Saturday, May 25, 2013

2 Thessalonians 3

  1.  3:1-2 What were Paul’s prayer requests?
    Class Answers: He asked the Thessalonians to pray for them, that 1) the word of the Lord may run (spread rapidly) and be glorified; 2) they would be delivered from unreasonable (wicked) and evil men. Note: The Greek word for “unreasonable” also means “out of place, improper.”
  2. 3:3-5 What would the Lord do for the Thessalonians?
    v. 3 – Establish (strengthen) them
    v. 3 – Guard them from the evil one. See also Matthew 6:13.
    v. 4 – Help them obey the commands – by working in their lives
    v. 5 – Direct their hearts into the love of (for, from?) God and the patience of (after the manner of?) Christ. [Paul’s prayer for them.]
    Note: This passage also prepares them for the admonition that follows.
  3. 3:6-13 What seemed to be a problem in the Thessalonian church? How might a misunderstanding of Paul’s earlier teaching (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) have led to this problem?
    Class Answers: Laziness, idleness – an unwillingness to work, being disorderly, busybodies – a repetition of 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 5:14.
  4. 3:6-12 What commands does Paul mention in this passage? To whom are they given?
    v. 6 – Withdraw (keep away) from disorderly brethren. This command is given in the name of, or by the authority of, “our” Lord Jesus Christ. Note: Paul had taught them this in person (v. 10), in the  first letter, and now in this letter. If they still weren’t heeding his command, they needed to lose their fellowship and dependence on the other Christians. It would also diminish their influence on others who might also be tempted to live the same lifestyle.
    v. 10 – If any won’t work, they shouldn’t eat
    v. 12 – Work with quietness, eat your own bread (make your own living). If the early disciples lived communally, this might literally mean “bring your own bread.”  Note: This seems to be in the context of the church family, not dealing with the issue of someone who might not be part of the fellowship. It’s a matter of judgment whether or not helping someone financially is an act of love or enabling.
  5. 3:7-9 What kind of model did the apostles leave with them?
    Class Answers: They worked night and day so they wouldn’t be a burden to the Thessalonians. This is also what Paul pointed out in 1 Thessalonians 2:9.
  6. 3:13-15 List other instructions Paul gives to the Thessalonian Christ.ians.
    v. 13 – Be not weary in well doing (doing what is right).
    v. 14 – Note the man who does not work.
    v. 14 – Have no company with him (have nothing to do with them).
    v. 15 – Admonish (warn) him as a brother, not an enemy. It is not appropriate to gather into a clique and gossip about the brother (or sister), to treat him or her as “other.”
  7. 3:16 How might verse 16 related back to verses 14 and 15?
    Class Answers: When each does his own job, peace is more likely. Peace is more possible when busybodies are not allowed to have influence.
  8. 3:16-18 What is the distinguishing mark in all Paul’s letters? How are his greeting (1:1-2) and conclusion similar?
    Class Answers:  The distinguishing mark: His salutation with his own hand – his personal handwritten note at the end of the letter verified and gave the letter credibility.
    Note the “alls” in this passage: “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with you all [including those who may have been walking disorderly]…The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Questions for 2 Thessalonians compiled by Cheryl Bryan
May, 2013

2 Thessalonians 2

Note: There may be as many theories about the meaning of the first 12 verses of this chapter as there are commentators. These questions are designed to reveal what the text says within the context of the Thessalonians’ situation and as a continuation of what Paul had written in 1 Thessalonians. As we answered them in class, we also tried to answer not with our opinions, which are colored by our viewpoints about the second coming of Christ – but simply by what Paul expresses in this letter. (We did allow ourselves a little time for conjecture and discussion after we answered all the questions.)

