Lesson 1: Promises for the Persecuted2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
For this lesson, I have taken the Living Bible Translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 and presented it below as a letter. Please read this letter to the church at Thessalonica, then answer the questions below.
Written By Paul in Corinth around 51-52 A.D.
Greetings from Paul
This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. It is written to the church in Thessalonica, you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Dear brothers and sisters,
We always thank God for you, as is right, for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing and you are all growing in love for each other. We proudly tell God's other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering. But God will use this persecution to show his justice. For he will make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering, and in his justice he will punish those who persecute you.
And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power when he comes to receive glory and praise from his holy people.
And you will be among those praising him on that day, for you believed what we testified about him. And so we keep on praying for you, that our God will make you worthy of the life to which he called you. And we pray that God, by his power, will fulfill all your good intentions and faithful deeds. Then everyone will give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus because of you, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
- Paul wrote this letter, many believe, shortly after he wrote 1 Thessalonians and probably in response to the report his messenger gave him upon returning from delivering the first letter. Based on this new letter, what do you believe the messenger told Paul about the Christians at Thessalonica?
- Have you ever considered that Christ’s return could happen today? When you have, what has your reaction been? How could it affect your current and future plans?
- How could being under heavy persecution affect your belief regarding Christ’s return? Is it possible this was also the case at Thessalonica?
- What do you suppose the church at Thessalonica was being persecuted for?
- Paul writes that two groups of people will be judged immediately upon Christ’s second return. Can you list them? As a hint, they are described as "those that don't ___________" and "those that ___________.".
- Do you suppose that the groups referenced in the previous question might represent the disbelieving Jews and Gentiles who will persecute followers of Christ during the Tribulation period?
- Paul writes "they will be punished with everlasting destruction," which he defines as "forever separated from ____________."
- Is the above the same judgment as the "White Throne" judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15, where the books are opened and people are judged by what is written in them?
- We will be "among those praising him on that day." What day is that? When will this occur?
- How did Paul believe that this writing would be encouraging to the folks at Thessalonica, and to us?
May God bless you as we continue to study God’s Word together.