Who wrote it?
1 Thessalonians 1:1 indicates that the book was written by the apostle Paul, probably along with Silas and Timothy.
When(ish) was it written?
1 Thessalonians was written in approximately AD 50.
Why was it written?
In the church of Thessalonica there were some misunderstandings about the return of Christ. Paul desired to clear them up in his letter. He also writes it as an instruction in holy living.
Some Key Verses
[quote] For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:5 [/quote]
[quote] For this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:7 [/quote]
[quote] For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 [/quote]
[quote] Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [/quote]
A Quick Summary
The first three chapters are about Paul longing to visit the church in Thessalonica, but not being able to because Satan stopped them (1 Thessalonians 2:18), and how Paul cared for them and was encouraged to hear how they had been. Paul then prays for them (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13). In chapter 4, Paul is instructing the believers in Thessalonica on how to live, in Christ Jesus, a holy life (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12). Paul goes on to instruct them of a misconception they had. He tells them that the people who have died in Christ Jesus will also go to heaven when He comes back (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-11). The book ends with final instructions of living the Christian life.
Old Testament Ties
Paul reminds the Thessalonians that the persecution they were receiving from their “own countrymen” (1 Thessalonians 2:15), the Jews who rejected their Messiah, is the same that the Old Testament prophets suffered (Jeremiah 2:30; Matthew 23:31). Jesus warned that true prophets of God would always be opposed by the unrighteous (Luke 11:49). In Colossians, Paul reminds them of that truth.
What does this mean?
This book can be applied to many life situations. It gives us the confidence as Christians that, dead or alive, when Christ comes back we will be together with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). It assures us as Christians that we won’t receive God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9). It instructs us how to walk the daily Christian life (1 Thessalonians 4–5).
- Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, and Romans 10:13-14. What verses or ideas stand out to you from this passage? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
- Ask each person in your Life Group to draw a graph that shows the trajectory of their spiritual journey, then have each person describe their graph and their journey to the rest of the group.
- What are some definitions of a “Christian” that are common in our culture? Are they accurate? How would you define a “Christian”? How does this definition compare with what the Bible says?
- The Bible says that God chose you, and that you chose God. How are both of these true at the same time?
- How have the words (truth) of the Gospel become a power in your life? What specific changes or impact can you point to? How has the Bible played a role in this life change?