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


Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers of his ministry among them. He sums it up by saying it ‘was not a failure’ (2:1). He recalls the persecution he suffered in Philippi, and states that even with that fresh in his mind, with the help of God ‘we dared to tell you his gospel’ in spite of the strong opposition that was present in Thessalonica (2:2). In this verse we see that Paul was impacted by the persecution – his use of the phrases ‘we dared’ and ‘in spite of’ show us that it took a deal of spiritual courage and dependence on God for Paul and his associates to preach the gospel in Thessalonica. It was not an easy thing for them to do, but with God’s help they did it. And the fact that they did it under such circumstances testifies to their integrity.

In verses 3 to 12 Paul affirms this selfless integrity that they demonstrated during their time in Thessalonica.

Read 2:3 – 12. What do these verses say about how Paul, Silas and Timothy went about their ministry?
What did they not do? (verses 3 – 6, 9)?




What did they do? (verses 4a, 7-9, 10, 11, 12)?



Paul names God (verse 5 & 10) and the Thessalonian believers themselves (verses 1,5,9,10,11) as witnesses to the integrity of himself, Silas and Timothy. God is witness, and so are they, that Paul’s motives and manner were not self-centred, but as servants of both God and the Thessalonians.

So we learn that:

Their message was not error or a trick, but the gospel entrusted to them by God who had approved them to preach it – verse 3 & 4.

They were not trying to please men, but God, and God knew that – verse 4.

They did not use flattery to coerce a response to the gospel – verse 5.

They were not pretending to be God’s messengers in order to make financial gain – verse 5.

They were not looking for human praise – verse 6.

As apostles, they could have expected payment, or at least food and accommodation, but they did not; rather they worked very hard, day and night, to earn money so as not to be a burden on the Thessalonians – verses 6b, 9.

They loved the Thessalonians dearly – like a mother, like a father – sharing their lives with them – verses 7, 8, 11, 12.

They lived holy, righteous and blameless lives among them – verse 10.

They encouraged and comforted the believers, urging them to live lives worthy of God – verse 12.

A question: How is Paul’s description of their work in Thessalonica relevant as an example for us today?

Their commitment to tell the gospel, even though it was dangerous to do so?

The integrity of the message they preached?

Their God-focused reason for engaging in ministry?

The integrity of their presentation and methods?

Their avoidance of manipulative methods?

Their refusal to expect or demand financial support?

Their willingness to work hard to avoid being a burden?

Their love - compassion, care and concern - for the new believers?

Their godly living?

Their spiritual encouragement of the young believers?



Verse 12 gives a precise definition of the Christian life. Paul, Silas and Timothy urged the young believers to ‘live lives worthy of God, who calls you to his kingdom and glory.’
This was the focus and goal of the encouragement and comfort they gave the Thessalonians. God had called them into his kingdom. God had called them for his glory. So Paul urged them, individually (note the ‘each’ in verse 11), to live worthy of God: worthy of his kingdom; worthy of his glory.

As Christians we no longer belong to ourselves. As Christians, we are no longer in Satan’s dark dominion. We have a new allegiance: we belong to God; we belong to his kingdom. As Christians, we are again in that right relationship with God in which it becomes increasingly possible to image him, to reflect his glory as his Spirit undertakes his gradual transformative work in us.

How do these verses express this goal and purpose of the Christian life?
Matthew 5:16

1Corinthians 10:31

2Corinthians 3:18

Ephesians 4:1

Colossians 1:27

1Peter 2:9, 12

How do the above verses help you to understand the kind of life you should be living as a member of Christ’s kingdom?
Your goals?

The things you value and prioritize?

Your daily choices?



In 2:13 Paul gives some insight into the faith of the Thessalonian believers: they received the message as ‘the word of God’ which is what it actually is. They recognized it for what it was. They realised that it was not the word of men – not a mere human ideology. Paul understood that this faith, this conviction, could only come as a result of God’s work, so he thanked God continually for the Thessalonians’ acceptance of the gospel. That word of God which he preached was at work in their hearts.

Because they were convinced that the gospel preached by Paul was in fact the word of God, they accepted it, they believed it, even though this meant suffering at the hands of their countrymen (verse 14).

What is the gospel of Christ to you? Is it just another human religious idea, or is it the word of God?

In contrast to the gospel, what are some ‘words of men’, some human ideas, or man-made religious ideas, that are popular in your culture today?



How difficult is it to hold fast to the word of God when ‘everybody’ does not believe it, or even believe in God?




From verses 14 to 16 we learn something about those who reject and oppose the gospel message. Paul describes in particular the traditional Jews’ opposition to God, his messengers and the gospel.

Read 2:14 – 16; answer these questions:
Who were the four different targets of the Jews’ hostility?

What does God feel about those Jews?

Who was their hostility directed against?

What was the purpose of their hostility?

If they had succeeded in silencing the preachers of the gospel, what would have happened?

How does this hostility of the Jews against the gospel end up impacting those Jews themselves?


Insight from Revelation. Read these verses from Revelation. What do they say about God’s response to the mistreatment of those who believe in him?
Revelation 6:9 – 11

Revelation 16:5 – 7

Revelation 18:20, 24

Revelation 19:1 – 4


What part of 2:1 – 16 encourages you to keep on holding fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when it hurts?



In Acts 17:1 – 10 we read of the events that forced Paul and Silas to leave Thessalonica abruptly. Notice what they were accused of:

Causing trouble all over the world.
Defying Caesar’s decrees.
Saying there is another king – Jesus.

These accusations added to the opposition:

First there were the Jews who were jealous – verse 5.

Then the ‘bad characters from the market place’ who, rounded up by the Jews, formed a mob and caused a riot in the city – verse 5.

Then the city officials who were ‘thrown into turmoil’ by the false accusations – verses 6, 8.

Because they could not find Paul and Silas, the Jews and their riotous rabble, hauled Jason and some other believers before the city officials. With all of this against Paul and Silas, the Thessalonian brothers sent them away under cover of darkness – verse 10.

With such an abrupt and unpleasant departure, and with the Thessalonian believers also under threat from the Jews and the city officials, Paul was quite unsettled in his mind, concerned for the spiritual well-being of these young believers.

Read 1Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:5. Answer these questions:
2:18: Why didn’t Paul go back to Thessalonica, even though he wanted to and tried to?

2:19, 20: Describe Paul’s high opinion of these Thessalonian believers.


2:17 & 3:1, 4: How did Paul feel about being separated from the Thessalonians?


3:2, 3: What did he send Timothy to do? Why?


3:3, 4: What did Paul say about Christians experiencing trials and persecution?


3:5: Why did Paul want to find out about their faith?


What qualities of a good shepherd can you see in Paul?


How would knowing your pastor felt about you as Paul felt about the Thessalonians encourage you to greater faith and godliness?


From the examples of Paul and the Thessalonians, what encourages you to keep on believing and living for God’s glory?