BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 19

1 Thessalonians - BibleProject

In this lesson, we will study the book of 1 Thessalonians. We will discuss the background, context, authorship, and date of the book. We will also examine the themes and purpose of 1 Thessalonians, including encouragement, eschatology, holiness, and sanctification. Additionally, we will explore the literary features of the book, such as its structure, flow, rhetoric, and language. Finally, we will consider the historical and cultural relevance of 1 Thessalonians and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 19
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1 Thessalonians - BibleProject

I. Introduction to 1 Thessalonians

A. Background and Context

B. Authorship and Date

C. Recipients and Occasion

II. Themes and Purpose of 1 Thessalonians

A. Encouragement and Exhortation

B. Eschatology and Second Coming

C. Holiness and Sanctification

III. Outline and Literary Features of 1 Thessalonians

A. Structure and Flow

B. Rhetoric and Language

IV. Application and Significance of 1 Thessalonians

A. Historical and Cultural Relevance

B. Personal and Spiritual Relevance

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.
BP150-19 - 1 Thessalonians Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. This is most likely the earliest letter that we have from Paul. And the back story for it is found in the Book of Acts. It's where Paul and his coworker Silas went to the ancient Greek city of Thessalonica. And after just one month of telling people the good news about Jesus, a large number of Jewish and Greek people gave their allegiance to Jesus and they formed the first church community there. But trouble was brewing. Paul's announcement of the risen Jesus as the true Lord of the world, it led to suspicion. So the Christians in Thessalonica were eventually accused of defying Caesar, the Roman emperor, when they said that there is another King Jesus. And this led to a persecution that got so intense, Paul and Silas actually had to flee from the city. And this was painful for them because they loved the people there so much. And so this letter is Paul's attempt to reconnect with the Christians in Thessalonica after he got a report from Timothy that they were doing more than okay, they were flourishing despite this intense persecution. He designed the letter to have two main movements. First is a celebration of their faithfulness to Jesus. And then he challenges them to keep growing as followers of Jesus. And then these two movements are surrounded by three prayers. The letter opens with the Thanksgiving prayer. The two movements are linked together by a transitional prayer. And then the whole thing is concluded with a final prayer as a beautiful design. Paul opens by giving thanks and celebrating the Thessalonians faith, their love for others, and their hope in Jesus despite persecution. He goes on to retell the story of their conversion, how they used to be idolatrous polytheists, and they were living in a culture where all of life was permeated by institutions and practices that honored the Greek and Roman gods. And Paul talks about how they turned away from those idols to serve the living and true God, and that they're now waiting for the coming of God son from heaven. So in a city like Thessalonica, transferring your allegiance to the Creator, God of Israel, and to King Jesus, this came at a cost. Isolation from your neighbors, hostility from your family. But for the Thessalonians, the overwhelming love of Jesus who died for them and the hope of his return. It made it all worth it. Paul then retells the story of his mission in Thessalonica and of the dear friendships he formed with the people. He uses really intimate metaphors here. They treated him like their child, and he became like their mother and like their father, he says. We were happy to share with you not only the good news from God, but our very selves because we came to dearly love you. Paul reminds us here that the essence of Christian leadership is not about power and having influence. It's about healthy relationships and humble, loving service. He reminds them that he never asked for money. He simply came to love and serve them in the name of Jesus. And so Paul moves on to reflect on their common persecution, just like Jesus was rejected and killed by his own people. So now Paul is persecuted by his fellow Jews, and the Thessalonians are facing hostility from their Greek neighbors. And Paul draws a strange comfort from knowing that together their sufferings are a way of participating in the story of Jesus, his own life and death. Paul then shares about the anguish he experienced when he heard of the hardships the Thessalonians had after he and Silas fled. So he sent Timothy to support them and see how they were doing. And to his joy, Timothy discovered that they were going strong. They were faithful to Jesus. They were full of love for God and their neighbors. And they longed to see Paul as much as he longed to see them. And so Paul concludes with a prayer for endurance. And what's cool is that he introduces here the topics he's going to address in the letter. Second half, he prays that God will grow their capacity to love. That He'll strengthen their commitment to holiness as they fix their hope on the return of King Jesus. So He opens the letter Second movement by challenging them to a life that's consistent with the teachings of Jesus. So this means, first of all, a serious commitment to holiness and sexual purity, in contrast to the promiscuous, sexually destructive culture around them. They are to follow Jesus's teaching about experiencing the beauty and the power of sex within the haven of a committed marriage covenant relationship. God takes sexual misbehavior seriously. Paul says it dishonors and destroys people and their dignity. Following Jesus also means a commitment to loving and serving others. So Paul instructs them that Christians should be known in the city as reliable people who work really hard not just to make money, but so that they can have resources to provide for themselves and to generously share with people who are in need. After this, Paul addresses a number of questions the Thessalonians had raised about the future hope of Jesus return. So some Christians in the church had recently died. Most likely killed as martyrs. And their friends and family are wondering about their. Their fate when Jesus returns. And so Paul makes it clear that despite their grief and loss, not even death can separate Christians from the love of Jesus. When he returns as king, he will call both the living and the dead to himself. And Paul uses a really cool image here. He uses language that would normally describe how a city subject to the Roman Caesar would send out a delegation to welcome or meet his arrival. Paul then applies this imagery to the arrival of King Jesus. He, too, will be greeted by a delegation of his people who will go to meet the Lord in the air as they welcome and escort him back to this world where he'll establish his kingdom of justice and peace. Paul then wants the Thessalonians to see how this hope should motivate faithfulness to Jesus. So he pokes fun at the famous Roman propaganda that it's Caesar who brings peace and security. Of course, Rome's peace came through violence through enslaving their enemies and military occupation. And Paul warns that Jesus will return as king one day and confront this kind of injustice. Followers of King Jesus should live in the present as if that future day is already here. Despite the nighttime of human evil around them, they should stay sober and awake as the light of God's kingdom dawns here on Earth as it is in heaven. Paul closes all of these exhortations, like he began with a hopeful prayer that God would permeate their lives with His Holiness, that He would set them apart to be completely devoted and blameless until the return of King Jesus. First Thessalonians reminds us that from the very beginning, following Jesus as King has produced a truly countercultural or holy way of life, and this will sometimes generate suspicion and conflict among our neighbors. But the response of Jesus followers to such hostility should always be love meeting opposition with grace and generosity and this way of life. It's motivated by hope in the coming kingdom of Jesus that has already begun in his resurrection from the dead. And so holiness, love and future hope. That's what first Thessalonians is all about.