Orientation and Background


Introduction

1 Thessalonians Bible Study

New Testament Bible Study Series

Welcome to your 1 Thessalonians Bible Study. This web page contains lesson plans for an eight-week Bible Study.

Steps to Prepare for Your Study

The following steps will be helpful in getting the most from your 1 Thessalonians Bible study:

  1. If you are leading this study on 1 Thessalonians, I would encourage you to complete our Guide for Bible Study Leaders. It provides a helpful orientation to our lesson plans as well giving you some important guidelines for maximizing the impact of your Bible study.
  2. Read an introduction to 1 Thessalonians in a study Bible, Bible dictionary or one-volume commentary (you can check out my Bible Study Tools page for some of my recommendations.)
  3. Study the 1 Thessalonians Outline. Notice where the natural divisions occur. You can view an online version here: 1 Thessalonians Bible Study Outline (Online) or download and print your own copy from our Print Lessons page. Look under the 1 Thessalonians Bible study.
  4. Read 1 Thessalonians through in one sitting.
  5. Keep a notebook handy with pencil to jot down questions, ideas and applications as you study 1 Thessalonians.
  6. Read the short background information for 1 Thessalonians below.
  7. Optional: To really jump ahead in your 1 Thessalonians Bible Study, complete our How to Study a Book of The Bible lesson using 1 Thessalonians as your subject.

Background to the Thessalonian Church

Paul and his companions planted the church in Thessalonica after experiencing trials in Philippi (Acts 16:23-34).

Paul even mentions this mistreatment in his letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2:2).

According to Acts 17:1-10, the church in Thessalonica was established under great duress and persecution. Paul did not spend much time with the church before he was forced to leave abruptly (Acts 17:10).

Thus, the church was vulnerable after Paul’s departure: Paul did not have time to ground its faith and, just as critical, Paul’s persecutors remained in Thessalonica to harass the church.

Occasion for The Letter

Paul was extremely concerned for the young church after his departure even thinking that his work had been lost there (1 Thess 3:5). Indeed, he tried to re-visit the church several times but was hindered (1 Thess 2:18).

When he could no longer stand the uncertainty of the church’s fate, he sent Timothy to Thessalonica to receive word (1 Thess 3:1-5).

Timothy returned with a glowing report: the young church was standing firm in its faith despite the ongoing persecution (1 Thess 3:6-10).

However, given the topics that Paul covered in his letter, it’s possible there were some reports of sexual immorality among the Thessalonians and issues related to responsible work (1 Thess 4:1-14).

In addition, there was a real concern among the church members about the eternal state of their loved ones who had died (1 Thess 4:15-20).

Paul set about writing 1 Thessalonians shortly thereafter.

Main Themes

Paul’s letter expresses deep pastoral concern for the church. He writes to express his thanksgiving for the Thessalonians and to encourage them in their faith.

He expresses the theme of suffering on several occasions because he knew they had endured persecution / oppression for their faith from their Jewish opponents.

Paul treats the issues of sanctification (sexual purity), brotherly love and responsible work. In addition, he provides a lengthy discussion of the Lord’s second coming as a way to comfort those who have lost loved ones and encourage the members of the congregation.

1 Thessalonians Bible Study Lessons

Week 1 – Introduction to 1 Thessalonians

Week 2 – 1 Thess 1:1-10 – Thanksgiving for the Thessalonian Church

Week 3 – 1 Thess 2:1-16 – Doing Ministry Paul’s Way

Week 4 Р1 Thess 2:17 Р3:13 РPaul Worries for the Church

Week 5 – 1 Thess 4:1-12 – God’s Will Is Our Santification

Week 6 – 1 Thess 4:13-18 – Jesus Will Return For His People

Week 7 – 1 Thess 5:1-11 – No one knows the hour or day

Week 8 – 1 Thess 5:12-28 – Paul’s Final Exhortations

Bonus Article: “New Testament Eschatology: Why Modern End-Times Teaching is Misguided!