1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Aim of the Study
Greater assurance and gratitude to God, in the light of his spiritual work* in us so far
A greater commitment to sustained spiritual growth*, in the light of Christ’s return
* in terms of :
a) holiness (with specific ref. to sexual purity)
b) brotherly love (with specific ref. to daily work)
Structure of the Study
- v1-8: Keep growing in holiness (particularly in the area of sexual purity)
- v9-12: Keep growing in brotherly love (particularly in the area of daily work)
- From v1, how should the Thessalonian Christians be living?
- How can we be sure this was important to Paul?
- According to Paul, how are they doing in this respect?
- (Why does Paul bother to add the phrase “as in fact you are living”?)
- What does Paul urge the Thessalonian Christians to do now?
- What should be at the heart of Christian morality / living?
- If a Christian friend is lacking assurance, how might we follow Paul’s example in encouraging them?
- According to these verses, what’s the nature of true spirituality?
- If a Christian friend is becoming complacent, how might we challenge them?
- How is ‘pleasing God’ defined / re-worded in v3?
- What does ‘sanctified’ mean?
- Why is this God’s will for the Thessalonians / us?
- To what extent do we prize and strive for holiness?
- Which particular area of morality does Paul choose to focus on?
- (Any ideas why?!)
- What’s the key to abstaining from sexual immorality?
- What does Paul contrast in v4 and v5?
- What lies behind the sexual immorality of pagans?
- What’s the implication of v5 for Christians?
- From v6 (& v8), what sort of improper sexual behaviour might Timothy have reported to Paul?
- Think what some of the undesirable effects of this kind of behaviour might be…
- Which 2 motivations to proper sexual behaviour does Paul give in v6?
- How do v7-8 help us to understand the severe warning at the end of v6? (nb last clause of v8)
- What does v8 have in common with verses 1and 2?
- How should this affect our attitude to Paul’s instructions (here and elsewhere)?
- What are the other applications of v3-8 to us…
- as a church?
- as individuals?
- What are the similarities between v10 and v1?
- How would you describe Paul’s approach as a pastor?
- Apart from the geographical range of their love, why is v10 slightly surprising?
- Why is ‘philadelphia’ (brotherly love) an appropriate word to describe the Thessalonians’ relationships with each other?
- What’s the defining mark of true spirituality in v10?
(v1 – love God; here – love others… 2 commandments which sum up the Law)
- Paul doesn’t spell it out, but how might they have been ‘taught by God to love…’ ?
- Is v9b essentially similar or essentially different to v2?
- How does Paul / should we expect God to answer prayers such as 3:12-13?
- When we become aware of spiritual growth in our lives, how should we respond?
- Which temptations in normal daily life does Paul (again) warn against in v11?
- (Why might these particular temptations have arisen in Thessalonica?)
- Which 2 reasons are given for resisting these temptations?
- How do these reasons fit with the context of brotherly love?
- How should v11-12 help us to get out of bed tomorrow?
- What are God’s (twin) purposes for us (as a church)?
- What’s our role / responsibility in all this?