Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians contain a total of eight chapters. All these chapters are on the same subject: a holy life for the church life. Whenever we read 1 and 2 Thessalonians, we should not be distracted by other matters. No doubt, in the eight chapters of these two books a number of other points are covered. We need to be careful in our reading not to be distracted by these points. As we read 1 and 2 Thessalonians, we need to keep in mind that the central thought of these Epistles is a holy life for the church life.
This holy life for the church life is constructed of faith, love, and hope. The way to carry out such a life is to be sanctified wholly. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If we would be sanctified wholly, we need to have our heart established blameless in holiness, and we need to preserve our vessel, our body, in sanctification and honor. Furthermore, all the parts of our being—our spirit, our soul, and our body—need to be preserved complete. This is to sanctify our entire being to have a holy life for the proper church life.
In 2 Thessalonians Paul repeats much of what he has said in 1 Thessalonians. Like a father with a loving heart toward his children, Paul is repetitious. This is characteristic of parents, especially as they grow older. Again and again, they may say the same thing to their children. Therefore, 2 Thessalonians is a repetition and a further development of 1 Thessalonians. It is a repetition with warnings and corrections. In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul warns the believers not to be misled. He also corrects them in order to bring them back to the right track. Nevertheless, the main subject—the holy life for the church life—is the same in both books. Furthermore, in both 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians we see the basic structure of the Christian life, a structure that includes faith, love, and hope.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 4 Paul says, “We ought to thank God always concerning you, brothers, even as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each one of you all to one another is increasing, so that we ourselves boast in you in the churches of God for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions which you are bearing.” In verse 3 Paul speaks of the believers’ faith and love. He says that their faith is growing and that their love is increasing. In 1 Thessalonians 3:2 Paul says that he sent Timothy to establish and encourage the Thessalonians for the sake of their faith. From 1 Thessalonians 3:10 we learn that Paul was eager to see them again in order to perfect what was lacking in their faith. In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 Paul also urged the believers to increase in love: “And the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love to one another and to all, even as we also to you.” In 1 Thessalonians 4:9 Paul goes on to tell the believers that they have been taught of God to love one another. Therefore, in 1 Thessalonians Paul was concerned that the believers’ faith would be perfected and that their love would increase and abound. Now in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul encourages the new believers at Thessalonica by saying that the apostles thank God because their faith grows exceedingly and because their love is increasing. This indicates that, as Paul repeats the matter of faith and love, he adds a word of encouragement.
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