(1 Thessalonians 1:1) Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
They heard the words of the gospel and experienced its power. Certainly the gospel has the power to affect people's hearts and move their minds. Paul refers to the character and holy lifestyles of himself and the others with him. Perhaps it was thought in the culture of the day that living in holiness was impossible and required a miraculous intervention of God.
The gospel came to them in assurance and deep conviction. In other words, Paul truly believed it and communicated this conviction to them. He probably mentioned his being taken to the third heaven to be instructed by Jesus himself; surely that would have impressed them. The apostles were regularly healing people so it is likely this is also what is meant by the power of the Holy Spirit. But something in the souls of those hearers of Paul was moved enough to cause them to change their lives and give them over to Jesus — but this is what occurs for every believer, even without miracles.
(1 Thessalonians 1:8) For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
(1 Thessalonians 2:2) But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
It seems to me that the words "clean" and "unclean" are commonly misunderstood.
Paul considers the behavior of Church leaders to be supremely important. I take it even one step further; Church leaders who are not holy and orthodox and qualified to lead the flock should be rejected — they are not Church leaders at all.Just as Hitler was not truly the leader of the German people but a tyrant and usurper, so also, unholy bishops and popes throughout Church history were not Church leaders. We should reject them as teachers and defenders of the faith. They may have had powerful roles in the political history of the world but they were not Church leaders. This is the area in which the Catholic system implodes as the modern Catholic Church must insist that such as these were infallible teachers and defenders of the faith and that they passed-on the faith to subsequent generations.
The apostles ordained bishops to be the next generation of Church leaders but they simply did not have in mind that the kind of leaders that would lead the Church in subsequent generations would be considered as valid Church leaders.
Paul fully understands that those he preaches to will judge whether or not he is qualified by his behavior; and they are justified in rejecting his message if he is not qualified. Why, then, today are we so accepting of unqualified Church leaders? They have ruined the Church. These are people who were torturing Christians and burning them at the stake, who allowed pervert priests to rape children, who milked the flock for money so they could fulfill their dreams of having glorious Church buildings, who enslaved whole populations, and treated Christians like animals and without human dignity in uncountable ways. And what about modern pastors who teach false doctrines and work their all-volunteer staff to the bone?
(1 Thessalonians 2:13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Paul is pleased that the people understood his preaching and teaching to be infallible.Some object to calling anything infallible, but what good is teaching if it is not true and if we cannot be certain it is true? That apostolic teaching is infallible is a cornerstone of Christianity. Notice that the spoken word which the people heard when listening to the apostles preach and teach is the word of God. At that time there was no Bibleas the final authority for Christian faith; it was apostolic teaching which was the authority. It is just as true today as it was then that apostolic teaching is the final authority for Christian faith. Thus, the doctrine of Sola Scripturais false.
Paul mentions that he prays without ceasing and thanks God without ceasing. In this verse he refers to others with him who also thank God without ceasing. It is possible to breathe without ceasing or to be alive without ceasing, but how is it possible to do anything else without ceasing? Surely he must mean to say that he prays and thanks God often throughout the day and night.
God's word effects change in the hearts of people; it works in them. God's wordis living and so it effects change just as all living beings change the world around them, whether it be in the physical world or the spiritual world. In the very act of moving our bodies we change the physical world around us. In the spiritual realm our soulsinteract with other spirit beings and change them as our ideas, desires, will, feelings, etc. impinge upon them; they must react to our soul's motions.
(1 Thessalonians 2:14) For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
(1 Thessalonians 3:6) But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
(1 Thessalonians 4:1) Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
The sequence of events...
Since they are waiting for Christ's coming, this implies that he comes at their death; that everyone encounters Christ at death and they are received into the kingdom of heaven at that time.It doesn't make sense for them to be exhorted to wait for Christ's coming if it occurs thousands (millions?) of years after they have died.
Paul uses light and darkness as metaphors for truth and error, or, God's kingdoms vs Satan's kingdom, playing off of the phrase "day of the Lord".But he then mixes up the metaphor with the real image;this is common in Paul's writings.
