God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.



© Rosemary Bardsley 2023


Although the letter is from Paul, he includes his two associates as the senders of the letter.

Paul, who used to be called ‘Saul’, was formerly a strict Pharisee who hated the name of Jesus and did his utmost to wipe out the name of Jesus, and the message of Jesus, by arresting Christians and having them imprisoned. We first read of him in Acts 7:58 where those stoning Stephen to death laid their clothes at Saul’s feet as he stood by observing and approving what they were doing (Acts 8:1). The next we read of him is in Acts 9, where, as he journeyed to Damascus with authority to arrest and imprison Christians, the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ met him on the way. From this point on Saul was a changed man. His whole mindset and beliefs were radically altered.

Read these verses in Acts 9. What do they reveal about Paul’s change from a person who hated Christ into one who acknowledged Christ?
Verse 15, 16:

Verse 22:

Verse 27, 28:

Paul’s life and mission as a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ are reported from Acts 13 to Acts 28, including his brief mission in Thessalonica in Acts 17. He refers to his meeting with Christ on the Damascus road in Acts 22:1 – 21 and 26:9 – 23, and in Galatians 1:11 – 24, and to the many things he suffered as a missionary/apostle in 2Corinthians 11:16 – 12:10.

Silas (sometimes referred to as ‘Silvanus’) in the KJV, is first mentioned in Acts 15:22, where he is appointed (along with Judas, also known as Barsabbas) as an envoy to take a letter from the Council of Jerusalem to the Gentile Christians in Antioch. These two men are called ‘leaders among the brothers’ and ‘prophets’ (Acts 15:32). Their task was not only to carry the letter, but to ‘confirm by word of mouth’ what was in the letter (15:27). Having arrived in Antioch, they ‘said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers’ (15:32). [Some old manuscripts state that Silas decided to stay in Antioch – verse 34.] At that time Antioch was Paul’s home base. When a dispute arose between Paul and Barnabas, Paul’s previous co-worker, Paul decided to take Silas with him on his next mission trip (15:39, 40). It was on this trip that his ministry in Thessalonica occurred.

Timothy, was a young Christian man whose mother was a Christian Jewess, and whose father was a Greek. When Paul and Silas visited the church in Lystra, Paul wanted to take Timothy on the mission trip. In order not the offend the Jews to whom they preached, he circumcised Timothy. Some time later Paul left Timothy to oversee the church in Ephesus. While he was in that position, Paul wrote him the letters we know as 1 & 2 Timothy, giving him advice about his life and role in that position. At some point he was imprisoned (Hebrews 13:23).

Read these verses. What do they reveal about Timothy?
Romans 16:21

1Corinthians 4:17

1Corinthians 16:10

2Corinthians 1:1

2Corinthians 1:19

Philippians 1:1

1Timothy 1:2; 1:18; 2Timothy 1:2

This is the person whom Paul sent back to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage them in the faith in the midst of their trials, when he himself could neither stay with them nor go back to them to do that himself – 1Thessalonians 3:2,3. Timothy then came back with his positive report, but also with some issues that Paul answered and addressed in this letter.

The church of the Thessalonians
Paul describes the church as ‘in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’. This brief description highlights three significant truths: (1) the God in whom the Thessalonian church believes in contrast to the idols they once worshipped; (2) the trinitarian nature of God – mentioning God as ‘the Father’, and also referring to Jesus Christ as ‘Lord’; (3) the truth that all who believe in Christ are related to both God the Father and Christ the Son in an intimate and permanent union that is referred to as being ‘in Christ’ and ‘in the Father’.

How did Jesus and Paul talk about this union in these verses?
John 15:4 – 6

John 17:21

Colossians 3:3

Grace and peace to you
Paul used this greeting frequently. It comprehensively sums up the gospel: grace defining God’s permanent attitude towards those who believe in his Son, and peace defining the changed status of our relationship with God permanently resulting from the sin-bearing death and representative mediation of his Son. We are saved by grace, not just yesterday, but today and for ever (see Romans 5:21 – grace reigns). As a result, there is, now and forever, a state of permanent peace between the believer and God (see Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20). In greeting his readers with ‘grace and peace to you’ Paul is reminding them of the present and permanent impact of the gospel that he proclaimed and that they believed.


Paul remembers and thanks God for the Thessalonians and the way they responded to the gospel with evident genuine faith. Because it is God who has brought them to faith it is God whom Paul thanks for their faith.

