1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Aim of the Study
Greater commitment to live increasingly distinctive lives* as children in God’s family
Greater dependence on our faithful God, who provides all the resources for such distinctive lives*
*marked by peace, love, joy, prayer, praise, discernment, holiness and hope
Structure of the Study
If we look at the passage under the heading: “Family Relationships With…”, this structure emerges:
- v12-13 – Leaders
- v14-15 – Each Other
- v16-24 – God
- v25-27 – Christians From Elsewhere
- v28 – Christ
Recap… Implications of Jesus’ return for believers (& non-believers); individual Christians need to be ready (5:4) and keep each other ready (5:11).
Introduction… ‘Final Instructions’ (NIV)-
= apparently disjointed hotchpotch of ideas thrown together at random? Maybe not!
Starter Question: What do v12,14,25,26 & 27 have in common?
Implication: This concluding section is about ‘living as a family’…
- What’s the first instruction Paul gives the Thessalonian family of God?
- How else are these ‘hard-workers’ described in v12?
- Who are these people, then?
- In this letter (eg 1:3, 2:9), what has been the motivation behind the toil of ministry?
- Why should the family in Thessalonica love and respect its leaders?
- What might this mean in practice?
- What should the Thessalonians / we expect our leaders to do?
- (What qualities should be evident in those who feel ‘called to (paid) ministry’?)
- (How should we identify those whom God is calling to ministry?)
- How comfortable are you with these 3 aspects of the leaders’ role?
- If we fail to follow Paul’s instructions here, what risk do we run (v13)?
- From your memory of chapter 4, can you suggest who ‘the idle’, ‘the timid’ and ‘the weak’ might be?
- According to Paul, who has responsibility for warning, encouraging, helping etc.?
- What will be especially needed in this work?
- In v15, which particular temptation will have to be resisted?
- Which “motto” will help them resist it?
- Taking v12-15 together…
- what should be the key characteristics of a community of believers?
- How close do we come to fulfilling this ideal? (In which respects are we doing well; how can we keep growing? In which respects do we particularly fall down; how can we improve?)
- What do v23-24 encourage us to do?
- In 4:3, Paul wrote, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified”.
- Which 3 marks of a sanctified life does he focus on in v16-18?
- Is he joking?!!
- If not, what does he mean by each of the commands here?
- (To what extent is Paul a model here?)
- “Do not quench the Spirit” (v19) probably refers backwards as well as forwards.
- How does this help us to become a more joyful, prayerful, praising family, in line with God’s will?
- Taking v19-20 together…
- how might the Thessalonians have been “quenching the Spirit”?
- (v21-22) What’s the proper approach to messages purporting to come from God?
- How would they have been able to ‘test everything’? (What would have counted as ‘good’ and ‘evil’?)
- Re: prophecies, how is our situation similar / different to the Thessalonians’?
- So how do v21-22 apply to us?
- How, practically, can we ‘test everything’?
- What must we do after ‘testing…’?
- How can we get better equipped to enjoy this privilege / fulfil this responsibility?
- What does Paul pray for the Thessalonians?
- (How is God addressed in v23? What’s this an echo of?)
- What hints do we get here that God is a ‘perfectionist’?
- Which great event does Paul again have in view?
- Given this prayer’s similarity to the one in 3:13, why does it come here? (ie What’s the link between v23 and the preceding verses?)
- How confident is Paul that his prayer will be answered?
- What are the grounds of his confidence?
- What indications are we given in v12-22 as to how “(God) will do it”?
- What should our response be to v24?
- To what extent are we co-operating with God’s ways of sanctifying us?
- How the family should relate to…
- leaders (v12-13)
- each other (v14-15)
- God (v16-24)
- What are the 3 instructions here?
- What do you think “all the brothers means” in v26 & v27? (Cf. 4:10?)
- What does v25 have in common with v26 & v27?
- So how are the Thessalonians to relate to Christians from outside their fellowship?
- Does anything in particular strike you about v27?
- What would this emphasis convey to the Thessalonians? (Cf. v21!)
- How do the 3 instructions apply to us?
- Which key thoughts does Paul sign off with?
- How do these thoughts reflect / sum up this passage / the letter as a whole?