Now that we have walked through section-by-section of First Thessalonians. Lets make sure we do not miss the main point of the book. But first a tangent.
The way I studied the book of 1 Thessalonians was purposeful. It was not an immediate discussion of each verse of the book. Not that each verse should not be studied. But, I think it is important that we get back to better Bible study. And in my opinion better Bible study is moving past verses and chapters to paragraphs and books. That is why we started with an overview of the book, then we moved to studying each paragraph. This allows us to move through a book naturally (like the author intended). It allows the author to develop his own argument and keeps us from forcing ourselves upon the text. The next step will be an overview of the book (this post). Then we will spend a few sessions talking about the theology of the book (i.e. what does the book have to say about doctrine).
Now that I have been on a tangent, it is time to tie everything together. We have learned that this church is doing well. Their faith is spoken well-of. However, they are a young church that has not had much instruction, so Paul is concerned about them finishing well. The book is a balance of Paul commending them and exhorting them. Commending for their good works. Exhorting them to keep on going.
The reason for the commendation is that they have allowed the message of the gospel to change them. They view Paul’s message (both in words and actions) as being from God. They exhibited true conversion and stayed strong in the face of persecution.
The exhortation centered around three major areas. One was love. Where Paul states they are doing great, but wants them to keep improving. The second is holiness. Specifically, it is sexual purity. The third area is the Final Return of Jesus.
Thus we are left with a book that is relevant to many true Christians today. The balance between knowing God is pleased with me, but wanting to continue to “walk worthy.” The answer is that we keep on progressing in confidence. Progressing because the gospel calls us to deeper faithfulness. Confident because we know God is pleased with us. What a relevant book!
Our next studies will trace some major themes (theology) through the book.
Leave your comments below about what you have learned from 1 Thessalonians during our study together.
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