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Category: 1 Thessalonians (page 1 of 3)

Theology of 1 Thessalonians–God the Father

We are looking now at the theology of 1 Thessalonians. (Check out archives for our exegetical look through the book).  Our goal is to answer the question what does 1 Thessalonians teach on some core doctrines of the Christian faith.   You can see our first two articles here and here.

I want to look now at what does 1 Thessalonians teach us about God the Father.

Here are few truths I’ve gathered from the book:

  1. God is a personal God:  Our first introduction to God is as Father (1:1).  Paul repeats this title throughout the book.  However, God is not just Father in general, He is our Father.  In fact Paul would say, He is our God (2:2).  God is not the God of the deist (unconcerned with human affairs now), but instead He is our personal God today.
  2. God is a revelatory God.  He has a message (2:13).  He has a will (4:3).  He has a gospel (2:2). All of these are revealed to mankind in such a way that we can know them.  Not only can we know them, but the revelation of God is such that we can understand and obey it.
  3. God is a relational God.  God is prayed to (1:2).  We put our faith in Him (1:8).  We turn to Him from our idols (1:9).  We can please Him (4:1) or we can be displeasing to Him (2:15).  Depending upon our relationship status we will either receive His wrath, or His salvation at the return of Jesus (5:9).
  4. God is an omniscience God.  He knows all things. Our God is witness to our outward actions (2:10) and our inward motives (2:4).  He knows all.  This puts him in the perfect position to either approve or disapprove us (2:4).
  5. God is a working God.  God works within us for our sanctification (5:23).  God also works with us as we continues His mission in the world (3:2).  This goes back to the personal nature of God, He is truly concerned with us and comes along side us.
  6. Our God is a saving God.  The gospel of God (and thus God Himself) calls men to a relationship with God through His Son.  This relationship with God’s Son is the means by which God saves us from His wrath (5:9).

What other aspects of God did you see in 1 Thessalonians?

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Theology of 1 Thessalonians–Christology

Let me say this up front.  I love writing all the different posts on this site.  It is a way for me to study and share with others.  But this post was even more exciting than usual.  Now for some of you what I’m about to say will not matter (feel free to forget it after you read it, or skip the italics part, and just move to the actually meat of the article), but for those who deal much with the world of religious scholarly opinion this might interest you like it does me.

In the world of scholarly opinion Christology (what does the Bible say about Christ?) is under attack.  Liberal Scholars want to claim that a high view of Christ developed over time. That Christians did not original see Christ as exalted as we do now.  Normally they argue that it was added later by the Gospels and especially by John in his writings.   Here is what I love about 1 Thessalonians, it is our oldest book and explains a very high view of Christ.  It teaches all the fundamentals of a Christian worldview concerning Jesus.  It teaches His deity.  It teaches His death on our behalf.  It teaches His resurrection. It teaches salvation is connected with Him and it teaches that He is going to return at the summation of history.  What is my point?  My point is that the high view of Christ that the church now holds did not develop, but rather was there from the very origins of the Christian faith!

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1 Thessalonians Theology–Word of God

Theology might not be a word you use often.  But it is a word that in concept you use all the time.  Any time a Christian asks, or wonders, what does the bible say about…?  They are asking for an theological answer.  Theology hopes to put the different sections of Scripture that deal with a certain subject together in a way to give an answer on what the Bible teaches on a particular subject.

In our case over the next few posts we are not asking what does the Bible say about …? But rather what does 1 Thessalonians teach on those subjects?

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1 Thessalonians–A Look Back

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).

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1 Thessalonians 5:12-28–Apostles Conclusion

This last section of 1 Thessalonians can feel at times as just a series of commands that Paul had to put somewhere.  But they do have a place within the purpose of the book.  They are giving some practical commands on how one can progress in their faith.  Remember the point of 1 Thessalonians is to encourage the church (who are already doing well) to excel in their faith.  These verses provide us with some practical instruction toward doing that:

  1. Have a proper view of church leaders.  God has provided leaders within the church.  These individuals are supposed to be respected based upon the hard work they put in.  These leaders would include all the ones given to the church (Ephesians 4:11), plus families who show themselves as exemplary (1 Corinthians 16:15,16).  These individuals should be held in “high regard.”  Notice this is not because of a position they hold, but because of a work that they do! (12,13)
  2. Be long-suffering towards all.  Christians have to learn to live, work, and exist together in community.  As Christians we are part of the body of Christ and therefore are interrelated with other disciples.  However, being long-suffering does not mean we treat everyone equally.  It means looking out for the unruly, fainthearted, and weak and dealing with each group appropriately. (14)
  3. Do not seek vengeance.  What a temptation it must have been for these Christians to lash-out at their persecutors.  Paul states that is not their place (there will be a more in-depth discussion of why in 2 Thessalonians).  They are supposed to do good to fellow Christians and to all people (15).
  4. Be joyful and thankful.  This church before this letter was written was grieving over their dead loved ones (whom they thought would never see Jesus).  They were (are) suffering persecution.  Paul, however has given them ONE MAJOR reason for joyfulness and thanksgiving (he gave them more than one, but this one is major).  The one being the final return of Jesus.  That should be a source of joy and thanksgiving.  In fact it makes it so that no matter what we are facing we still have our joy and the ability to be thankful! (16-18)
  5. Hear the word of God.  Paul has praised this church on a few occasions in this letter about how they received God’s word.  He does not want them to stop this tradition.  He tells them to hear prophesy (prophesy does not usually mean telling the future, but instead speaking the message of God).  In fact if they refuse to hear the word of God then they are quenching the Spirit of God who is the source of true prophecy!  Once the message is heard, we should accept what is true and reject what is false (19-21).

Paul concludes this section and in fact this letter with a reminder of God’s work.  This book puts an emphasis on Christians growing in their faith.  It pushes us to excel and to do more.  Paul does not want us to forget that God is working in us.  We are not doing this alone.  God is at work within us also:

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