MAILBOX BIBLE COURSE
LETTERS TO THESSALONIANS by William MacDonald
Welcome to our Mailbox Bible Study Course. We trust you will enjoy
these lessons as much as we did composing them. We are glad to be
to serve the Lord and you in this way. Many are being saved and
through these simple Bible lessons. We suggest that you try to do
lesson each week; this will keep your interest in them active. This
particular course contains a verse by verse study on 1st & 2nd
Thessalonians . Please save this lesson onto your computer, read the
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© Copyright Walterick Publishing Ministries, Inc. - Kansas City
Kansas - Used by Permission
I am ever grateful also to William MacDonald for permission
granted to me to use the following book for email courses
lessons. Copyright Walterick Publishing Ministries, Inc. - Kansas
Kansas - Used by Permission.
All Courses are copyright and may not be used as Courses without
LESSON 1 LETTERS TO
In this commentary we adopt the following chronology of future
because we believe that it best harmonizes with the entire body of
1. First the rapture, that is, the coming of Christ for His saints.
comes to the air, the dead in Christ are raised, living believers
changed, and all go to the Father's house. This could take place at
moment, and will take place in a moment of time. The principal
references to the rapture are John 14:1-4; 1 Corinthians
Philippians 3:20,21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians
2:1; Hebrews 9:28; 10:37; James 5:7-9; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Revelation
2. Following the rapture, two important events will take place in
heaven: the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage supper of the
Lamb. The believer's works will be reviewed at the judgment seat of
Christ, and he will be rewarded or suffer loss (Rom. 14:10-12; 1
3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:7,8). The marriage supper of the Lamb
will celebrate the glorification of the church as the bride of the
3. Following the rapture, the earth faces a time known as the
tribulation period. It may not start immediately after the rapture;
there may be an interim period during which there will be a
apostasy, a false messiah known as the man of lawlessness will be
revealed, and the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (2 Thes.
The tribulation itself will be a period of approximately seven years
(the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy) during which God will
out judgments of ever-increasing intensity upon the earth (Dan.
Matt. 24:4-28; Rev. 6-19). The last half of the period is known as
great tribulation; it will witness distress and disasters of
unprecedented severity (Matt. 24:15-31).
The tribulation marks the beginning of a longer period of time known
the day of the Lord when God directly intervenes in the affairs of
world, primarily with regard to the nation of Israel, but also in
reference to the Gentile nations (Ezek. 30:1-5; Joel 2:1-11; 1
5:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:2, ASV). The day of the Lord extends to the end of
this world's history (2 Pet. 3:10).
Toward the end of the great tribulation, the Lord Jesus will return
from heaven to earth to destroy His enemies and to inaugurate His
millennial kingdom (Zech. 14:4; Mal. 4:1-3; Matt. 24:3,27,30,37,39;
Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2:8; Jude 14; Rev. 1:7;
19:11-16). All Old Testament references and most New Testament
references to Christ's second advent deal with this event.
The 1000-year reign of Christ on earth will be an era of peace and
prosperity (Isa. 2:4; Amos 9:13-15). He will reign with Jerusalem as
His capital (Isa. 2:2,3; Jer. 3:17; Zech. 14:10,17,18), the church
His bride (Rev. 20:4; 21:9-27; 22:1-5), and Israel as His principal
subjects (Deut. 28:13; Zech. 8:3,10-13), though Gentiles will also
share in the blessings of His kingdom. It will be a time of
longevity, and equity (Isa. 32:1; 35:1-7; 65:17-25; Rev. 20:4).
6. Following Christ's kingdom, Satan will be cast into the lake of
(Rev. 20:10), the heavens and the earth will be destroyed by fire (2
Pet. 3:7-13), and the wicked dead will receive their final doom at
judgment of the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15).
7. The final chapter is the eternal state, consisting of new heavens
and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).
Not all Christians will agree with this chronology. There are
other viewpoints. And quite frankly there are difficulties no matter
which viewpoint you hold. It is the nature of prophecy to be clear
to the major facts but not always clear on details until the events
So we offer this interpretation not as the final word but as a point
departure. It will give the student an outline of coming events. He
start with this and reject or modify it as he feels necessary from
own private study of the Word.
It was during Paul's second missionary journey that the light of the
gospel first broke in upon the darkness of Thessalonica (Acts
Here is how it happened:
After Paul and Silas had been released from jail in Philip-pi, they
travelled to Thessalonica via Amphipolis and Apollonia. Thessalonica
that time was a strategic city, both commercially and politically.
to form Paul went to the Jewish synagogue and showed from the Old
Testament that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. He
then went on to declare that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised
Messiah. That lasted for three Saturdays. Some of the Jews were
convinced, and took their place with Paul and Silas as Christian
believers. Also, many of the Greek proselytes and quite a few of the
leading women of the city were converted. Then the backlash started.
The unbelieving Jews rounded up some of the hoodlums from the
marketplace, incited a riot, and besieged the house of Jason where
and Silas had been staying. When they didn't find the preachers in
house, they dragged Jason and some of the other believers before the
city rulers (politarchs), accusing them of having turned the world
upside down. It was an unintended compliment. Then they charged the
Christians with plotting the overthrow of Caesar by promoting
king named Jesus. The politarchs were troubled. They required Jason
his colleagues to post bail, probably adding strict orders for his
guests to get out of town. Then Jason and the others were released.
