Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of studies about 1 Thessalonians.
[These notes are from a study from more than 45 years ago.]
The Thessalonians History
1 Thessalonians 1:1 — “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bible study that “rightly divides” the Scriptures begins with careful observation … mental awareness of what we see. Observation is probably the most tedious and least glamorous part of Bible study, but without it our study lacks proper foundation. We can never be sure we’re right about anything if our observation is sloppy.
To observe is to see everything. We must be aware of every term, every phrase, every clause, every sentence. Our observation must be exact and persistent. We must not become weary or afraid. God speaks through His Word, but we must be alert with a will to learn.
Between Observation and Interpretation are Interpretive Questions. This is where an observation leads us to ask — “What did the writer mean by that” or “Why did they do that?” The answers to our questions led to our interpretations.
Evaluation, Application and Correlation follow Interpretation. This is where the Bible student assesses the worth of a statement, determines the application of truth to life and coordinates their findings to other Scriptures and to facts found outside the Scriptures.
Introduction to Thessalonians
We begin our study of 1 Thessalonians with an observation of three names — Paul, Silvanus and Timotheus. This was a very common way of beginning a letter in ancient times. The writer introduced himself/herself first, followed by the names of friends known to the person or persons receiving the letter.
We are introduced to Paul in Acts 7:58. His Jewish name was Saul. He became the chief prosecutor of the Jewish followers of Jesus Christ. However, Saul’s life was forever changed when he met the Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Paul (his Roman name) became the strongest and most active preacher of the Christian message. God used him in a mighty way in the lives of Gentiles and jews in many countries.
God used Paul to introduce a new spiritual economy … a new way of dealing with His people. Paul ushered in “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). It was a mystery — a secret — that God had kept hidden until He revealed it to Paul. The secret? “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:3-9).
For two-thousand years God had worked exclusively through a chosen nation — Israel. The Jews were the people of God’s covenants. Gentiles were aliens from God’s promises (Ephesians 2:11-13). But God used Paul to reveal a new plan to the world. The bloody death of Jesus Christ brought Gentiles and Jews into a new spiritual body. Christ abolished (katargeo — to reduce to inactivity) the Jewish legal system and made one new man out of Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:13-22). That was the message Paul preached everywhere he went, including Thessalonica.
We will continue to look at the Introduction to 1 Thessalonians in the next part of our special series.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]