1 Thessalonians 2:1-16
Aim of the Study
A clearer grasp of the marks* of true gospel ministry
A greater commitment to the practice*of true gospel ministry
* in terms of :
a) Dependence on God
b) Integrity before God
c) Self-denying love for others
d) Readiness to suffer for the gospel
Structure of the Study
- v1-2 – dependence in ministry
- v3-6a – integrity in ministry
- v6b-12 – love in ministry
- v13-16 – suffering in ministry
After reading the passage together, remind the group of the historical context of the letter, ie Timothy’s report on his return from Thessalonica…
- How might Timothy’s report have prompted Paul to write in this (rather defensive) way?
- Why was it important for Paul to defend himself?
- What (specifically) might have provoked Paul to write v1?
- What would have constituted ‘failure’ to Paul?
- Why might he have been tempted not to tell them the gospel?
- What should his willingness to evangelise despite opposition teach the Thessalonians?
- What enabled Paul to keep evangelising despite opposition?
- Why (logically) could he count on God’s help?
- How do these 2 verses help us as we think about and get involved in evangelism?
- What 3 accusations have Paul’s enemies been making against him?
- How does the first half of v4 answer the accusation that he taught error?
- How can we guard against teaching error?
- What further accusations were made against Paul (v5)?
- No doubt many 1st C. religious charlatans did employ these tactics, as do 21st C. ones…
- From v4 and v6, what seems to be at the heart of their false ministry? (ie What’s a key characteristic of religious conmen?)
- By contrast, what’s the key characteristic of the true / ‘clean’ gospel minister?
- As we think about our own evangelism, what’s the challenge/rebuke here for us?
- How would you sum up v3-6a in a sentence?
- Which 2 images does Paul use here to describe his relationship with the Thessalonians?
- Why are these images particularly appropriate to the relationship between an evangelist and Christian converts ?
- Which key qualities of a mother does Paul particularly focus on?
- How does the Greek word tr. ‘caring for’ give us a fuller picture of his ministry?
- What’s the motive for his self-giving?
- v8 Which key features of his ministry did Paul want them to remember?
- (Focus on central section -“we were delighted…. …our lives as well”)
- What does all this prove?
- What further proof of his love does he give them in v9?
- How might Paul’s behaviour have contrasted with that of the religious charlatans around at that time?
- How do v8 and v9 challenge our thinking and behaviour?
- Why is Paul keen to call God as a witness (see also v5)?
- What’s the link between v10 and v11?
- Apart from by example, how else did Paul deal with them ‘as a father’?
- What was the primary purpose of Paul’s example (v10) and his instruction (v11)?
- Why do you think Paul added the final clause of v12?
- Have you ever been encouraged by the example and instruction of a more mature Christian?
- What should be the primary aim of ROOTS?
- What must we keep telling each other, to help keep each other going in the Christian life?
- What further accusation may Paul be answering here?
- What claim does he make for his preaching at Thessalonica?
- In v13, what proof does he give that they received the word of God?
- What’s the application of this verse for us?
- How exactly is the word of God at work in the Thessalonians?
- In v14, what’s the encouragement for them?
- What’s the link between suffering and being ‘in Christ Jesus’ ?
- To what extent is this true (for us) today?
- Why (given the historical context) does Paul list the crimes of the Jews in such detail?
- Can he be defended from the charge of anti-Semitism?
- Why is the continuing activity of certain Jews so displeasing to God?
- Why are these Jews destined to face God’s wrath? (see 1:10)
- What’s Paul’s purpose in speaking to the Gentiles?
- Why (from this section) is speaking so crucial?
- If we take Paul’s ministry as a model, esp. with regard to (1) telling the gospel and (2) living out the gospel…
- How are we doing?
- What challenges does his ministry pose to our thinking and our living?