The Christian brothers in Thessalonica decided that it would be wise
for the preachers to leave town, so they sent them by night to
The remarkable thing is that when Paul and Silas departed, they left
behind a local assembly of believers who were instructed in the
doctrines of faith and who were unmoved by the persecution they
endured. It would be easy to conclude from Acts 17:2 that Paul and
companions were in Thessalonica for only three Sabbaths. However,
may have been only the duration of their teaching ministry in the
synagogue. Some suggest that Paul and his team may have spent as
as three months in the city. The apostle's letters to them show that
the Thessalonians had a broad acquaintance with Christian doctrine,
they could scarcely have received this in three or four weeks.
From Berea Paul went to Athens (Acts 17:15). There he heard that the
believers in Thessalonica were being persecuted. He tried to visit
them, but Satan hindered (1 Thess. 2:17,18), so he sent Timothy to
(3:1,2). Timothy brought back a report that was, on the whole,
encouraging (3:6-8), and this prompted the apostle to write this
letter. In it, he defends his ministry against slanderous attacks;
calls for separation from the prevailing immorality of that culture;
corrects misapprehensions about those who had died in Christ; he
rebukes those who had quit working in view of Christ's coming; and
urges the saints to respect their spiritual leaders.
This is probably the first book of the New Testament to be written,
certainly the first of Paul's letters. It is generally dated AD
placing it within 20 years of the resurrection and ascension of the
One of the most important themes of 1 Thessalonians is the return of
the Lord Jesus. It is mentioned at least once in each of the five
chapters. G. R. Harding Wood put these references together and came
with the following excellent outline:
The Christian who is expecting the return of the Lord Jesus has no
1. Idols in his heart (1:9,10)
2. Slackness in his service (2:9,19)
3. Divisions in his fellowship (3:12,13)
4. Depression in his mind (4:13-18)
5. Sin in his life (5:23)
I. INTRODUCTION (1:1)
A. The author and his associates (v. la): Paul, and
Silvanus, and Timothy
B. The persons addressed (v. Ib): unto the church
1. Geographical designation: of the Thessalonians
2. Spiritual position: in God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ C. The greeting (v. 1c): Grace to you and peace
1:1 The letter opens with the names of three men who had been
of turning the world upside down. The charge was intended as a
it was actually a tribute.
Paul was the author of the letter. Silvanus and Timothy were
with him at the time, so he included their names. Silvanus is the
as Silas, the one who had sung a duet with Paul in the prison at
Philippi (Acts 16:25). Timothy is the young brother from Lystra who
joined Paul just before the trip to Thessalonica (Acts 16:1).
The letter was written to the church of the Thessalonians in God the
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The word church was used at that
to describe any kind of an assembly, so Paul wants to make it clear
that this is not a heathen assembly but one that is related to God
Father and Jesus Christ as Lord.
The greeting "grace . . . and peace" embraces the best blessings
anyone could enjoy on this side of heaven. Grace is God's undeserved
favour in every aspect of our lives. Peace is the unruffled
which defies the crashing, crushing circumstances of life. Grace is
cause and peace the effect.
II. PAUL'S INTEREST IN THE SAINTS (1:2,3)
A. His gratitude for them (v. 2a): We give thanks to God always for
B. His prayers for them (v. 2b): making mention of you in our
C. His constant remembrance of them (v. 3): remembering without
1. The virtues remembered
a) Faith: your work of faith
b) Love: and labour of love
c) Hope: and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
2. The place of remembrance: before our God and
1:2 Whenever Paul prayed he mentioned the Thessalonians. (Are we as
faithful in remembering our Christian brothers?) And it was always
thanksgiving that he prayed for them, as he thought of their work of
faith, their labour of love, and their patience of hope.
1:3 Their work of faith probably refers primarily to their
to God. This description of faith as a work reminds us of the time
some of the people asked Jesus, "What shall we do, that we might
the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the
of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:28,29). In
this sense, faith is an act or deed. But it is not toil by which a
earns merit or in which he can boast. In fact, it is the only work
man can perform without robbing Christ of His glory as Saviour and
without denying his own status as a helpless sinner. Faith is a
non-meritorious work by which the creature acknowledges his Creator
the sinner acknowledges his Saviour. Of course the expression '
of faith" also includes the life of faith which follows conversion.
In addition to their work of faith, Paul remembered their labour of
love. This speaks, of course, of their service for God motivated by
love to the Lord Jesus. Christianity is not a life to be endured for
duty's sake, but a Person to be served for love's sake. To be His
is perfect freedom, and "love for Him makes drudgery divine."
to love, the profit motive is a cheap, tawdry inducement. Love for
Christ draws forth service that the dollar would never inspire. The
Thessalonians were living testimonies to this fact.
Finally, Paul was thankful for their patience of hope. This speaks
their steadfast waiting for Jesus. They had been undergoing
as a result of their valiant stand for Christ. But no cracks had
appeared in what Phillips calls their "sheer dogged endurance
The place of remembrance is indicated by the phrase "before our God
Father.'' As Paul entered the presence of God in prayer, he
the spiritual birth and growth of the saints and breathed out his
thanksgiving for their faith, love, and hope.
TEST PAGE LESSON 1 OF LESSON 76 LETTERS TO THE THESSALONIANS
Place a T (True) or F(False) for your answer at the beginning or end
1. Thing must get worse before the Rapture takes place.
2. The Jewish temple will be built again.
3. During the 1000 years reign the Battle of Armageddon will
4. Paul first visited the Thessalonians on his first
5. The Letter may have been the first one written in the
Fill in the blank spaces with the correct word/s
6. _____is the cause and ___ is the ________
7. Paul ____________their ______of love.
8. _____was _________for the patience of ______
9. When ...............prayed he..................Thessalonians
10. Paul ______the ____to ______ their _____leaders
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