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 (Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus)
4. Longing and Joy (1Thess 2:17-3:13)
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4: Longing and Joy (1Thess 2:17-3:13)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica ended abruptly when the unbelieving Jews instigated the people of the city against the missionaries. Because of this strong opposition, the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night (Acts 17:5-10). Since the church in Thessalonica was a very young church, Paul was intensely concerned for the believers and longed to return to them. In this passage, he relates his earnest desire to see the believers and the exceeding joy after hearing the good news about them.

B.     Key Verse

            “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (2:19).

C.     Did You Know…?

1. “Taken away” (2:17) literally means “orphaned.”

2. “Crown” (2:19): “Not a royal crown, but a wreath used on festive occasions or as the prize in the Greek games.”6/1824

3. “Coming” (2:19; 3:13): “Here the noun is parousia, which in extrabiblical Greek sometimes meant a ruler’s visit to a certain place. Parousia comes from two words: ‘to be’ and and ‘present.’ It may point to the moment of arrival to initiate a visit or it may focus on the stay initiated by the arrival.” 5vol11/262

4. “Left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy” (3:1): Because of the persecution in Berea, the brethren there sent Paul to Athens while Silas and Timothy stayed behind (Acts 17:13-15). After Silas and Timothy joined Paul again in Athens, Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to strengthen the church there.

5. “Establish” (3:2): “In Greek classical literature the word was generally used in the literal sense of putting a buttress on a building. In the NT it is mainly used figuratively, as here.” 6/1824

6. “I” (3:5): “Paul uses the Greek emphatic pronoun (elsewhere used only in 2:18) to bring out his deep concern.” 6/1825

7. “Exceedingly” (3:10): “Translates a strong and unusual Greek compound word (found elsewhere in the NT only in 5:13; Eph 3:20) that brings out Paul’s passionate longing.” 6/1825

II.    Observation

A.     Outline





B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. How does the last paragraph (3:11-13) relate to the first paragraph (2:17-19)?

2a. What is the tone of this passage?

2b. Record the many strong words that contribute to the tone.

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     2:17-20

1. According to Paul, what was one thing that his physical separation from the believers cannot take away? Why?

2a. What does Paul mean when he says that the believers are his hope, joy, crown of rejoicing, and glory?

2b. What is your hope and joy in life? How does it compare with that of Paul?

B.     3:1-5

3. Why was Paul so eager to see the Thessalonians?

4. What was Timothy’s mission?

5. How should we love the brethren who are in afflictions? Why is such love so important?

6. Why does Paul repeatedly remind the believers that they are appointed to afflictions?

7. What kind of temptations may Paul have in mind in verse 5?

8. “Lest…our labors might be in vain.” What does this remind us about our ministry?

C.     3:6-10

9a. What good news did Timothy bring back to Paul?

9b. How did Paul react to the good news?

10. What does Paul mean by “now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord”?

11a. What does Paul thank God for in his prayer?

11b. In terms of our service, what lesson can we learn from Paul’s thanksgiving?

12a. What does he ask God for in his prayer?

12b. What was the manner of his prayer?

13. What does he mean by “perfect what is lacking in your faith”?

D.     3:11-13

14. What are Paul’s wishes and prayers in this paragraph?

15. What can you learn from Paul’s prayer about the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives?

E.     Final Thoughts

16. With lessons you have drawn from this passage, how can you minister to brothers and sisters you know who are far away?

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