  1. 2:1 What two related things does Paul now address?
    Class Answers: 1) The coming of Christ; 2) Our gathering together with him.
  2. 2:2 What might the Thessalonians be told that might alarm or shake them? By what three means would that alarm be communicated?
    Class Answers: That the day of the Lord is at hand (sometimes translated “is already here”). 1) by spirit (or prophecy); 2) by word (report); 3) by epistle (letter). CB Comment: Some things never change; there will always be those who spread rumors as if they are the truth.
  3. 2:3 What two things must happen before that day comes?
    Class Answers: 1) The falling away (or rebellion); 2) the revelation of the man of sin (or the lawless one). Note the use of the word the in both phrases – this is speaking of a specific rebellion, a specific man of lawlessness.
  4. 2:3-4 List the descriptions of the “man of lawlessness,” or “man of sin.”
    Class Answers: 1) Son of perdition (destined for destruction); 2) Opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God (every so-called god) or worshipped (objects of worship). 3) He sits in the temple (or sanctuary) of God, setting himself forth as God (declaring himself as God). CB Comment: The phrase “son of perdition” is also used to describe Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
  5. 2:5-6 What should the Thessalonians remember? What do they know?
    Class Answers: They should remember that Paul told them these things. (Note the departure from the pronoun “we.”) They knew that which restrains, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. (NRSV: …when his time comes.)
    Morris’s comment on this: “The Thessalonians knew; we do not.)
  6. 2:7 What was already at work? For how long?
    Class Answers: The mystery of lawlessness (NIV: secret power of lawlessness). Until the one that restrains is taken away (NRSV: the one who restrains it is removed).
  7. 2:8 What will happen to the lawless one?
    Class Answers: The Lord will slay him with the breath of his mouth and bring him to naught by the manifestation of his coming (will annihilate him by the manifestation of his coming). CB Comment: What’s important in this passage is the absolute sovereignty of God. When our Lord comes, anyone who would claim or appear to be all-powerful will be shown for what he is at the first appearance of the real Lord and Christ – like the self-important mayor of a small town diminished by the appearance of the President of the United States.
  8. 2:9-10 According to what will the coming of the lawless one be? What will accompany his coming?
    Class Answers: His coming will be the working of Satan, accompanied by power, signs, and lying wonders (Morris: imitations of Christ on earth), all deceit of unrighteousness (every kind of wicked deception).
  9. 2:10-12 Why does God send a strong delusion?
    v. 10 – Because they did not receive a love of the truth (they refused to love the truth). If they want to believe a lie, God will allow it. See also John 14:6; Ephesians 4:21.
    v. 11 – So they would believe a lie (what is false).
    v. 12 – They didn’t believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness (NIV: delighted in wickedness).
    Morris: They not only didn’t love it, they didn’t believe it.
  10. 2:13 How did God choose to save the Thessalonians?
    Class Answers: By sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, from the beginning (as first fruits). Again, Paul says “We are bound to give thanks” as he wrote in 1:3.
  11. 2:14 How did God call them? For what purpose?
    Class Answers: Through “our” gospel (proclamation of good news), in order to obtain (or share in) the glory of Christ.
  12. 2:15 What two things does Paul exhort them to do?
    Class Answers: 1) Stand fast (stand firm); 2) Hold the traditions they were taught either by word of mouth or by “our” letter.
  13. 2:16 What have the Son and the Father done for us?
    Class Answers: They have loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace.
  14. 2:17 What was Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians?
    Class Answers: That Christ and God would comfort their hearts and establish (strengthen) them in every good work and word. CB Comment: It is not for Christians to be still and wait for Christ’s coming; it is for us to work, to study, to teach.

*CB Comment – my personal observations, added while compiling these notes. – Cheryl Bryan

2 Thessalonians 1

Purposes of 2 Thessalonians: To correct misunderstandings regarding the Lord’s return; warning against idleness; the nature of the second coming; what will happen to the wicked.

