These application questions are designed to be preceded by observation questions to provide a self-directed or group study of the book of Thessalonians. Enjoy!
Read 1 Thessalonians Chapter 2 thoroughly and answer the questions below. Consider reading the chapter multiple times.
- As Paul continues to cite evidence that his ministry in Thessalonica was not in vain, he points the Thessalonians to the fact that he had preached the gospel boldly to them even after having suffered persecution for preaching in Philippi (v1-2). Think about your own life. Are there areas where you have lost a boldness in proclaiming your faith for fear of disagreement, conflict, or persecution? Have you allowed the culture to pressure you into keeping your faith quiet and private?
- What are some simple avenues by which you can start being bolder in making your faith known?
- Paul and his companions could stay faithful to the gospel in the midst of persecution because they were concerned with pleasing God (who tests hearts) and not with pleasing man (v4-6). Do you sometimes suffer from a desire to please people instead of pleasing God? What are some dangers of being a people-pleaser rather than a God-pleaser?
- As Paul continues to answer the accusations of his Jewish detractors in Thessalonica, he assures the church that his ministry did not feature error, impurity, deception, flattery, or greed. Why do you think it is important for those sharing the gospel with others to be blameless in these areas?
- After Paul emphasizes the pure and selfless way in which he and his companions ministered in Thessalonica, he says though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ (v6). Paul could have, but chose not to, exercise privilege or authority while among this church. Do you exercise this type of self-denial within your relationships? Or are you likely to demand and expect from others? What might help you to improve in this area?
- In verses 7-8, Paul uses very tender and affectionate language towards this church (like a mother; affectionately desirous of you; ready to share ourselves; very dear to us). His desire for their spiritual growth led him to love and care for them like a parent. Do you possess this type of tenderness towards others? Do you have this type of desire for the spiritual well-being of others? Are you humble enough to express this type of loving care towards others? Or, have you allowed cynicism, apathy, selfishness or pride to harden your heart towards others?
- Can you think of a relationship or relationships in your life right now where you freely express this kind of loving, spiritual care?
- What becomes clear upon reading Paul’s letters is that he was not simply a travelling preacher. His preferred method of ministry centered around loving relationships within which he loved, taught, prayed for and exemplified the faith for others. Why do you think meaningful relationships are God’s chosen vehicle for the Great Commission?
- Why might some not want to enter into meaningful relationships for the spiritual good of others? What advantages might they see in maintaining emotional or relational distance?
- According to verse 9, the love which Paul and his companions had for the church drove them to sacrifice for them. They worked night and day both ministering to the church and seeking to supply their own needs. In what areas have you sacrificed for the spiritual good of others? What more could you be doing?
- Part of Paul’s loving ministry among the Thessalonians included his encouragement that they walk in a manner worthy of God. Such a charge would certainly have required Paul to point out areas where the Thessalonians were not presently living in a godly manner and how they should change. What does this tell us about the nature of love? How does this challenge some common understandings of what love is?
- Paul was thankful to God that the Thessalonians had received the Word of God as it really was – divinely inspired (v13). Why do you think it is important for us to be reminded that the scriptures are the very word of God, and not merely the word of men? How might these two views affect the way we interact with the scripture?
- In verse 19, Paul refers to the Thessalonians as his hope, joy, crown of boasting, and glory. Why do you think it was right for him to think this way? What might need to change in your relationships for you to feel this way about others