I doubt if Paul is using the word "sober" to mean only not drunk and not prone to excessive use of alcohol. But in the next verse he clearly refers to drunkenness. This is why it is hard to understand Paul's writings:he has a confusing writing style. We have to know ahead of time what he means so we can interpret it properly.
Here Paul has abandoned the metaphor of day and night.He merely comments on activities people perform at night. We must be careful not to declare all things humans do at night as sinful and wicked: only metaphorical sleep (ignorance) and actual drunkenness are bad.
These two verses seem to be addressed to the congregation at large regarding their leaders (elders and deacons?) These leaders are to be respected and esteemed because they have charge over them and work on their behalf.
The congregation at large is to be at peace and unity. Certainly this also applies to the leaders.
The role of Church leaders is to keep the peace and to correct those who are not living up to the demands of a Christian life.
I can't imagine attending a Church in which the elders admonish the members. I have seen Churches like this and they seemed very cult-like. Perhaps Paul is merely referring to generic instruction and correction in sermons, as well as disciplining in extreme cases of unruliness.
This seems to be written to the leaders (elders?) instructing them how to deal with certain kinds of Christians in the congregation. There is a familiarity expressed here which I've never seen in any Church I've been to. To have this kind of fellowship requires that the leaders are very involved with their congregations, much as we would see in a house church.I believe one problem with the early Church is that the leaders became too distant from their congregations as they became involved with politics.
Verses 13 and 14 begin exactly the same way, but the audience is clearly different. Perhaps Paul does this on purpose so he can call both groups brethren.
I wonder how it is possible to give thanks for bad things that happen? The answer is that if we see things the way God sees them, and if we see the ultimate outcome (the new heavens and new earth),we can thank God for everything. Certainly it is easy to give thanks to God for the really great things that happen; and we should remember to do this. But during a catastrophe...? Perhaps Paul is not referring to these kinds of events. Perhaps the proper thing to do then is to cry out to God in our pain and anguish.
Should we thank God that Lucifer rebelled against God and tempted Eve, resulting in eternal damnation for those who reject God's grace of redemption? Should we thank God that the Nazis murdered millions of people? No matter what happens we at least have to thank God that he is God, and to trust his plan and purpose. It is easy to intellectually say that everything is for the good, but it is hard to justify this idea in the face of personal tragedy. Sometimes we must force our will to trust God and his goodness — and call out to him when we can't.
The early Church rather quickly stopped having prophets and became based on rules and rites. I guess Paul's warnings weren't heeded by the early Church, probably because they were too busy gaining political power and fighting with each other about who would rule which city, and about doctrines.
This verse clearly defines when the coming of Christ occurs: it occurs at death. (Christ also comes at his second coming, but that is not what is spoken of here.) Notice that the body is preserved until Christ comes. Since the body does not survive after death, Paul is speaking of death. This means we should each one of use expect to encounter Jesus Christ at death.This is so obvious from this verse I'm surprised no one else noticed it.
This verse mentions body, soul, and spirit. Some make much of the reference to both soul and spirit. Throughout church history there have been those who claimed the soul dies along with the body and only the spirit survives death. But since the spirit is given only to believers when they receive salvation, this implies that non-believers are annihilated at death. There are other views about this — many Charismatics think it to be supremely important that we make this distinction between soul and spirit. But there are passages that indicate there are only two aspects to human life: physical (the body) and spiritual (soul, spirit, intellect, will, emotion, etc.)
This verse teaches we can lose our salvation. The audience of this verse is believers, but it is possible that not all will remain blameless; some will lose their salvation and be worthy of blame and condemnation.
God is a God of peace. When we are angry or unruly, we are not at peace. Why should we not be at peace when God is a God of peace? Sadly, some pastors teach that righteous anger is a virtue; I think they do this to justify their addiction to anger and rage.
Paul is again speaking to the leaders, asking them to read this letter to the congregation. Presumably, letters such as this were delivered by a messenger to the leaders of the Churches (not to the congregation at large). Paul seems to be worried that these Church leaders might think the letter was just for them, but it was also for the whole community.
Unless they made a copy of this letter, they would only be able to read it publicly one time. I suppose they would do whatever they could to detain the messenger who delivered the letter to stay while they made a copy.
King James Version