Here are video summaries for this week:
1 Thessalonians is thought to be the oldest letter of Paul in the New Testament. Thessalonica was a city in modern Macedonia which Paul first visited in Acts 17. Paul had success beginning a church there, but significant persecution from the non-Christian Jewish population forced him to flee the city. His first letter to the Thessalonians was written while Paul was in Corinth, sometime around AD 51. Paul’s focus in 1 Thessalonians is to encourage the believers, who he left so abruptly. He had sent another church leader, Timothy, to their church between his departure from Thessalonica and sending this letter. Timothy’s return provides the impetus for sending this missive.
Did you notice how often Paul wrote about persecution? This seems to be a sizable challenge for the Thessalonians. Do we experience persecution today as believers? Where do our fellow Christians experience serious persecution around the world? Perhaps they should become part of our regular prayer life.
2 Thessalonians is a short letter, written around AD 54 in response to concerns of the Thessalonian church. Again, Jesus’ return is a major theme, as is the final judgment. This time, Paul wants to let the people know that “the day of the Lord” has not yet come. To do so, he reminds them of teachings he had previously given about the end times, specifically “the man of lawlessness.” What did you glean from this passage about Jesus’ return?
What does it mean to be ready for the return of our Lord?
Paul’s letter to Timothy marks a dramatically different style of writing; prior to this letter, everything we have read by Paul (including the letter to Philemon) has really been directed to a church community. Now, in 1 Timothy, we see a letter directed to a subordinate leader. This is an incredible read; notice particularly the encouragements that Paul offers to Timothy in his ministry. Do you have a Paul-figure in your work, home, or spiritual life who encourages and directs you? If no, do you know people you might contact to fill that gap in your life?
Keep reading and I’ll see you Sunday!