1 Thessalonians 3:1-9
1. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-9. For understanding these verses, refer back to Acts 17:13-16 and 18:5. Timothy and Silas brought back news about the church in Thessalonica. Paul was both excited and grateful for the good news which relieved his deep concern for them. Discuss his heartfelt concern.
2. How had Paul tried to prepare the Thessalonians while he was with them?
3. Why was Timothy sent back to them? Read also 2 Timothy 3:10-17.
Scriptural Insight: Often new believers, and even older believers, interpret difficulty as a sign that they need to change something. Timothy reminded them that persecution is a normal experience for the Christian (Matt. 5:11-12; 10:16-28; 20:22-23; 24:9-10), just as Paul had previously instructed them. (Constable’s Notes on 1 Thessalonians, p. 19)
4. What good news did Timothy bring to Paul?
5. How did this news encourage Paul’s minister’s heart?
6. Gaining Perspective: This letter reveals the heart of a minister. Paul lays bare his concern for the young Thessalonian believers even when he was away from them, actively planting new churches. Is there anyone to whom you are ministering long distance? How are you maintaining your heart’s concern for that person? In what ways are you able to continue ministering to her/him?
7. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-9. Read the following verses to explain what Paul means when he refers in verse 3 to believers being destined for trials/afflictions.
· John 15:18-25—
· Acts 9:15-16—
· Philippians 1:29-30—
· 2 Timothy 3:12—
8. What is to be a believer’s response to harsh treatment? Read Romans 12:14; 17-21. Also read Psalm 143.
9. Describe how one believer ministers to another who is undergoing trials or persecution. Think through Paul’s words in verses 6-7. See also 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 7:5-7.
10. Gaining Perspective: You may not be undergoing persecution or harsh treatment at the moment. Yet, as a member of the Body of Christ, you should hurt when another part of the Body is hurting. Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-27. Are you aware of other members of the Body who are being persecuted? How can you minister to someone else who is experiencing such treatment now? Review Paul’s purpose for sending Timothy back to Thessalonica. Does this give you any ideas?
11. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-9. Who is the tempter? Read Matthew 4:1-3.
12. In what ways might the tempter have tempted the Thessalonian believers so that Paul’s ministry to them would have been in vain? See also 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 17-18. If applicable, bring in your answer to last lesson’s Deeper Discoveries question.
13. Deeper Discoveries (optional): How does a believer overcome temptation from the tempter? Use your Bible’s cross-references and study notes. Write a short summary.
14. Why is it not necessary to face temptation alone? Read Hebrews 4:14-16.
15. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-9. Paul describes a feeling of really living (NIV) or being alive again (NET) in verse 8. What do you think he means? See also 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 and Philippians 2:1-2.
16. Gaining Perspective: Ministers are to share the gospel and make disciples of the new believers. Then, disciples are to grow in their faith and then make more disciples who can then make disciples. Where are you in the “growth” process? In what ways have you been challenged to become more than a disciple? More than a servant to even ministering to others? If you are involved in ministry already, how can you identify with Paul’s attitude?