An Introduction to 1 Thessalonians

December 8, 2019

Paul’s first letter written to the believers in Thessalonica, called 1 Thessalonians, is a rich and encouraging letter. Here is a brief chart and introduction notes on the book. Blessings to you as you study this fantastic book!

Introduction 1 Thessalonians

BIG IDEA OF 1 THESSALONIANS

Christians should live God-honoring lives now because Jesus could return at any moment.

KEY VERSE

May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:13) 1

AUTHOR

Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians with Timothy and Silas (See 1 Thessalonians 1:1).

DATE

Likely was written in 51 A.D. (or somewhere between 50-52) while Paul was in Corinth for 18 months. See Acts 18:1-8 and 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10.

AUDIENCE

The believers in the town of Thessalonica. Paul had brought them the Good News (1 Thessalonians 1:5) and was glad that the visit was not a failure (1 Thessalonians 2:1). Paul and Silas had been in Thessalonica for three Sabbaths (Acts 17:1-8). Paul was worried that they had abandoned their faith (3:2-13).

OUTLINE

  • Praise (chapters 1-3)

    • Existing Church (1)
    • Excellent Church (2)
    • Enduring Church (3)
  • Push (chapters 4-5)

    • Expectant Church (4)
    • Exempt Church (5)

THEMES

1. Return of Christ

The return of Christ is mentioned in every chapter except for chapter 2. See 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 3:13; 4:14-5:1; and 5:10. Paul tells them that Christ’s return could happen at any moment (5:1-3). And he tells them about the order of events of the rapture and the return of Christ (4:13-18).

2. Christian Living

Paul praises the believers in Thessolanica for their proper conduct and continued life of faith in chapters one and two. Paul pushes them to keep them living the good conduct in chapters four and five.

PERSONAL APPLICATIONS

1. Be ready when Christ returns

This is done by having a lifestyle focused on God and free of sexual sin (4:3-8). 

2. Endure suffering because it will happen

The believers in Thessalonica had to endure a lot of suffering (1:6; 2:14) but they stayed strong in their faith (1:7-8; 3:3-9). Modern Christians will experience suffering too and must endure it. 

Suggested Reading for Further Study of 1 Thessalonians

Notes:

  1. Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015.

Christopher L. Scott

Posts Twitter Facebook

Christopher L. Scott is a local church pastor and freelance writer. He begins as the Senior Pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington on July 1, 2021. Learn more at https://www.lakeviewmissionarychurch.com/ His articles have appeared in Pacific Magazine, War Cry, The Lutheran Digest, New Identity Magazine, NET Results, The Christian Journal, and Bible Advocate. In 2020 more than 300,000 copies of his articles have been printed and distributed. Most articles are posted online and available to readers worldwide for free. He's a graduate of Fresno Pacific University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."