1 Thessalonians

By Leslie M. Grant

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV

First Thessalonians – the city name being Thessalonica, meaning “victory over that which is false” – is by date the first of Paul’s epistles. It is full of freshness, energy and warmth. Pastoral in its character, it is addressed “to the church of the Thessalonians,” thus exemplifying true shepherd care. This care was not only of individuals, but it was also toward the assembly of God. The local assembly, formed during a brief visit to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-4) amid circumstances of bitter persecution, had become a model to the others because of their godly energy of faith in sounding out the Word of God (1 Th. 1:7-8). Faith, love and hope are beautifully seen throughout this book and the second epistle as well.

The coming of the Lord is a prominent subject. It is:

  • Seen as deliverance from the coming wrath of tribulation (1:10),
  • Connected with the joy of Paul seeing his own converts in the glory above (2:19),
  • Has in view the confirming of saints blameless in holiness (3:13),
  • A precious prospect to give present comfort to those in sorrow (4:15-18), and
  • Seen as an ultimate total sanctification, or setting apart, of spirit, soul and body (5:23).

The above verse, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, shows the reason for the devoted energy of the Thessalonians. The Word of God was real to them. It was God who had spoken: they accepted that Word as such. It is by this that true results are produced. The book thus is most encouraging and stimulating!