Safe Harbor

“But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you into salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth. Into this He also called you by our gospel—into obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brothers, stand firm and…

Have You Missed the Train?

Paul opens 2 Thessalonians chapter two by expounding on the revelation of Christ and the gathering of believers into Him.  Apparently, some claimed the day of the Lord had come.  It’s not a stretch to imagine these same people suggested the Thessalonians were suffering because God rejected them and was judging them.   Paul urges…

Love, not Law

The following appeared in our local paper’s religion column last weekend. It is a revision of a previous post, “Love, not Law”. The paper re-titled it “What Complete Freedom Means.” *** “Christ has liberated us to be free.  Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). Most Christians know…

Big Reveal

“To the called out Thessalonians in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:1). Paul starts his first and second letters to the Thessalonians with an almost identical address.  He is writing Thessalonians who were called out, who are now in God and Jesus.  Called out of the world and into…

Jesus Is Coming. Look Busy.

Paul ends his letter to the Thessalonians with final instructions for the community. His directives culminate in verses 23 and 24: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will…

Dead or Alive

“Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring in union with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). Paul has been talking with the Thessalonians about what they have suffered because of their belief in Jesus. His aim in writing is to connect the Thessalonians’…

Parousia: Present or Coming?

Throughout First and Second Thessalonians, Paul uses the Greek word, “parousia.” More often than not, “parousia” is translated “coming” and denotes Christ’s second coming.   The Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich Greek lexicon notes that parousia can be translated “coming” or “presence” and was used in two main ways.  The first described the invisible presence of…

IN

In 1 Thessalonians chapter four, Paul turns to discussing behavior and growing in separation to the Lord (1 Thess. 4:1-12).  But he starts with a phrase, easily overlooked, that provides vital context for what follows: “We ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus….” (1 Thess. 4:1).  In other words, “in Jesus” is where Paul’s…

Circulation

First Thessalonians three finds Paul relieved that the Thessalonians are continuing to believe Jesus despite persecution: “For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord” (1 Thess. 3:8).  This is an expression of happiness but also much more. Paul has written much about the Thessalonians’ participation in the sufferings of Jesus, as well…

Laid into Suffering

In 1 Thessalonians 2:17 and 18, Paul remembers being forced to leave Thessalonica—their time cut short by a mob that attacked, abused, and jailed some of them (Acts 17:5-9).  Paul talks affectionately of their desire to return but says satan hindered them. Acts 17:13-15 tells the full story: Paul and co. went to Berea after…