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Category: Bible Study (page 20 of 25)

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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Question about Angels Among Us

At the end of the book of Hebrews is a verse that has perked many folks attention.  It is in a list of commands that draw the “exhortation” of the writer to a close.  Really the part of the verse that is most controversial (for lack of a better word) is not the main point of the verse.  The verse reads:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

The point of the verse is the command in the first half, “Do not neglect to show hospitality.”  The verse is an admonition for Christians to take care of strangers in need. The second half simply provides a reason why.

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1 Thessalonians and The Rapture

Since we have just finished Paul’s discussion of the Final Return of Jesus in 1 Thessalonians, I think it is a good time to deal with the Rapture. I say this because 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is a common used verse when discussing the rapture.  Below are Dr. Dan Owen’s comments on this section.

Some people have come up with an erroneous theory called “the Rapture” based on misreading a couple of different New Testament passages. First, they have misread 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” They have read this to mean that the Christian dead will rise first, before the non-Christian dead. They believe that the dead Christians will rise and the living Christians will join them to meet the Lord in the air. This is the “Rapture”. If one examines 1 Thessalonians 4 a bit more carefully, one gets a completely different picture. The non-Christian dead are not even discussed in that passage except to say that they “have no hope.” When it says “the dead in Christ shall rise first,” it means “first, before all the Christians are caught up in the clouds,” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). The unsaved dead are not discussed in that passage as they are in many others.

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Comfort One Another–I Thessalonians 5:1-11

This section begins with the word “but” (compare with 4:13).  This continues Paul’s discussion on the Final Return of Jesus.   In this case the brethren are not ignorant (5:1), but Paul wants to remind them of what they had been taught.

In this section two groups of people are discussed.

The first is those in darkness.  Paul says they will be unprepared for Christ’s return.  They will think all of life is great and peaceful.  It will surprise them like a thief at night and labor pains on a woman.

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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18–The Second Coming

Paul has already stated that he desired to fill in what was “lacking in their faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:1).  I believe that this following section on the Final Return of Jesus is Paul doing just that.  The brethren are “ignorant” and Paul wants to inform them.

Although we are not ignorant (for the most part) of the Return of Jesus in the same way they are, there is still much ignorance on the subject.  Much of this ignorance comes from speculative teaching.  This will be dealt with in later posts.  Here Paul is concerned with what happens to those who die.

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