God’s Saving Word: Encouragement
1 Thessalonians 2:1-16: Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his work and ministry in bringing them the Good News from God (see Acts 17:1-9). Some in the community had made trouble for him and his co-workers (Acts 17:5), and the reading concludes with a reference to Paul’s opponents who have been trying to prevent Paul and his companions from preaching to the Gentiles.
Paul’s Work in Thessalonica
2 Our friends, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure. 2 You know how we had already been mistreated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him. 3 Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone. 4 Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives. 5 You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed—God is our witness! 6 We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others, 7 even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother[a] taking care of her children. 8 Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us! 9 Surely you remember, our friends, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God.
10 You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11 You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children. 12 We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.
13 And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God’s message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe. 14 Our friends, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! 16 They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God’s anger has at last come down on them!
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 2:13b
God is at work in you who believe.
How does Paul describe his work and ministry among the Thessalonians (verses 3-12)? According to verse 13, what reason does Paul give for giving thanks to God? Reread verses 14-16. What does Paul say about those who tried to stop him and his companions from preaching to the Gentiles? If you were to encounter someone who displayed hostility toward the message of God’s salvation, how would you respond?
Loving God, teach me each day to live the kind of life that pleases you. Daily will I praise your holy name as I give thanks for your steadfast love and salvation. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:17—3:13: The apostle Paul desires to visit the Thessalonians again.