v1-6 - Twice in this section Paul writes, "when we could stand it no longer..." There was no phones, social media, or other communications, and Paul was dying to know how the new Christians in Thessalonica were doing.
Were they being strengthened and encouraged in their faith by Pastor Timothy (v2)?
Or, was there some way the tempter had tempted them, causing them to fall?
v7-10 - When Paul finally hears back, he's encouraged about them because of their faith (v7).
Although life was massively difficult for both Paul and the Thessalonians, Paul thanks God they are "standing firm (v8)."
He prays not for external things to get better, but for a chance to "supply what is lacking in their faith (v10)."
v11-13 - Paul closes this section of the letter with an awesome benediction praying three things for them:
That Paul could come to see them;
For their love to increase and overflow;
That God would strengthen their hearts
There's a ton of things that Paul could have worried about with this fledgling church in Thessalonica. Do they have a good place to meet? Are people giving enough in the offering? Are they having an impact in their community? How can they influence Roman society to be more Christian?
But yet, these questions don't seem to be on Paul's mind at all. The troubles the church faces doesn't surprise them at all, in fact, Paul throws in an "I told you so" in v4.
Rather, the one thing Paul is concerned about is the faith of this young church.
v2 - Timothy is sent to "to strengthen and encourage [them] in your faith."
v5 - Timothy is called back so that he could report to Paul about their faith.
v6 - Timothy "brought good news about [their] faith and love."
v7 - Paul writes that "in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of [their] faith."
v10 - Paul's most pressing concern is to grow their good faith even stronger. He wants to "see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith."
Clearly building, maintaining and strengthening your faith must be your top priority as well.
The best way for you to do this is by participating in what we call the ordinary means of grace.
This simply means regularly participating in Lord's Day worship services. That's why God calls us both in the morning and the evening, because in this deteriorating world we need our faith built up as much as possible.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.
Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— Where was Paul when he sent Timothy to the Thessalonians? (See verse 1.)
Question 1 from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who strengthens our hearts and increases our love (v12-13)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will use the ordinary means of reading, hearing and singing God's Word to strengthen your faith
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: