The Book of 1 Thessalonians Bible Study Chapter 3 Part 1

We begin this week with 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5
In this passage of Scripture, Paul, and those who are with him, show and declare their love
for other believers. Paul was a Jew who ministered to a predominantly Gentile church. This,
however, did not hinder Paul’s love for them, nor did it impede his ability to take truth to
v1: We could no longer endure it: Paul is speaking about being in a situation where he could
no longer continue in the same way – it had reached the point where something had to be
done. Paul desperately wanted to know what was going on with those in Thessaloniki – how
they were physically, but more importantly where they were at spiritually (where they were
in their faith).
• Alone: In English this word is singular in its grammar and in its application. In
Hebrew and Greek, though, this word ‘alone’ is able to take on a plural form – which
it does here. Paul is not utterly by himself. He is not separated from other people in
Athens – there are other believers and other leaders there with him.
v2: (We) sent Timothy: Paul, and those with him in Athens, made a decision to send Timothy
to Thessaloniki to find out how this congregation was doing. They wanted to make sure that
this congregation was walking faithfully before G-d.
• (To) Strengthen: Synonyms for this word are: establish, rooted (grounded – firm
foundation). Paul wanted them to put their faith into action. Timothy was going
there with the purpose to strengthen and encourage this church.
v3: No one should be shaken by these afflictions (tribulations): Before the rapture (therefore
before Jacob’s trouble) an intense time of persecution of believers is going to happen. It has
already begun in many parts of the world but is going to get a lot worse.
• Tribulation (suffering, persecution) is a very heavy word theologically – especially
when dealing with the end times. Many Christians today don’t want to think about
tribulation so they say that the rapture will occur before this tribulation comes upon
this world. It is difficult to deal with Scripture verses like these if that is the view that
you hold. This word is written in the plural which speaks of abundant or massive
• We are appointed (positioned) to this – as Christians we are appointed to
v4: We told you before …that we would suffer tribulation – just as it happened: Tribulation
should not take us by surprise. We have been forewarned.
• You know: They (this Thessalonian church) were suffering. They were going through
persecution. They now knew it not only theoretically but also experientially. They
now know that when Paul had told them that they were going to experience
suffering he had spoken the truth to them. We need to realize that this is going to
be true for the last days too.
v5: For this reason: On account of their suffering, persecution and the great opposition
against them (reminder: which is what all believers are called to).
• I could no longer endure it: This is a repeat of 1 Thess 3:1. Paul couldn’t take it
anymore. He wanted to know how this congregation was doing – what their spiritual
condition was like, and how they were living out and demonstrating their faith.
• Sent to know your faith: They had testified and made a proclamation that they were
a congregation of believers. Paul wanted to know if this still held true for them. Was
their faith holding up to this growing opposition…not only in word but also in deed.
• The tempter: The enemy wants to tempt us and try to get us to do that which is not
right, that which is evil (against the will of G-d)
• Labour might be in vain: If the Thessalonians had fallen prey to the temptation to
“backslide” (turned aside due to the hardships, trials and temptations) then Paul is
saying that his work among them would have been for nothing. This was a concern
for Paul and that is why he desperately wanted to know how they were doing.

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