1 Thessalonians

I just started the book of 1 Thessalonians (and I say one-Thessalonians, not first-Thessalonians… if you were wondering) in my see-how-long-it-takes-me-to-read-the-Bible plan. So far it’s taken two and a half years. Although I’ll be quoting snippets of the chapter and pulling from Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary as I dissect the passage, I encourage you to read it yourself. It’ll bless and challenge you! Also, 1) I’m sorry about the strange lines that appear every time I copy and paste from Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and 2) I am not intending to put Matthew Henry on a pedestal by consistently quoting him, but I believe that the Lord gifted him with insight, which is why I want to relay this information to you!

Verse 2:

The apostles “always thank[ed] God” for their brothers and sisters in Christ; they “mention[ed]” them in their prayers. This is encouragement to constantly pray for our friends, our enemies, and people we don’t know. Let’s carry each others’ burdens.

“And thanksgiving to God is a great duty, to be performed always or constantly; even when we do not actually give thanks to God by our words, we should have a grateful sense of God’s goodness upon our minds. Thanksgiving should be often repeated; and not only should we be thankful for the favours we ourselves receive, but for the benefits bestowed on others also, upon our fellow-creatures and fellow-christians” (Matthew Henry’s Whole Bible Commentary). 

Verse 3:

Paul/Silas/Timothy thanked the Lord for the Thessalonians’:

  • “Work produced by faith” (Their faith was living, true, and had such an influence on their hearts and lives that they produced a working faith)
  • “Labour prompted by love” (“Faith works by love; it shows itself in the exercise of love to God and love to our neighbour” – Matthew Henry)
  • “Endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ” (“We are saved by hope. This grace is compared to the soldier’s helmet and sailor’s anchor, and is of great use in times of danger. Wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, it will appear by the exercise of patience; in a patient bearing of the calamities of the present time and a patient waiting for the glory to be revealed” – Matthew Henry)

Take note that Paul speaks about the three graces: faith, hope, and love! Each of these are sincere when acted out for the Lord, in His sight alone. Henry beautifully describes the Lord as the “fountain whence these graces flow.”

 Verse 4:

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that God chose them. Here we get into Election (Click here to read last week’s blog post about it). He calls them “brothers loved by God” because election is “the original of the brotherhood that is between Christians and the relation wherein they stand to one another”, as defined by Henry.

And it is a good reason why we should love one another, because we are all beloved of God, and were beloved of him in his counsels when there was not anything in us to merit his love” – Henry.

Verse 5:

Paul explains that they are chosen because the gospel came to them:

  • not simply with words
  • with power
  • with the Holy Spirit
  • with deep conviction

Paul also knew that they were chosen because fruit (not apples and bananas, but sincere faith, hope, and love) was evident in their daily walk with God. Henry offers some thoughts on the topic of election: “The election of God is of His own good pleasure and mere grace” and “The election of God may be known by the fruits thereof”, referencing faith, hope, and love.

I’m going to stop here for today. I may pick back up again tomorrow. Think on it, ponder it. Hold this passage up to your life. I’m doing just the same!

Happy Wednesday, bloggers!