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!
BIG IDEA OF 1 THESSALONIANS
Christians should live God-honoring lives now because Jesus could return at any moment.
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)[ref] Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015.[/ref]
Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians with Timothy and Silas (See 1 Thessalonians 1:1).
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.
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).
Praise (chapters 1-3)
- Existing Church (1)
- Excellent Church (2)
- Enduring Church (3)
Push (chapters 4-5)
- Expectant Church (4)
- Exempt Church (5)
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.
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.