4: Longing and Joy (1Thess 2:17-3:13)
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.
“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).
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
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.
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?
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?
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”?
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?
16. With lessons
you have drawn from this passage, how can you minister to brothers and sisters
you know who are far away?