1 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Traits of Godly Leaders Part 2
1. Having stated his affection for the Thessalonians in v. 7-8, in v. 9 Paul reminds them of his sacrifice while he was with them by stating, for you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. What is Paul referring to by his use of the phrase labor (kopos—#2873) and hardship (mochthos—#3449)?
2. What is Paul saying when he refers to their working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you? In what way were the missionaries working night and day and what burden is Paul referring to?
3. In v. 10 Paul calls upon the Thessalonians and God as witnesses of their conduct while in Thessalonica. Why does Paul call upon them and God as witnesses? Witnesses to whom?
4. In referring to his conduct while among them, Paul describes their behavior as devout (hosiōs—#3743) and upright (dikaiōs—#1346) and blameless (amemptōs—#274). Define each of these terms.
What is Paul saying about his conduct by his use of these three terms?
5. In v. 11 Paul, once again, calls upon the Thessalonians to remember their former actions while among the Thessalonians by the phrase, just as you know. Does his use of these instructions to recall his former attitudes and actions (1:5, 2:1, 5, 9, 10, 11) imply that the Thessalonian believers had forgotten these things?
6. In v. 11 Paul reminds the Thessalonians of the care he exhibited toward them while ministering to them with the statement . . . just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children. Define the following terms:
7. In his description of his actions of exhorting and encouraging and imploring the Thessalonians as a father would his own children, what is Paul teaching us about his relationship to them?
8. In v. 12 Paul brings this section to a close by stating the purpose for his diligent efforts on behalf of the Thessalonians . . . so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
a. Define the word walk (peripateō—#4043)--
b. What does the term walk mean as it is used in the New Testament? What other passages refer to this same concept and give similar instruction?
9. The phrase walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you can be misunderstood. Some people interpret this phrase as implying that we can become worthy of God . . . that we can do things that are good and meritorious of God’s favor.
a. What does the term worthy (axiōs—#516) mean?
b. Based upon the definition of worthy, what does the phrase walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you actually mean?
10. In v. 12 Paul states that it is God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. Does this statement reinforce or refute the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation? Explain.
11. Paul states that God’s calling is, ultimately, into His own kingdom and glory. What is the significance of the terms kingdom (basileia—#932) and glory (doxa—#1391). What do they refer to?
Traits of Spiritual Leaders Part 1
1. As Paul defends himself against accusations by his enemies, he begins by refuting three specific allegations, listed in v. 5 . . . flattering speech, greed and seeking glory. What do these terms mean?
a pretext for greed--
2. How are these three self-serving motives employed by the world and false shepherds? In other words, what should you be on the lookout for and how do you detect such people?
3. At the end of v. 6 Paul adds the statement, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
a. What does Paul mean by this?
b. Why does Paul make this statement?
4. Following his defense against negative accusations, Paul then begins to list the various positive attributes he and his companions exhibited. He begins in v. 7 by stating, but we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.
a. Compared to his previous statement in v. 6 about not asserting their authority, what does his statement in v. 7 reveal about Paul’s motive and manner of behavior?
b. What is the significance of describing their behavior as being like a nursing mother who tenderly cares for her own children? What image is being portrayed here?
c. What other images are used in Scripture to portray such a compassion and love of the brethren?
5. In v. 8 Paul continues to express his personal affection for the Thessalonians by describing his behavior among them as having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. Considering all that Paul had endured during his missionary journeys, what does this teach about Paul?
6. Interestingly, as Paul will go on to further describe the role and attributes of spiritual leaders, he first begins by describing his personal love and affection for the Thessalonians. What does this teach us about how pastor/shepherds should be motivated and behave toward their flock?
7. In John 10:12-13 the Lord describes false shepherds as hirelings. What are the attitudes and actions of hirelings, compared to truly called shepherds?
Paul Begins His Defense of Himself
1. Paul begins his defense of himself from the accusations of the Jews and pagans in v. 1 with the statement, for you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. We previously examined the words for know, oida (#1492) and ginōskō (#1096). Here in v. 1 Paul uses the term oida. What does his use of this word for know teach us about what the Thessalonians knew?
2. In v. 1 Paul states that our coming to you was not in vain.
a. What does the term in vain (Gr. kenos—#2756) mean?
b. What does its use in v. 1 teach us about what Paul is saying?
3. The second point Paul makes in his defense of himself is found in v. 2 . . . but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
a. To understand the context of Paul’s statement, read Acts 16:11-40. What does this passage reveal about Paul’s treatment in Philippi?
b. Paul speaks of his suffering and mistreatment (Gr. hubrizō—#5195) in Philippi. We see his physical suffering described in Acts 16. What does the term mistreated teach us about what he also endured there?
4. At the end of v. 2 Paul states that we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
a. What does this phrase teach us about the source of our strength and boldness in the face of opposition?
b. The term opposition (Gr. agōn—#73) was a significant word in the Greek culture. What does it mean and what was its cultural significance?
5. Then, having first called on the Thessalonians to remember the events surrounding their first arrival in Thessalonica, in v. 3-4 Paul defends the motives of them, as messengers. In v. 3 Paul begins by denying three motives for which they were accused. Define what each of these errors was.
a. error (Gr. planē—#4106)--
b. impurity (Gr. akatharsia—#153)--
c. deceit (Gr. dolos—#1388)--
d. What is the common theme of these three accusations against Paul?
6. In v. 4 Paul then proceeds to give the one, single motive for his ministry. To help us understand this significant verse, there is one Greek word that is used twice in this verse, but translated in different ways. The terms approved and examine are both translated from the Greek word dokimazō (#1381). This term has a significant meaning. What does it mean?
