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 more than 45 years ago.]
The Thessalonians Work
1 Thessalonians 1:2-10
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Do you hear the tone of this letter? It is filled with love — Paul’s love for the church. These are very people to the apostle. They are people Paul had led to Christ. People he taught, guided and discipled. People he had been forced to leave.
“We” give thanks. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy gave thanks to God for every member of the church. “For you all” means “around you all.” It is the idea of “encircling” someone. “Making mention” is a favorite phrase of Paul’s. He often uses it in the context of praying for believers (Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; Philemon 4). “In our prayers.” Paul uses the Greek word for general prayers to God. In all of Paul’s prayers to God he thanked God for the Thessalonians believers.
“Without ceasing” comes before “remembering.” The literal reads “mention making in the prayers of us, unceasingly remembering of you.” Paul often uses the term “without ceasing” in the context of prayers (Romans 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:13; 5:17; 2 Timothy 1:3). The word is also found in Acts 12:5. That was when Jewish believers prayed “without ceasing” for Peter when Herod put him in prison. The Greeks used the word in the sense that they prayed for someone every time they prayed. It didn’t mean that the people never did anything but pray. They held jobs, slept, ate, raised a family, etc. But their concern was so great that they always remembered certain people in their prayers. That’s how Paul prayed for the Thessalonians. Otherwise, when would he preach and teach if he was praying all the time?
“Remembering your work of faith.” To remember is to “be mindful of.” “Work of faith” means the actions that result from faith. Paul makes it very clear that works cannot save an individual (Romans 3:27; 4:4; 11:6; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 10; Ephesians 2:9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). In fact, it’s just the opposite. Our works condemn us. Salvation comes through o only one channel — the Grace of God (Romans 3:24; 4:16; 5:1-2, 15, 17, 20-21; Ephesians 2:5-8). We cannot earn salvation. We don’t deserve salvation. We cannot be born into it. Salvation is a free gift — given from the heart of a gracious and forgiving God.
Unfortunately, these are the only notes from our study of 1 Thessalonians in the 1970s that we still have in our possession. We hope that what we’ve been able to share will encourage you to continue your personal study of this amazing book.
You can download an eBook of the Teaching Notes here.
[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.]