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 (Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus)
5. Living to Please God (1Thess 4:1-12)
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5: Living to Please God (1Thess 4:1-12)

I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

In the first half of the epistle, Paul wrote mainly about his past ministry to the Thessalonians, both in presence or in absence. But he feels that recounting the past and expressing his affection for the believers is not enough (thus the words “finally then…” in 4:1). He now devotes the rest of the epistle to giving specific instructions about the various aspects of Christian living and urging them to live in a manner in accord with the expectation of the Lord’s return.

B.     Key Verse

            “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God” (4:1).

C.     Did You Know…?

1. “Sexual immorality” (4:3) “In the first century moral standards were generally very low, and chastity was regarded as an unreasonable restriction.”

Sexual sins, including adultery, homosexuality, and prostitution, were rampant in ancient Rome. “Adultery was so common as to attract little attention…, and practically every well-to-do woman had at least one divorce.”

2. “Brotherly love” (4:9): Translates philadelphia, a Greek word that outside the NT almost without exception denoted the mutual love of children of the same father.

3. “Work with your own hands” (4:11): The Greeks in general thought manual labor degrading and fit only for slaves. Christians took seriously the need for earning their own living, but some of the Thessalonians, perhaps as a result of their belief in the imminent return of Christ (see 2Th 3:11), were neglecting work and relying on others to support them.

II.    Observation

A.     Outline




B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1.       How do the last verses of chapter 3 lead into the present passage?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     4:1-2

1. Paul writes, “We urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus….” What does this indicate about the nature of Paul’s instructions in this passage?

2a. “You should abound more and more.” What does Paul ask the believers to do more and more?

2b. What does the command to “abound more and more” tell us about the right attitude toward Christian growth?

B.     4:3-8

3. What will of God is stated specifically in this paragraph?

4. What is the meaning of “sanctification”?

5. How does abstaining from sexual immorality relate to loving others?

6. What is the most important reason for abstaining from sexual immorality?

7. Why do you think Paul mentions in verse 8 that God has given us the Holy Spirit?

C.     4:9-12

8. What is the extent of the love of the Thessalonians?

9. What is Paul asking them to do concerning love?

10. In what areas of your life can you increase your love more and more? Set some concrete goals.

11. What kind of “quiet life” should Christians lead? Why is such a life necessary?

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