  1. 1:1-2 Note differences and similarities between this greeting and the one in 1 Thessalonians 1:1.
    Class Answers: Differences: In 2 Thessalonians, he writes “God our Father, not God the Father. To “grace and peace to you” in 1 Thessalonians, here he adds “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Leon Morris (pg. 191) on this passage: The joining of God and Jesus are sources of grace and peace.
    Similarities: From Paul, Silas (Silvanus), and Timothy; to the church of the Thessalonians.
  2. 1:3-4 For what four attributes does Paul give thanks or boast?
    Class Answers:
    1) Their faith was growing more and more
    2) Their love was increasing
    3) For their perseverance (steadfastness) through persecutions and afflictions
    4) For their faith through persecutions and afflictions
    Note: Paul says he is “bound to” or “must” give thanks because it is the right thing to do. Even if they don’t feel worthy of his praise, Paul is obligated to give it.
    Also note: In the original Greek manuscript (and 1901 American Standard Version), verses 3-10 are one sentence.
  3. 1:5 How could persecutions and afflictions be evidence that God’s judgment is righteous?
    Class Answers: God provides strength in persecution; he didn’t leave the Thessalonians to their own devices. God was on their side. The Thessalonians were passing the test. They were working out God’s eternal purpose
    Morris (p. 196): “In the good providence of God, suffering is often the means of working out God’s eternal purpose.” It develops character. It teaches valuable lessons. For believers, it is inevitable. They are appointed (destined) to it (1 Thess. 3:3). Such suffering is a vivid token of the presence of God.
  4. 1:5-7 What are three results of the Thessalonians’ perseverance and faith in suffering? (One each from verses 5, 6, and 7)
    Class Answers: v. 5 – They would be counted worthy; v. 6 – God would pay back the trouble they suffered; v. 7 – They would receive relief.
    Morris (p. 201) note on v. 7: “Now the Lord is hid from the view of the world, and it is even possible for people to deny his existence. But on that day he will be revealed in all his glory. He will be shown to be what he is.”
    This also reminds me of the revelation of Jesus in
    Revelation 1: Jesus with the flaming sword coming from his mouth, with eyes like flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. Other references given in class were Revelation 19:1ff; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
  5. 1:6-8 How does Paul describe God’s justice?
    Class Answers: This describes the other side of God’s judgment. v. 6 – He will avenge his people; v. 8 – He will punish the persecutors and those who do not acknowledge him.
  6. 1:8 What does it mean to “not know God and obey not the gospel”?
    Class Answers: To not know God is to not acknowledge him or his power. See Romans 1:28. To not obey the gospel is to acknowledge his existence but to pay no attention to what he would want us to do. Morris: To reject the divine invitation.
  7. 1:9 What is the punishment for those to whom verse 8 applies?
    Class Answers: Everlasting destruction – shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power. According to Morris (p. 204), the Greek word used here for punish comes from the same root word as right in verse 5 and just in verse 6. He is bringing them to justice. Morris again (p. 205):
    “Those who oppose the things of God here and now are not engaged in some minor error that can easily be put right in the hereafter. They are engaging in that defiance of the will of God which has eternal consequences. Life here and now has a high and serous dignity. In particular, facing up to the gospel invitation is a choice fraught with the most solemn and lasting consequences.”
  8. 1:10 When will this happen?
    Class Answers: On the day he comes to be glorified. Believers will find rest, a shared glory with Christ.
  9. 1:11 With that in mind, what is Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians?
    Class Answers: 1) That they would be counted worthy of his calling; 2) That God would fulfill their purposes and acts.
  10. 1:12 What is a more immediate purpose of Paul’s prayer for them?
    Class Answers: That Jesus would be glorified by them. That they would be glorified in Jesus. We reflect Jesus’ nature to others.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 Thessalonians 5

