From v3… Are our lives marked by these qualities?
- If so, what effect should their presence have on us/other Christians?
- From v5… save application of this verse till later…
- Introduce with… God chooses people in eternity (Eph 1:4).
- But how, acc to v5, is his choice/love worked out in time in individuals?
- What is the relationship of the gospel to words? (+ and -)
- What, in addition to words, is needed in effective evangelism?
- Where does the power come from?
- Why is the power needed?
- What does the Holy Spirit give to those hearers whom God has chosen?
- To what extent does this reflect your conversion / acceptance of the gospel?
- What are the implications of this for our evangelism?
Introduce with… Paul has been giving the Thessalonians the grounds for his confident assertion that God has chosen them.
- In v6, what else gives him reason for confidence?
- How exactly did their lives change?
- What 2 responses does the gospel provoke in people?
- Why is their response further proof of God’s work amongst them?
- Have you witnessed either of these responses, before or since your conversion?
- What should we expect if we dare to share the gospel with others?
- Why is v7 surprising (and further proof of God’s work)?
- Specifically, how would they have been a ‘model church’? (Look back at v6 and forward to v8)
- Which key features of their Christian lives should other churches aspire to?
To what extent…
- Do we (as a church / as individuals) aspire to live like this?
- Do we… expect to have this kind of an impact?
- How does v8 help us appreciate Paul’s concern for their spiritual welfare?
Summarise (via a sentence or Q&A) the grounds of Paul’s confidence, which should also operate as grounds for their assurance:
i.e. their reception of the gospel (v5)
their imitation of the mission of Paul (v7-8)
- What do we learn of the church members’ past spirituality?
- How is their conversion described ? (+ and -)
- How is Paul’s description of conversion here distinctively Christian?
- How is God described here? (What, by contrast, are idols like?)
- What sort of idolatry do people go in for nowadays?
- (What did you have to turn from….?
- How strong was its hold on you?
- What kind of power was necessary for the grip to be broken?)
- Why does ‘waiting for Jesus’ NOT mean inactivity?
- In what ways have the Thessalonians been serving?
- Which historical events/facts (about Jesus) can you unearth from v10?
- Which of these events does Paul stress most here?
- To what extent is his (future) perspective also ours?
- How can you be sure you’re a Christian / that you’ve received the Holy Spirit?
What are the marks of Christian reality?
turning (v9) in faith (v3) which leads to work (v3)
serving (v9) in love (v3) which leads to labours (v3)
waiting (v10) in hope (v3) which leads to endurance (v3)