The two letters to the Thessalonians teach us much about the second coming of Christ. Yet they also teach us much about the Word of God. Of course, without the Bible we would not know anything about the second coming!
If these two letters were written early in the life of young church as the academics suggest (around 20 years after Pentecost), then it is no surprise to see the emphasis on the Word. The Word, the Name and the Spirit are consistent themes in the narrative of the books of Acts.
Paul first gives his summary of the teaching the Thessalonians received. "Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction" (I Thessalonians 1:5). There is an "undeniable authenticity and authority of those preaching the gospel," one commentator wrote. When God's Word is preached, the preacher has to be aware of "[its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]" (AMP).
There is plenty of preaching that is dry and formal. I cringe when I think of my early sermons! The story is told of a preacher's son who went with him on one occasion when he was a guest preacher. In the car on the way home the father asked him what he thought about the sermon. He replied, "It was a re-bore!"
"For though they keep up a form of religion, they will have nothing to do with it as a force" (II Timothy 3:5 Moffatt). Compare this with Jesus teaching at Capernaum in Luke 4, "And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority... What a word is this!" (Luke 4:32,36 NKJV).
Once I became a minister, in the churches and denominations in which I have been involved the Word has always been central, the most important part of the service. Nowadays, as one speaker put it, they have 45 minutes of music, 15 minutes of announcements, and 15 minutes for a sermonette, plus a mid-week home "Bible study" twice a month! It's time to get "Back to the Bible!" Read More