First Thessalonians is a fantastic letter to study in a small group or with a fellow believer.
- It is an encouraging letter – It is full of deep love and fatherly affection and intense longing. Paul has been unwillingly separated from the Thessalonians and he has been desperately concerned to hear how they are going spiritually – now he hears from Timothy that they are standing strong in faith, love and hope, enduring trials and he is overjoyed almost beyond words. Now he writes with great warmth to reassure and encourage them in the gospel – to keep going in the good path ‘more and more.’
- It is an eschatological letter – The key to Paul’s encouragement to the Thessalonians is future hope – the End (eschaton) – the last day – the coming of Jesus. Every chapter (though the chapter divisions are not original to Paul) reminds us this great future hope. The whole letter is dripping with expectation of the coming of Christ.
- It is an exemplary letter – The letter divides roughly in two halves. The first three chapters are full of reminders of what happened in Thessalonica at the beginning – both a) how the Thessalonians received the gospel and changed their lives and b) how Paul and his team preached the gospel and conducted themselves among them. This was an exemplary start – a great pattern of genuine conversion, genuine Christian ministry and genuine Christian living. The second half of the letter (chapters 4 and 5) encourages the Thessalonians to continue as they started, to follow Paul and Silas’ example, to grow in that good pattern.
- It is an evangel letter – This is a letter full of the gospel (evangel) – the Son of God, raised from the dead, who rescues us from the coming wrath; Jesus who died for us that we would not receive wrath but eternal salvation. This is the heart of the encouragement of the letter. This is what makes the Last Day a wonderful expectation and not a fearsome prospect. This is what drives the exemplary pattern of Christian living. The gospel is not just the first step in the Christian life – it is (as Tim Keller puts it) the A to Z of the Christian walk. It impacts and redefines and energises every area of life: work, relationships, sexuality, death, ambition, affections. It shapes how we ‘do’ church and the methods and motivations of gospel ministry. This is faith that works, love that labours, hope that perseveres. This is a gospel that changes everything.
Like the other titles in the Watumishi wa Yesu Bible study guide series the emphasis is on simple but deep questions (in English) that get us all digging into God’s Word, seeing wonderful things and feeling their transformative power.
Why not order a bunch of copies for your church?
200 KES each for 1-9 copies
160 KES each for 10-50 copies
120 KES each for 50-99 copies
100 KES each for 100+ copies