  1. 5:1-2 What did the Thessalonians already know?
    Class Answers: Times and dates, or seasons (Morris: times and opportunities). That the day of the Lord would come like a thief in the night. We can prepare, but we can’t know exactly when it will happen.
  2. 5:3 How will the day of the Lord be like labor pains? (What is the day of the Lord?)
    Class Answers: It will be sudden, and there will be no escape. The term is used many times in the Old Testament, such as in Amos 5:18-20 (there is no escape). The phrase is found in the New Testament in Acts 2:20 (the Lord’s great and glorious day), 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Thess. 2:2. In 1 Corinthians 1:8, it is “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.,” referring to the second coming of Christ.
  3. 5:4-7 How do we protect ourselves against the destruction mentioned in verse 3?
    Class Answers: As children of the day, of the light, we know that the day is coming, and we prepare ourselves. We are awake and sober.
  4. 5:8 What are characteristics of children (sons) of light?
    Class Answers: They are sober, with a breastplate of faith and love and a helmet the hope of salvation. The word “sons” or “children” indicates that these are inborn character traits. Notice here the “faith, hope, and love” mentioned back in 1:3. Christians walk in the light of the Lord. Contrary to the way the world might characterize Christians, we are actually the “enlightened” ones – the ones who see the world the way it really is.
    Regarding the word hope, Morris (page 159) states that New Testament hope is grounded in the divine action. (That’s why it’s a confident expectation, not just a strong wish.)
  5. 5:9-10 What are Christians destined (appointed) for?
    Class Answers: For obtaining salvation, for “receiving” salvation – from our sins and from wrath. It is God’s work.
  6. 5:11 What common (or similar) word do you find in this verse and in 3:2, 5:11, and 5:14?
    Class Answers: In the NRSV, the word “encourage” is used in all three passages. The Greek word used in 3:2 and 5:11 is Parakaleo (admonish, exhort). In 5:14, it’s Paramutheomai (Calm or console).
  7. 5:12-13 What are our responsibilities to those who “labor among us” or “have charge of us in the Lord”? (NRSV)
    Class Answers: Those who work among us, have charge over us, and admonish us, which would include ministers and pastors, or elders. The apostles had appointed elders as early as Acts 14:23. It’s likely in such a young Gentile church as Thessalonica that there wouldn’t be many mature Christians, those who had years of experience as Christians. It’s significant that “be at peace among yourselves” is placed after such an injunction. Church leaders can do their work more effectively if they don’t have to solve squabbles among members.
  8. 5:14-15 List the ways we are to treat each other.
    Class Answers: 1) Admonish idlers (the unruly); 2) Encourage the fainthearted; 3) Help the weak; 4) Be patient with all of them (even the idler); 5) Don’t repay evil for evil; 4) Seek to do good to one another and all. These define horizontal relationships – one with another.
  9. 5:16-18 What is God’s will for us?
    Class Answers: 1) Rejoice always; 2) Pray without ceasing (continually – persistently and regularly); 3) Give thanks in all circumstances. These define a vertical relationship with God.
    Note: Regarding rejoicing, Morris (p. 173) writes: Christianity…turns people’s thoughts away from themselves and their puny deeds to the great God….”
  10. 5:19-22 What should be our response to the Spirit and to the things people teach?
    Class Answers: 1) Do not quench the Spirits (Walk by the Spirit; be open to Spirit; 2) Do not despise the words of the prophets (either spoken or written); 3) Test everything; hold to the good, abstain from evil. See these related passages: Acts 11:27-28; 1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14; Revelation 1:3. It’s a balance between being open-minded and using discernment.
  11. 5:23-24 What is God able to do for us?
    Class Answers: Sanctify us entirely; keep our spirit, soul, and body sound and blameless. God does it all for us, and He is faithful.
  12. 5:25-28 What is a holy kiss?
    Class Answers: A genuine show of affection – not sexual, and not deceitful. The physical kiss is used according to custom. In the U.S., it’s usually a handshake. Other places where the term is used: Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1 Thessalonians 4

