These application questions are designed to be preceded by observation questions to provide a self-directed or group study of the book of 2nd Thessalonians. Find all 2nd Thessalonians resources here. Enjoy!
Consider reading this chapter multiple times before answering the following questions.
2 Thessalonians 1 – Application Questions
- One way to determine where our desires and priorities lie is by considering what we are willing to give thanks for. In verse 3, Paul gives thanks for the Thessalonian’s growing faith, and increasing love. Have there been times when you’ve given thanks to God for the spiritual growth you have observed in others? If not, why do you think this is?
- Paul was especially thankful for the Thessalonians growth in faith and love because it was happening while they were experiencing persecution and affliction. Why do you think spiritual growth in the midst of suffering is something to give special thanks for?
- According to verse 4, Paul boasted about the Thessalonian’s steadfast faith to the other churches. Why do you think Paul would do this?
- Consider a time when hearing about the steadfast faith of a fellow believer, in the midst of difficulty, has been an encouragement to you.
- How should this encourage us to handle suffering?
- In verse 5, Paul seeks to give the Thessalonians encouragement as they suffer for Christ’s sake. Yet, these things might not be an encouragement to everyone who reads them. What priorities must one have in order for the things he mentions to be an encouragement?
- In verse 5, Paul refers to persecutions and afflictions of the Thessalonians as evidence of the righteous judgment of God. In doing so, Paul is emphasizing God’s justice. Why do you think it is important to reflect upon God’s justice when we suffer?
- The Thessalonians were suffering much at the hands of other people. According to verse 6, God in his justice, would punish those who were afflicting them. In what ways should the fact that God will judge everyone justly in the future affect the way we respond to others who harm us here and now?
- As Paul encourages the Thessalonians to endure their affliction with faith and love intact, he assures them that God will judge their persecutors. However, in verse 7 he reveals that the ultimate judgment will not take place until the future return of Christ. Since perfect justice will not occur until the coming of Christ, what attitudes must we keep while we live in this life?
- What temptations might someone succumb to if they do not trust that God will execute perfect judgment in the future?
- On one hand, believers are told to show mercy and not repay their afflicters in kind (Rom 12:17; 1 Pet 3:9; 1 Thess 5:15); on the other hand, they are to take encouragement from the fact that Jesus is going to return and inflict vengeance upon those who are responsible for their affliction. How can we reconcile these two things?
- In verse 8, Paul describes the gospel as something which must be obeyed. Does the way you share the gospel with others communicate the need for obedience towards God?
- In verse 9, Paul refers to the coming punishment of God’s enemies as eternal destruction. For many, such talk seems unfair or extreme. Considering verse 5, what must we trust as we consider hell and eternal punishment?
- Believers and unbelievers will have completely different experiences at the return of Christ. According to verse 10, he will be glorified in his saints who will marvel at him when he comes. Considering your current relationship with Jesus, does it seem natural that you will have this type of reaction when he returns? If not, how could you make it so?
- In verse 11, Paul indicates what he continually prays for this church. Why do you think Paul does not mention praying for their suffering to cease? What does the content of his prayer, and its desired result in verse 12, tell us about what should be our ultimate priorities?