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Lesson 7: Winning Respect of Outsiders (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Day One Study

1. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. What do you learn from verse 9 about love?

Focus on the Greek: “Brotherly love” translates philadelphia, a Greek word that outside the NT almost without exception denoted the mutual love of children of the same father. In the new Testament, it always means love of fellow believers in Christ, all of whom have the same heavenly Father.” (The NIV Study Bible, p. 1824)

2. What do the following verses reveal about being “taught by God?”

·         Isaiah 54:13—

·         John 6:45—

·         1 Corinthians 2:13—

3. Gaining Perspective: What is God teaching you about loving fellow believers?

Day Two Study

4. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. Read 1 Thessalonians 1 again. What did Paul know about the reputation of this body of believers?

5. In vv. 11-12, what further instruction is Paul giving to the Thessalonian church?

6. Define the term “ambition” (NIV) or “to aspire” (NET).

7. From 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, what is acceptable ambition for a believer? See also Ephesians 4:28

8. What do you think “to lead a quiet life” means? Describe it.

Focus on the Meaning: The word translated “quiet” means quiet in the sense of restfulness rather than quiet as opposed to talkativenessPaul was telling the Thessalonians to be less frantic, not less exuberant. A person who is constantly on the move is frequently a bother to other people as well as somewhat distracted from his own walk with God…Such quietude constitutes a practical demonstration of love for others.” It is also used in 2 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Timothy 2:2-3; and 1 Peter 3:4. (Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 703)

9. What is the value of leading this kind of life?

10. How do we achieve a quiet life? Where does it start?

11. Gaining Perspective: If you are always tired and your life is hectic, what should you do to evaluate your personal “ambition” for your days? How do you influence your children or husband away from living a “quiet life?” Talk to God about this and ask Him to work in your heart first. Then, ask Him to direct you and your family.

Day Three Study

12. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. Discuss what it means to mind or attend to your own business. What is your own business?

13. How would minding your own business demonstrate brotherly love for other believers?

14. What would be the opposite of minding your own business?

15. Gaining Perspective: Are you tempted to meddle in other people’s lives? If so, do you recognize this as a distraction from your own walk with God as well as theirs?

Day Four Study

16. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. In Paul’s culture, what do you think “work with your hands” means?

17. What would be the equivalent in today’s culture?

18. How would doing this demonstrate love for and benefit other believers? See verse 12, 1 Timothy 5:10 and Ephesians 4:28.

Historical Insight: The Greeks in general thought manual labor degrading and fit only for slaves. Christians took seriously the need for earning their own living, but some of the Thessalonians, perhaps as a result of their belief in the imminent return of Christ, were neglecting work and relying on others to support them. (NIV Study Bible, p. 1824)

The Greeks deplored manual labor and relegated it to slaves as much as possible. But the Jews held it in esteem; every Jewish boy was taught a trade regardless of his family’s wealth. Work itself is a blessing, and working with one’s hands should never be despised by Christians.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 703)

19. How had Paul modeled this “working” for them? See 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

20. Gaining Perspective: How do you work with your hands to demonstrate love for and benefit others? Feel free to use any creative means (poem, song, drawing, craft) to describe this.

21. Looking at verse 12, why is it important to win the respect of outsiders (non-believers)?

22. Gaining Perspective: In what ways do you feel that you are leading a life that wins the respect of non-believers? Have non-believers noticed your lifestyle and were attracted to it? Were you able to share the gospel with someone who noticed you lived to please God with your life?

Think About It: “…it was not Paul’s intent that the church disrupt society or overthrow governments. Rather, he encouraged Christians to be good citizens and exemplary members of their families and of their society but to do so in a manner consistent with the teachings of Christ. Only in this sense was the Pauline gospel intended to change society. It set out to change the individuals who made up society while awaiting that climactic event when the power of God would truly change the world forever.” (D. Michael Martin, 1, 2 Thessalonians. The New American Commentary series, p. 138)

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