  1. 4:1-2 What are at three motivations mentioned in these verses for living in the right way? (Hint: Who does it please, who is urging it, and by whose authority were the instructions given?)
    Class Answers: 1) To please God; 2) Because Paul was urging them to do as they had been instructed; 3) Because these instructions were given through Jesus.
    Note: The word instructions here is a little weak, because it indicates authority, as a captain giving an order. According to Morris (page 116), the word is found in only two other places in the New Testament as commands to believers: 1 Timothy 1:5, and 1 Timothy 1:18. The ASV uses the word charge in all three instances.
  2. 4:3-8 What does being “sanctified” have to do with living a pure life?
    Class Answers: God calls us to be holy, set apart, which is the meaning of sanctified. Living a pure life – controlling our bodies – is what sets us apart from the “Gentiles who do not know God.” See also Romans 1:20-25.
    Note: Again, I like what Morris has to say here: Page 118: “The strong warning is probably to be understood in light of the prevalence of low standards.” Page 119: “We come to Christ in all our sin, and we receive cleansing by his atoning death. Then day by day we become more and more what God would have us to be.”
  3. 4:3-8 Which members of the godhead are involved here?
    Class Answers:
    1) God. Verse 1 – please God; v. 2 – the will of God; v. 5 – Gentiles who do not know God; v. 7 – God calls us in holiness; v. 8 – Rejecting God’s authority; v. 9 – taught by God.
    2) Jesus – v. 1 – urge you in the Lord Jesus; v. 2 – by the authority of the Lord Jesus
    3) Holy Spirit. v. 8 – God gives you his Holy Spirit. In the Greek, this is “his Spirit, the holy.”
    Note: The word godhead is not used in this passage. It is the term used in Colossians 2:9 (KJV and ASV) to translate the Greek word Theotes, which means “the state of being God” or “deity.”
  4. 4:9-10 How were they taught by God to love one another? (See John 13:34; 15:9)
    Class Answers: It was taught by Jesus verbally (John 13:34) and by example (John 15:9). Also see 1 Thessalonians 3:12.
  5. 4:11-12 What three things does Paul encourage them to do? For what purpose?
    Class Answers: 1) To aspire to live quietly. [Interesting paradox – to “be ambitious” to be quiet.] Morris (p. 131) – this does not denote inactivity, but tranquility in the midst of being busy with the Lord’s work. 2) To mind their own affairs; 3) To work with their own hands. [These are all connected: When we are quietly taking care of our own affairs, we don’t have time to be busybodies.]
    The purpose? For reputation’s sake, to set a good example, to take care of our own needs so we’re not a burden on others.
  6. 4:13 Who are those who have fallen asleep? Who are those who have no hope?
    Class Answers: Christians who have died. Apparently, the Thessalonians were concerned about those who died before Jesus came again. Morris, p. 137: “When the apostle counsels the Thessalonians not to sorrow as the pagans do, he is not urging them to endure with a deep Stoic calm the buffetings of fortune that they cannot avoid….Rather, he is rejoicing in the complete victory that Christ has won. Those who have died have simply fallen asleep in Christ, and they will wake with him.”
    Those who have no hope are non-believers. See Ephesians 2:12.
  7. 4:14 What does this verse imply about those who have fallen asleep?
    Class Answers: That they are with Jesus – or will be, when he comes again. See also Matthew 24:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Morris, pg. 140: “What worried the Thessalonians was not whether their friends would rise, but whether they would have any share in the great events associated with the Parousia [second coming].”
  8. 4:15-17 Read these verses, form a picture of the scene in your mind, then try to describe it in your own words.
    My Answer: When Jesus appears again, he will shout a command, an archangel will call, and a trumpet will sound. Those who died in Christ will rise and meet him in the air. Then those who are still alive will rise to meet them and him. Related passages: 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 10:1; 18:1; 20:1; Acts 1:11. There is no mention of the wicked here. They are mentioned, though, in Acts 24:15 and in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.
    Note: There’s so much we can’t comprehend about this event. In response to all our questions, Morris (p. 142) writes: “There are many things we would like to know, but the Bible was not written to satisfy our curiosity. Rather, it is intended to help us in our Christian lives.” The important message here is “Be ready.”
  9. 4:18 Where will Christians be when after the Lord returns? How long?
    Class Answers: With the Lord – forever.
    Note: As I understand it, what is referred to as “the rapture” is a quiet event. There’s nothing quiet in this description of Jesus’ Second Coming. I was also curious about the origin of the word “rapture,” since it doesn’t appear in any English translation I’ve read. According to Shogren, p. 188, the Greek word for taken or caught up in verse 17 was translated into Latin as rapiemur, a form of rapio, which in English is rapture. This same word, Harpazo, is used in Acts 8:39 for Philip.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

