Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
I Thessalonians was written to a group of people who were confused about Jesus’s return. I & II Thessalonians are eschatological letters. They contain some of the clearest teachings about Jesus coming back, outside of II Peter. But there’s a lot more to I Thessalonians than just teachings about the end of earth (unlike II Thessalonians).
Four out of the five chapters are all about how we’re supposed to operate as a church family while waiting for Jesus to come get us. We know from II Thessalonians that some people were teaching them that Jesus had already come back. They were afraid that he’d already taken away everyone who’d get to live with him forever, and this was causing them to panic. Paul wanted them to know that God expects us to live morally good lives while we’re waiting for him to return.
The entire book might be summarized like this — “God wants you to live morally excellent lives while you wait for Jesus to come back. Always be proactive in loving each other as a church family. Pursue moral goodness at all times. Never give in to the world’s pressures, but do whatever it takes to be faithful until Jesus returns. If you do your part, Jesus will make sure that you’re ready for him to come back.”
Next week, we’ll look at how the first part of the book applies to Christians in the 21st century. In fact, this entire study is going to look at I Thessalonians through the lens of modern application. Technical study is important and has its place, but our study will focus exclusively on the application side.