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Bible Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


From Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Paul took both Silas and Timothy with him on the second tour of missions (Acts ch. 15, 16, 17, 18). To the people of the church. The “messianic community,” visibly separate from the synagogue of the Jews. Who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is honored only through the Son (1 John 2:23). The church belongs to both the Father and the Son. The church is visibly separate from both the Gentiles and the Jews.

Verse 2


We. This is Paul’s letter, not the work of all three. But in “we” Paul is including all who are with him, and perhaps the Christian ministry as well. Always thank God. Almost all of Paul’s letters begin with “thanks.” This teaches us that Christians should pray for each other and thank God for the faith of others. (Philippians 1:3-5)

Verse 3


For we remember. Remembering these good things was a habit. How you put your faith into practice. Faith itself is a good work (John 6:29). How your love made you work so hard. This implies working hard at material things in order to be able to help others (compare Ephesians 4:28; Galatians 6:1-10). And how your hope. “Hope” in the Bible, is “something we expect to see take place.” Hope is important, since we act on the basis of what we do believe (compare Romans 2:7).

Verse 4


And has chosen you. This is another way of saying, “and you know that you have become Christians.” It is a paradox that we hear: “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come!” and find out the call is to ALL (John 6:44-45). But when we have come into union with him, we find that he has chosen us! Cod’s call must be understood as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:10 “So then, my brothers, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never fall away.”

Verse 5


Not with words only. Note that the “power” refers to the ones who brought the Good News. The reasons why they are “chosen” are: (1) the power and conviction with which Paul, Silas, and Timothy brought this Good News to them; (2) the fact that they received the Good News with joy. You know how we lived. Paul points to the power, the Holy Spirit, and complete conviction of truth as it is clearly seen in the lives of himself and his associates. This, he says, is proof that God loves you and has chosen you. [God backed up the apostles with miracles (Acts 19:11-12). However, some think these things ended when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.]

Verse 6


You imitated us. They imitated the Christian life they saw Paul and others living. Even though you suffered much. From the unbelieving Jews (Acts 17:1-9). From the Holy Spirit. Joy, from the moment they accepted the gospel (see note on Acts 2:38).

Verse 7


So you became an example. They honored Christ with their lives! This made them a good example to other believers. Macedonia. See map. This was “Northern Greece,” and Thessalonica was its capital. Greece. This was “Southern Greece” (Achaia), and Corinth was its capital. Both were Roman provinces.

Verses 8-10


Went out from you. Thessalonica became an important center for spreading the Good News. The effect of Christ on the Thessalonians created great interest among others. That we need to say. Wherever he went, he found the news of the church in Thessalonica was already well known! And how you turned away from idols to God. For a Gentile to accept Christ, he had to turn away from the worship of idols, reject a large part of his native society, clean up his life (1 Peter 4:3-5), and disbelieve most of what he had been taught was true. (Compare 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.) And to wait for his Son. The apostles had seen Jesus ascend to heaven. Since no one could know the time of his return, they waited expectantly! Note that Paul’s preaching centered around Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 17:18). We should always be prepared for his coming! [Some think even the apostles thought Jesus would come while they were still alive. However, it is clear that Paul expected a final rebellion before Jesus would Come Again (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This implies the apostles knew that it would be some time until Christ returns.]

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-thessalonians-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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