1 Thessalonians 3

  1. 3:1-3 For what reasons did Paul send Timothy to Thessalonica?
    Class Answers:
    v. 1 – He was desperate to know how the Thessalonians were faring in his absence. He and Silas could no longer stand not knowing.
    v. 2 – To strengthen and encourage them in the faith. To encourage them in their knowledge of their Savior and to make certain they were secure in that faith.
    v. 3 – So that no one would be shaken by the persecutions. He wanted the Thessalonians to know that these current afflictions were signs that things were as they should be, rather than the reverse.
    Note: Persecution is a common theme in the New Testament. In our progressively more secular society, we shouldn’t be surprised when we are criticized or judged backward, or even hateful, because we condemn sinful practices.
    Matthew 5:10-12: Persecution is a cause of rejoicing
    John 15:12-21: If we choose not to be part of this world, we will be persecuted.
    2 Timothy 3:12: If we desire to live godly lives, we will be persecuted.
    1 Peter 4:12-14: Don’t be surprised by persecution, but rather rejoice in it.
  2. 3:3-4 What were the evangelists destined (or appointed) for ?
    The question should read, What are Christians destined for?
    Class Answers: For persecution. For the very afflictions the Thessalonians were experiencing.
    Note: More warnings (promises) of persecution:
    Acts 9:15-16: God told Ananias that he would show Paul what he would suffer for God’s sake.
    James 1:2: James tells his readers to rejoice in trials.
  3. 3:5 Who is the tempter? How would he cause Paul’s labor to be in vain?
    Class Answers: Satan. (See also 1 Thessalonians 2:18.) If they succumbed to temptation, they would be right back where they started. He would undo all the apostles’ teaching. See 2 Peter 2:20-22: like a dog eating its own vomit.
  4. 3:6 What was the good news that Timothy brought back to Paul?
    Class Answers: Of their faith and love. That they always remembered Paul and Silas kindly and they longed to see them. That the Thessalonians wanted to see and be with Paul as much as he wanted to connect with them, that they were continuing in the faith and love that he’d shared with them.
    Note: The Greek word for “good news”  here is Euaggelizo, usually translated “gospel.”  Also note the change of Paul’s tone: From concern to joy at Timothy’s good news.
    From Morris: “The combination of faith and love is no mean summary of the whole duty of Christians.” See also Galatians 5:6.
  5. 3:7-10 What responses did Paul and Silas have to this news?
    Class Answers:
    v. 7 – Comfort. Even in the apostles’ own distress and persecution, they were encouraged about them through the Thessalonians’ faith. (This is the fourth time the word faith is used in this chapter.)
    v. 8 – Life. They now “live,” if the Thessalonians stand firm. Philippians 1:21 – For Paul, to live was Christ. Their faithfulness gave him new life, new energy.
    v. 9 – Joy. They couldn’t thank God enough for the joy they felt. Note the object of their gratitude – not the Thessalonians, but God. This was God’s work.
    v. 10 – Prayer. They prayed even more intensely that they could see them in person and strengthen whatever still might be lacking (to complete them).
  6. 3:11-13 What are Paul’s three prayers?
    v. 11 – That God and Jesus would direct their way to the Thessalonians, clear the pathway to them.
    v. 12 – That the Thessalonians would increase and abound in love for one another and for all.
    v. 13 – That God would strengthen their hearts in holiness, so that they would be blameless. (NIV – blameless and holy)
  7. 3:13 What does Paul write about the coming of Jesus?
    Class Answers: That he will come with all his saints (NRV), or “holy ones” (NIV). Commentators disagree on whether this refers to Christians who have died or angels. Morris contends that it is both. Hendricksen (page 93) ties it to 4:14:
Not a single one of [those who have fallen asleep in Jesus] will be left behind in heaven: all those who at death went to heaven – and therefore are now with him in heaven – will leave their celestial abodes at the very moment when the Lord begins his descent. Very quickly they will reunite with their bodies, which now become gloriously resurrected bodies, and will then immediately (together with those children of God who still survive on earth, and who will be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”) ascend in order to meet the Lord.
This interpretation brings 3:13 into complete harmony with 4:13-18…. The coming is one; but it is a coming both with and for his saints.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

