1 Thessalonians 3 Study Notes


3:1-2 Sent from Athens to help the Thessalonian church, Timothy could help these believers grow in the faith but would not be as conspicuous as Paul or Silas. They were the prominent members of the missionary team and were well known by the hostile Jews and city officials.

3:3-4 Christians should not be shaken by persecution, because Paul stated we are appointed to this in God’s plan. Jesus taught his disciples that if people persecuted him, they as his followers would be persecuted as well (Jn 15:20). In Paul’s case the persecution kept him moving from city to city. As a result many cities were able to hear the gospel from Paul’s mouth. This would not have happened had Paul been warmly received among the Jews. Hence God allowed persecution to serve as a means of accomplishing his will.

3:5 For this reason refers back to the persecution of the Thessalonians mentioned in v. 4. Tempter is another reference to Satan as one who entices people to sin (Mt 4:1-11).

3:6-9 While v. 8 is hyperbole, it expresses strongly the nature of Paul’s emotional connection to his converts. His very life depends on their perseverance in the faith.

3:10-13 Paul was praying to see the Thessalonian believers in person in order to complete what was lacking in their faith. Since the missionaries had to leave so suddenly (2:17-18), they did not complete their instruction of the Thessalonians in their new faith. Thus some elements and teaching were lacking—especially concerning Jesus’s resurrection and the second coming (4:13-18). Since Paul was not able to personally return, he used this letter to address those mat-ters (4:1-5:22). The prayer’s request that the church overflow with love for one another and be blameless in holiness is addressed in detail in the following two paragraphs (4:1-8,9-12).