7. When Paul says that we have been approved by God, the term approved is used in the perfect tense and passive voice. In the second statement Paul states that it is God who examines our hearts. In this statement the term examines is in the present tense and active voice. What does the grammatical construction of these two uses of dokimazō teach us about what Paul is saying here?
8. What does Paul say is his motive for preaching the gospel message in v. 4?
9. What does v. 4 teach us about who is qualified to serve God? Do we choose to serve God or does God choose us to serve? Explain.
The Far-Reaching Testimony of the Thessalonians
Having first given thanks to God for their demonstrated Christian virtues, their election unto salvation and their desire to be imitators of Paul, Silas and Timothy, we come to the final reason for Paul’s thanks to God . . . their testimony of salvation through their witness to the world.
1. Having expressed his joy at their having become imitators of us and of the Lord in v. 6, in v. 7 Paul states the result of their faith . . . so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.
a. In the previous lesson we examined Paul’s statement that you became imitators of us. We saw that the verb you became (Gr. ginomai—#1096) was used in the passive voice, indicating action accomplished upon the Thessalonians by God. Here in v. 7 the verb you became is the same Greek word. But here in v. 7 you became is in the middle voice. What does the use of the middle voice teach us about what was occurring in the Thessalonians?
b. The term example (Gr. tupos—#5179) is a very descriptive word to describe what was happening to the Thessalonians. Define the word and explain its significance as Paul uses it here in v. 7. In other words, what were they examples of?
2. Macedonia was the northern half of ancient Greece and Achaia was the southern half. What is the significance of Paul’s statement that the Thessalonians became an example to all the believers in Macedonian and in Achaia?
3. In v. 8 Paul gives the evidence for his statement of praise in v. 7 . . . For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.
a. What does the phrase the word of the Lord refer to?
b. The verb sounded forth (Gr. exēcheomai—#1837) is in the perfect tense and passive voice. What does this term mean and what is the significance of its grammatical use here?
4. In v. 8 Paul cites the fact that word of the faith and testimony of the Thessalonians has gone beyond Greece, but also in every place . . . What was it that caused the testimony of the Thessalonian church to reach even beyond Greece?
5. What does Paul mean in the final phrase of v. 8, so that we have no need to say anything?
6. In v. 9 Paul uses the plural pronoun, they, in referring to those who had brought him reports of the Thessalonians. Two subjects are reported back to Paul concerning the Thessalonians: the reception Paul and his companions received while in Thessalonica and the change that had occurred in them as a result.
a. The first subject of the reports that had reached Paul were about us what kind of a reception we had with you. What does the term reception (Gr. eisodos—#1529) mean?
b. What does this mean? What subject is Paul addressing when he refers to the kind of reception the missionaries had with the Thessalonians?
c. The second subject of the reports concerning the Thessalonians that had reached Paul was how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God. What is the importance of this statement?
7. In v. 10 we see the significant doctrines that Paul will further address in his two letters to the Thessalonians . . . and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come? What doctrines does Paul touch on here in v. 10?
8. Having reached the end of chapter one, in which Paul expresses his thanks to God for what He has done in the Thessalonian church, summarize Paul’s message here in the first chapter.
Gratitude For The Thessalonians’ Salvation
Paul’s second listed reason for his gratitude to God, given in v. 4-7, is for God’s choice in saving each of the Thessalonian believers.
1. Paul states in v. 4, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you. There are two Greek words that are translated knowing, ginōskō (#1097) and oida (#3609). Ginōskō mean “knowledge that is learned, through personal experience,” while oida signifies “knowledge that is intuitively known, by observation.” In regard to the salvation of the Thessalonians, Paul states in v. 4 that his knowing of their salvation is by oida (i.e. intuitively known, by his observation of them).
a. What is the significance of Paul’s use of the verb oida in reference to his knowing of the salvation of the Thessalonians?
b. Does Paul know, absolutely, that all of the members of the Thessalonian church were saved?
2. Paul refers to the Thessalonians as brethren beloved by God. The term brethren (adelphos—#80) is used 17 times by Paul in this letter. What is the significance of Paul’s use of this term throughout this letter?
3. In the phrase His choice of you, the term choice (eklogē—#1589) means “selection, election” or “called out, by name.”
a. What is the significance of this term in regard to salvation as Paul states here?
b. Paul’s statement, His [God’s] choice of you, affirms the doctrine of election, or God’s sovereignty in salvation, that is found throughout Scripture. What other passages affirm this doctrine? Are there any passages that deny God’s sovereignty in salvation?
4. In 1 Thess. 1:5 Paul states a negative, that our gospel did not come to you in word only. What does this mean?
5. Then, following the negative statement, in v. 5 Paul states 3 positive aspects of the gospel message . . . but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. Explain the significance of each of these three aspects of the gospel message.
the Holy Spirit--
with full conviction—
6. In the second half of v. 5 Paul calls upon the Thessalonians “knowledge” of his motives while he was with them. What is the purpose of this statement?
7. Having expressed his knowledge of their salvation by the evidence he has observed, in v. 6 Paul points to the evidence of their salvation. First Paul points out to the Thessalonians how you also became imitators of us and of the Lord.
a. The verb became (Gr. ginomai—#1096) is in the passive voice. What does this word mean and what is the significance of the verb being in the passive voice.
b. What does the word imitators (Gr. mimētēs—#3402) mean? What is significant about this word as Paul uses it here?
8. In the second half of verse 6 Paul presents a great paradox of the Christian life—suffering and joy. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
a. What does this statement tell us about what was going on in the Thessalonian church? (see Acts 17:4-9)
b. We know from Galatians 5:22-23 that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. But what is joy? See if you can find a biblical definition of joy.
c. How is it possible to simultaneously have suffering and joy? What does this passage reveal that helps answer that question?