1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13
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) the desire, out of (parental) love, to be with believers in person
b) an eternal perspective on the perseverance of believers
c) self-denying action for the sake of believers’ persevering faith
d) unbridled joy and exuberant praise when believers persevere in their faith
e) fervent prayer that Jesus would (continue to) sanctify believers until he comes
Structure of the Study
- 2:17-18 – the desire to be with them
- 2:19-20 – an eternal perspective
- 3:1-5 – self-denying action
- 3:6-10 – joy and praise
- 3:11-13 – prayer
- Can you remember… why was it important for Paul to defend himself against attacks on his character?
- What further slurs / accusations might Paul be defending himself against here?
- What sort of language does Paul use here ?
- What does his choice of words tell us about his relationship with the Thessalonian believers?
- What is his greatest desire here? (Refer forward to 3:10 and back to 2:8)
- Have you ever been on the receiving end of this kind of committed pastoral love?
- What’s the challenge here for us (St Ebbe’s staff / ROOTS leaders & members)?
- Looking on to 3:12, what should we do if we lack this kind of love for others?
- Which future event does v19 look forward to?
- Why was it esp. important for Paul & the Thessalonians to keep this day in view?
- To what extent do we live with an eschatological perspective?
- What are the dangers of not living with this perspective?
- What does Paul expect his reward to be when Jesus comes?
- What effect does this future hope have on him in the present?
- How does his choice of words reveal the depths of his feelings for them?
- On what basis…
- can we expect to receive a reward like Paul’s?
- can we expect to experience joy like his?
- In which ways do Paul’s views of ministry and people challenge ours?
(Summarise… … How do v19-20 explain v17-18?)
- Looking at v1 and 5, what could Paul not stand any longer?
- What was his greatest fear, v5?
- What were the main threats to the Thessalonians’ faith?
- From v3-4, what did Paul stress in his first few discipleship classes?
- Why is it important to teach this to recent converts?
- To what extent…
- have you been taught this?
- has “it turned out that way” for you?
- What are the key tasks of the Christian minister, v2?
- How would Timothy have actually gone about strengthening and encouraging them?
- What’s the application of this for us today?
- How is Paul’s decision (see v1,2,5) further evidence of his love for them
(Summarise… What’s the main thrust of 2:17-3:5?OR… How do 3:1-5 fit with 2:17-20? )
- What are Paul’s personal circumstances when Timothy finds him in Corinth?
- (From ch.1), how would Timothy have known their faith and love were genuine?
- What effect does news of their persevering faith and love have on Paul?
- Which 2 hallmarks of the true gospel minister do we find in v9?
- To what extent can you echo the sentiments of v8 and v9?
- What challenges do v8-9 pose to our thinking and behaviour?
- Given what we’ve just learned in v6-9, what’s surprising about v10?
- What’s the focus of all of Paul’s activity / ministry? (sending Tim; praying for them; writing to them; planning to visit)
- What’s the application for us…
- as Christians?
- as ministers?
- What, acc. to v12, is a key measure of genuine spiritual progress / true spirituality?
- Why, given their circumstances, is it important for Paul to remind them of this?
- Where does growth in this area come from?
- How has Jesus chosen to bring about this growth? (see v10)
- To what extent do we apply “ the test of love” to our own spiritual progress?
- (Which other tests do we (prefer to) more regularly apply?)
- To what extent…
- do we pray for ourselves / others to abound in love?
- do we expect to really be changed by God’s word?
- What’s the (possible) link betw. increasing love (v12) & strengthened hearts (v13)?
- What will be the fruit of this inner stability / strength?
- Why should they / we be concerned about personal holiness?
- What do we learn about the Lord Jesus in these verses?
- What impact should this knowledge have on our lives?
- Remembering the big picture / historical context of attacks on Paul’s character, how would you summarise the whole section (2:17-3:13)?
- Looking at the whole section, has anything in particular really struck you (in terms of an encouragement, a challenge or a rebuke)? )