Read 1:2 – 10. Answer these questions:
What did Paul keep remembering about the Thessalonians? (verse 3)


What made it particularly unlikely that anyone would accept the message? (verse 6)

As he recalls it, how did they respond to the message? (verse 6)

What evidence was there that the message had really taken hold of them? (verses 7, 8)

What was the key point of their repentance – their change of mind in their beliefs and allegiance? (verse 9)

What was the ultimate hope included in their faith? (verse 10)

What was the role of the Holy Spirit in both Paul’s preaching and in the Thessalonians’ response?


It seems that Paul was permanently amazed by the response of the Thessalonians to the gospel in such a brief time and in the context of persecution of believers. His only answer to this amazing repentance and faith is that the Holy Spirit was indeed at work, deeply convincing these people that Paul’s message was true, and bringing these people to genuine faith. And behind that was Paul’s conviction, because of this obvious work of the Spirit, that God had chosen these Thessalonians (1:4). And so he always thanked God for them – for their faith that produced work, for their love that prompted their labour, and for their hope that inspired their endurance (verse 3).

What do these verses say about God choosing people?
Matthew 11:27

John 15:16, 19

1Corinthians 1:26 – 28

Ephesians 1:4

Colossians 3:12

2Thessalonians 2:13

1Peter 2:9

It might trouble us to think of God choosing or electing people for salvation. But for Paul it was a strong motivation for ministry – not only for preaching the gospel message, but also for enduring the persecution that often accompanied the gospel proclamation. He had to preach the gospel, so that those whom God had chosen could repent, believe and be saved. As he mentions in 2Timothy 2:8 – 10, where he says that he is chained like a criminal, but because of the gospel, which is not chained, he says ‘I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.’ Yes. God chooses people for salvation. But the way they receive salvation is only through the message of the gospel. So Paul was committed to proclaim that gospel, despite the hardships involved.

Read verses 1 to 10 again. What do you learn about Jesus Christ – who he is and what he has done and will do?




Twice Paul refers to Jesus as ‘the Lord Jesus Christ’ (verses 1 & 3). This is Jesus’ full title: ‘the Lord’ – a reference to his deity, he is the ‘Lord’, the God of the Old Testament; ‘Jesus’ – his given human name, which means ‘God saves’; ‘Christ’ – from the Greek of the Hebrew ‘Messiah’, the ‘anointed one’ whose coming, whose kingship, was predicted in the Old Testament. To say that Jesus is ‘the Christ’, which Paul did in his preaching in Thessalonica (Acts 17:3) is to identify him with this long-awaited figure. In the Gospels, when people spoke of ‘the Christ’ they often added to that title – ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16; 26:63; Mark 1:1; 12:35; 14:61; Luke 4:41; John 6:69; 11:27; 20:31).

It is interesting that Paul refers to the Thessalonians’ belief in Jesus Christ as ‘faith in God’ (verse 8), and turning ‘from idols to serve the living and true God’ (verse 9). This ties in with Jesus’ teaching that to receive him is to receive the Father, to believe in him is to believe in the Father (John 12:44; 13:20). This also expresses the deity of Jesus Christ, and his unity with God the Father. To believe in him is to believe in God the Father; to be united to him by faith is to be united to God the Father. In embracing Jesus Christ these Thessalonian believers had embraced the living and true God.

Paul calls Jesus God’s ‘Son’ (1:10), whom God raised from the dead, and who has ascended to heaven and who has promised to return – the Thessalonians were waiting for God’s Son from heaven. In this brief statement about what the Thessalonians are waiting for Paul has referred to (1) the deity of Christ – ‘his Son’; (2) the resurrection of Christ; (3) the ascension of Christ to heaven; and (4) the promised return of Christ at the end of the age.

Also in verse 10 Paul makes his one of his few references in this letter to the saving work of Christ – ‘Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath’. Instead of saying ‘who saves us from our sins’ Paul here points us to the thing that necessitates our rescue – the wrath of God that of legal necessity, because of God’s justice and our sin, hovers over all who have not been redeemed by Christ.

Check these verses about this wrath of God. Is this ‘wrath’ is already present or something still in the future? How can a person be saved from this wrath?
Matthew 3:7

John 3:36

Romans 1:18

Romans 5:9

Ephesians 2:3

1Thessalonians 2:16

1Thessalonians 5:9

Revelation 6:16, 17

Revelation 15:1, 7

Revelation16:1, 19

Revelation 19:15

These Thessalonian believers were new in the Christian faith, but they were confident of this: that Jesus was coming again and that because of him they were safe from God’s wrath. It could not touch them because, as Paul affirmed in verse 1 they were ‘in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’. This hope inspired them to endurance (verse 3), even in the midst of opposition and persecution.

What have you learned from these ten verses that has inspired and encouraged you?