the weblog of Alan Knox

Thessalonians

Posted by on Sep 7, 2006 in scripture | 3 comments

Recently I have been reading some of Paul’s letters in their entirety. Last night, I read 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I have been surprised at some of the things that I have noticed in the text because of reading the entire letters instead of reading small parts at a time. For example, in 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Paul continually reminded the believers in Thessalonica of their connection with other believers:

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. (1 Thess 1:6-8)

For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans… (1 Thess 2:14)

But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you — even I, Paul, time and again — but Satan hindered us. (1 Thess 2:17-18)

Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you — therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. (1 Thess 3:1-7)

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more… (1 Thess 4:9-10)

I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. (1 Thess 5:27)


3 Comments

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  1. 9-8-2006

    I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. (1 Thess 5:27)

    You left off the end of that verse. It’s supposed to read:

    I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren in very small bits and pieces, mulling over each individual word with its voice, tense, and mood, even if it takes three years to get through the whole letter! ;)

    Seriously, I have also discovered the joy of reading through letters in the NT in their entirety. It’s a great concept, and I’m surprised more people don’t do it!

    Keep up the edifying blogging, Alan. You’re a blessing, brother!

    steve :)

  2. 9-8-2006

    Hehe… Steve :)

    Yeah, I’ve become a big fan of reading the letters/smaller books in entirety… especially doing the same one over and over again throughout a few weeks.

    -Lew

  3. 9-10-2006

    When I have led small group studies in the past, over a particular epistle of the NT, I would require those in my group to read the whole epistle through before focusing on a particular chapter. I thought that this practice would help them better retain the context and spirit of the letter while combing through the more specific applications of each sentence.

    Although I understand where such people are coming from intellectually, I still am a bit irritated when many pastors and students completely disregard anything less than intense expository preaching. The contents of these letters were written to address common people with common problems. Certainly there is a cultural and historical disconnect, but it is not as wide a canyon as some would make it out to be.

    Alan, thanks for stressing the relational side of these letters. You know how I feel about that.