Bible Reading Plan: Jan 15th – 19th: Galatians 6, 1 Thessalonians 1 – 4
|January 15th||January 16th||January 17th||January 18th||January 19th|
|Galatians 6||1 Thessalonians 1||1 Thessalonians 2||1 Thessalonians 3||1 Thessalonians 4|
We finish Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia (Asia) and move on to his first letter to a European church.
Galatians 6 demonstrates the ongoing love and care we need to have for one another. So carry one another’s burdens rather than judging and be sure to check our own heart first. What we sow, we will reap! Sow to please the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian churches picks up that theme of love and faith working together but highlights the patience and endurance that is often required to see sowing actually resulting in reaping.
Paul’s gospel brought personal challenge and yet the church grew with Paul reflecting:
- You became imitators of us (1 Thess 1:6)
- You became a model to all believers (1 Thess 1:7)
- Your faith has become known everywhere (1 Thess 1:8)
This pattern of behaviour was sparked by Paul …
- Daring to tell them the gospel despite beatings
- Sharing his life without any barriers
Thanksgiving punctuates Paul’s letter
- We always thank God for all of you because of your work, labour & endurance (1 Thess 1:2)
- We thank God continually because of the way you accepted the Word of God (1 Thess 2:13)
- We thank God for the joy we have in the presence of our God (1 Thess 3:9)
Questions to consider
- Who are you thankful for? Be specific why?
- Throughout Thessalonians Paul gives thanks through prayer for the believers. Pray for each member of your household or family, thanking God for each of them. What do you see in them?
- What qualities do you demonstrate that you would want others to imitate?
- What qualities do you see in others that you want to imitate yourself?
Once Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) was extensively evangelised Paul began looking for new places to go. God spoke to him in a dream and that led to Europe becoming Paul’s new target (Acts 16).
Initially Paul stopped at Philippi where the first church was established but persecution soon started. After being imprisoned and beaten, Paul then moved to Thessalonica. This was the capital city for the whole province of Macedonia. A major trading transport hub and safe harbour for the trade between Europe and Asia. Once again, the attacks started and Paul was forced to leave the new church to survive on its own.
The new leaders of the Thessalonian church, who were actually young Christians themselves, suffered prison and beatings because Paul had escaped. But the church not only survived but became the model church for the whole region.
Paul, the apostle, is clearly stated as the author. This letter matches the tone and style of writing of his other letters.
Paul shows himself as a father not just a powerful apostle and church planter. He has wanted to visit but has been stopped on 3 occasions. With no mobile phones or social media, he has not been able to find out news. His relief at getting a good report from Timothy is clear from the tone of this letter. Constantly praying, longing to see them and now overflowing with thanksgiving.
Paul was a very humble man, aware of his weaknesses but also a faith filled man, aware of God’s greatness. This enabled God to use him to teach the new church how to walk in grace and not revert to religion.