The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Image result for paul writing letters

Reading Paul’s letters, or Epistles, is much like listening to one side of a phone conversation. Since everyone seems to have cell phones these days, it is easy to hear one side of a conversation almost anywhere. If you are like me, you try to imagine what the person on the other side of the phone is saying. Often, you can deduce what is happening in the life of the person talking on the phone. We can do the same with the letters to the Thessalonians. We can assume that Paul was answering questions that they had asked. This type of reading is called “mirror reading.”

We think Timothy brought Paul questions from the Thessalonians. How do we honor God in our sexuality? What happens when someone dies? After hearing this from Timothy, Paul wrote the Thessalonians a letter.[1] In this letter, Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians and tells them that he is constantly praying for them.[2] He reminds them of all that he had taught them while he was there. He tells them that he wants to see them again, even though Satan has prevented that to this point. He encourages them by telling how they are his pride and joy.[3]

Then Paul goes onto address their questions. God’s will for them is to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. As they each control their own body, they will live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways. They should continue to love others. Paul tells them that they don’t have to grieve like people who don’t have hope when someone dies. They know that Jesus was raised from the dead and when He returns, God will bring back with Him the believers who have died. Then we will all be with the Lord forever. So, Paul told them to encourage each other with these words.[4]

As for the return of Jesus, Paul said, you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.For you are all children of the light and of the day; they, like Paul, don’t belong to darkness and night. But let those who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as a helmet the confidence of salvation. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

This letter was hand carried to the Thessalonians by Timothy and Silas.[5] And the letter of 1 Thessalonians is still with us today. Paul continues to pastor the 21st century church through his epistles.

To hear more about Paul and what he did in Corinth, listen here:

[1] Mirror reading of 1 Thessalonians

[2] 1 Thess. 1:2-3

[3] 1 Thess. 1-3

[4] 1 Thess. 4

[5] Frank Viola, The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA, 2004, page 103.

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