Chapter 2

Knowing God Through Thessalonians

In AD 50, Paul entered the Greek city of Thessalonica and held services in a Jewish synagogue on 3 successive sabbaths before being driven out by hostile Jews. But during his brief ministry there he led to Christ some of the Jews, “a great multitude of the devout Greeks [Gentiles who had been attracted to the Jewish faith because of its highly moral monotheism], and not a few of the leading women” (Acts 17:4).

Paul was in Corinth a few months later where he received an encouraging report about the continuing spiritual vitality of these recent converts. However, he also learned that a few problems had developed. It appears that some people had understood him to say that the second coming of Christ would take place very soon. As a result, a number of them had quit working and were either living off their savings or depending on others for their necessities. So they needed encouragement, instruction, and correction.

For their encouragement, Paul commended them for their devotion to Christ, telling them that believers in other cities were impressed with the way they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven” (1 Th. 1:9- 10). He then went on to instruct them carefully and to correct them lovingly about the manner in which they were to wait for Jesus.

Paul’s words of instruction and correction can be summarized under three headings: waiting expectantly, waiting knowledgeably, and waiting appropriately.

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