5. Perfecting Faith (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Day One Study
1. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. Reviewing from the last lesson, what was Paul’s primary concern regarding the Thessalonians?
2. Why did Paul want to return to Thessalonica?
3. What is faith? First, define it in your own words. Then, compose a biblical definition. See Hebrews 11:1 plus other verses you find using cross-references or a concordance.
4. Read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11—a fabulous study of faith. How does God describe those who have lived by faith in Him?
From the Greek: The Greek word pistis translated “faith” means “a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing.” It involves trust and trustworthiness, assurance. Biblical faith is a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth followed by a personal surrender to Him. (Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 222)
Day Two Study
5. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. Why do you think the condition of the Thessalonians’ faith was so important to Paul? Read also Hebrews 11:6 and Ephesians 6:16.
6. How do you think Paul intends to supply what is lacking in their faith? See Romans 10:17.
7. From these verses, who is able to perfect the faith of anyone? Read also Philippians 1:6 and Hebrews 12:1-3.
8. Gaining Perspective: Have you ever felt, or perhaps you now feel, that your faith is lacking something? What practical steps can you take to change the situation? Remember, though, it is not the size of your faith that counts but the object of your faith.
Day Three Study
9. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13. Paul’s work of evangelism had been effective. Paul could have been “puffed up” by success. Why do you think he was able to remain humble about his tremendously effective evangelistic work?
10. Gaining Perspective: God may be using you in ministry. How do you keep from getting “puffed up” about your work, particularly if it seems to be effective? What counsel would you give to someone who has an attitude of self-importance regarding her/his ministry?
11. In 2:17-18 and 3:10-11, Paul expresses his longing (literally “passionate, intense longing”) to be with the new church again. What is Paul asking God to do?
12. How do you know Paul was willing to wait for the Lord’s timing?
13. Gaining Perspective: When you desperately want something that seems out of your reach, what is your typical reaction? Do you ever allow God to “clear the way” for you in His own perfect timing? Explain your answer. See also 1 Peter 5:6 and Philippians 4:6.
Day Four Study
14. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. In 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, Paul prays a beautiful, heartfelt prayer for the new church at Thessalonica. For what does he specifically pray?
Scriptural Insight: It is evident from Paul’s writings that a very large part of his private life was occupied in prayer and thanksgiving. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 699)
15. Regarding love, what do you think he means by “increase and overflow/abound?” Read 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:7-12.
Think About It: This kind of love was described by the late author, Francis Schaeffer, as “the mark of the Christian.”
16. If God is strengthening our hearts in holiness, how should this look in our daily lives?
17. Gaining Perspective: Paul’s prayer is also a powerful example of how we ought to pray for one another. Pray as Paul did in these verses for your family, friends, and church today and as often as God brings it to your mind.