Summary: A discussion based exposition of 1 Thess. 1:1
1 Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul’s Greeting to the Thessalonian Church
Series: 1 Thessalonians
NOTE 1: This is the first lesson of an extended Bible study of the book of 1 Thessalonians. Each lesson includes discussion questions. Some are open ended questions which require not guidance or correction designed to just get the participants thinking. Some offer suggested possible answers to make sure they are included in the discussion, or correct answers for questions that have only right or wrong answers. Most lessons extend over more than one week; some several weeks if the discussion is good.
NOTE 2: A student’s study sheet is available upon request by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 – “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.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 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. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. ”
1 Thessalonians 1:7 says “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” The word ensamples is the Greek word tupos, which literally means “an impression; the mark of a blow; the impression of a seal; the stamp made by a die.” Paul was not just saying that the church of Thessalonica had been GOOD EXAMPLES, though that will become obvious as we work our way through 1 Thessalonians. He was saying that they had made a GREAT IMPACT, or they had made a TREMENDOUS IMPRESSION, upon all the believers throughout the regions of Macedonia and Achaia. That would be like saying that our church had been so influential in Bavaria that we made an indelible impression upon all the believers in the Germany.
Now, there are essentially two basic types of churches: The church nobody ever hears about, cares about or really cares to go to. The second is the church that folks hear about (in a positive way!). – In this kind of church, godly people want to visit and join it and godless people hate or oppose it. Over the next few weeks we’ll examine the model Thessalonian church and see what were the characteristics that made it a model church.
But first we have to start at the beginning— Since 1 Thessalonians is a letter, Paul begins with a greeting.
We normally pass right over a greeting and get right into the meat of a letter. But there are exceptions. For instance, if you received a letter that begins like this: “My Dearest Sweetheart, I am writing because my heart longs to be in your sweet embrace again…”—you would sit up and take notice of that, wouldn’t you? If a letter’s greeting is full of particular special significance, you would give it more attention than a letter that simply begins, “Dear David, How’s it going? We’re doing fine as usual. Had nothing better to do, so I thought I would write…”
All Paul’s greetings are special and worthy of close examination, and Paul’s greeting in 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 is no exception. Verses 2-3 set the stage for Paul’s commendation of the church of Thessalonica, which we’ll save for a later lesson. But verse 1 is so full of great doctrinal truths that we would be foolish to pass over it too quickly. So let’s look at the first part of Paul’s greeting in verse 1 and see what God has stored for us there in His treasure chest of truths.