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1 Thessalonians

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©Michael Player

Chapter 1:4-10 (ESV)

Posted on April 23, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 1:4-10 (ESV) - For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Question to consider: In what way were the Thessalonians an example to the other churches?

Even though Paul began preaching in the synagogue in Thessalonica, the church was mostly made up of Gentiles. In the church today we tend to assume everyone is a Gentile and that those of Hebrew descent are outside of the church. I think it is important to have the mindset of a first century Thessalonian when we read this letter in order to fully experience the impact of Paul’s message. The word of the gospel is described by Paul in his letter to the Romans as "the power of God unto salvation." The Holy Spirit convicts the heart concerning sin and judgment and then uses the gospel message to transform the heart of the believer. In this case, the Thessalonians were convicted of their idol worship, and had turned from them to serve the living and true God.

Paul was a Jew writing to mostly Gentiles in a church he established but only knew briefly. He had not been back to Thessalonica for three years, and yet he referred to them as his brothers who were loved by God and chosen by Him. I can’t imagine the persecution they had to endure after the mob realized that Jason had let Paul, Timothy and Silas escape, but these simple words of affection and affirmation had to have been a tremendous encouragement to them.

We have a tendency to complain when we experience affliction, but Paul noted that they were an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia because they endured their afflictions with the joy of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Paul said they were known throughout the churches for their faith in the risen Christ.

While it was good that they had faith that Christ would return to deliver them from the wrath to come, Paul’s ultimate purpose for writing the letter was to teach them what it means to serve the living God while we wait for Christ’s return.


Dear heavenly Father, we know that You are in control of all things and that our afflictions are allowed for our growth in Christ and for Your glory. Help us to face them with joy through Your Holy Spirit. Amen.