1 Thessalonians 2

  1. 2:1-2 What had Paul and his companions endured prior to coming to Thessalonica? What was their attitude when they arrived?
    Class Answers: They had suffered and been shamefully mistreated in Philippi (Acts 16:11-40). Still, they were courageous in preaching the gospel to the Thessalonians. Hendriksen’s explanation of “our coming to you was not in vain” (NRSV): Our message was not empty. When we came to you, our hands were not empty. We came to give, not to take. Shogren: “not without good results.”
  2. 2:3-6a The appeal (urging) they made was not from error (deceit) or impure motives (uncleanness). (v. 3)
    They were not trying to trick them (or use cunning). (3)
    They spoke as men approved (tested) by God and entrusted with the gospel. (4)
    They were not trying to please mortals (men) but God (who tests our hearts). (4)
    They never used flattery, nor did they cover up greed (put on a mask). (5)
    They were not looking for praise from men. (6) (Quotes from NIV.)
    Note the use of antithesis: Not this, but that. In this list, Paul exposes the characteristics of false teachers: their motives are not pure, they use deception and flattery to persuade people, they are motivated by the praise of men, not the approval of God.
  3. 2:6b-9 In what ways did the evangelists show their affection and love for the Thessalonians?
    Class Answers: 1) Though as apostles they could have made demands, they didn’t ask for praise; 2) they were gentle, as a nurse with her children; 3) they shared not only the gospel but themselves; 4) they worked night and day so they wouldn’t be a burden to the Thessalonians.
    Note on the word “apostles”: Though not of the Twelve, Silas (2:7), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Andronicus and Junia (Romans 16:7), and James (Galatians 1:19), are referred to as apostles in the literal meaning of “messengers from God.“
    Note on the word “gentle”: According to Shogren, there’s a textual variant in the Greek word usually translated gentle. He chooses to translate this phrase, “we were as children.”
  4. 2:10 What did the Thessalonians (and God) witness about their behavior?
    Class Answers: They were pure, upright, and blameless in conduct.
  5. 2:11-12 What did the Christians know about how the evangelists dealt with them?
    Class Answers: They dealt with each of them as a father with his children: urging, encouraging, and pleading (imploring) for them to lead a life worthy of God – worthy of the death of Christ, being holy as God is holy. Hendriksen: “in harmony with their relationship to God.”
    Note: In verse 7, they were “gentle, like a nurse caring for her children.” In verse 11 and 12, they were more like fathers “admonishing” their children.
  6. 2:13 Who was the source of the word they preached? What does the word do for those who believe?
    Class Answers: God. The word works in believers. See also Romans 1:16 and Philippians 2:13.
  7. 2:14 What did the Thessalonian Christians have in common with their brothers and sisters in Judea?
    Class Answers: They suffered the same things from their compatriots that the Christians in Judea suffered from the Jews. See Acts 4:1-4; Acts 5:26; Acts 8:1; 1 Peter 4:4; and Jesus’ prediction that this would happen, in Matthew 10:16-25. Of this, Shogren writes, “When Jews or Gentiles receive Christ, they find themselves cut off from their former people and persecuted by them.”
  8. 2:15-16 List the accusations Paul makes against the Jews.
    Class Answers: 1) They killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets (Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:52,53. 2) They drove out the apostles (Acts 17:5-9; Acts 9:29-30. 3) They displease God and hinder the Gentiles from hearing the gospel. 4) They constantly fill up the measure of their sins, or “always heap up their sins to the limit” (NIV). Hendriksen: God’s wrath had come; the woes would come later (1 Thessalonians 1:10). 
  9. 2:17-18 What had hindered Paul from seeing the Thessalonians as he wished to?
    Class Answers: Satan blocked their way. Hendriksen: How? We do not know. But Satan exerts powerful influence over the affairs of men (Job 1:6-12; Daniel 10), and (from the class), God allows him this power for reasons we can’t always comprehend. It’s possible that Paul would not have written this impassioned letter to the Thessalonians if he had been able to see them in person.
  10. 2:19-20 How were the Thessalonians Paul’s hope, joy, or crown?
    Class Answers: Because of their faith, they would receive their reward. They were children of faith who had exceeded Paul’s expectations. Their walking with the Lord is a reward of his walking with the Lord. A crown is a prize to boast about.
  11. 2:19 What does Paul write about the coming of Jesus?
    Class Answers: Paul will be rejoicing when Jesus comes again. Shogren: “At Jesus’ coming, the Thessalonian converts will redound [contribute greatly] to the team’s credit.”