I'm continuing to look at the exciting book of I Thessalonians and what it says about God's Word, and now we are ready for chapter 2. "We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God" (2:2 ESV). Paul wrote to the Romans later that he was not ashamed of the gospel. Unashamed believer can share the gospel with boldness, not coldness! In Acts 4:29 Peter and John with other believers prayed to be able "...to continue to speak your word with boldness." This was the only reason Paul was in Thessalonica: to declare the gospel and to make learners (disciples) who became believers.
"For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive" (2:3). The ground of Paul's boldness was his freedom from deceit, uncleaness, and guile (JFB). Often when Vivien and I are watching a preacher on TV, one of us will turn to the other and say, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" And far too often the answer is "No!" We certainly would have bought a tent from Paul, if we had lived in his day. This world is crying out for good news that is not commingled with greed or fund-raising.
"For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed -- God is witness.  Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ" (2:5-6). One prominent evangelist from 1947 onwards wrote that God told him not to touch "the gold or the glory." That principle is clear is these verses and still a mandate for preachers and teachers today. Read More
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). Read More
Paul wrote letters to only seven churches, which is quite surprising as he founded churches in most of the cities he visited during his three missionary journeys of possibly around 10 years of travel. I haven't counted the number of cities in which he ministered (and I haven't found any writer who has), but I guess it could be fifty to one hundred.
First Thessalonians was one of his early letters, possibly the second after Galatians though some say the first, and it was closely followed by the second epistle. Both were written during Paul's 18-month stay in Corinth during his second missionary journey, as recorded in Acts chapter 18. He had visited Thessalonica with Paul and Silas during the same journey. Of course, scholars have different views on the dates. It is short: just 89 verses and 1857 words in the KJV.
The main teaching we gain from the letter is something to really get excited about -- the second coming of Christ Jesus. It is mentioned in each of the five chapters. Yes, Jesus is coming again! The two letters give us much detail about events leading up to the second coming and also of this major event. Let's briefly look at each mention in I Thessalonians. Read More