We are spending the next several weeks at church in the book of 1 Thessalonians. It’s not been a book I have studied in depth before and even in the first week’s intro sermon, I realized just what I’ve missed!
1 Thessalonians is probably the earliest of Paul’s letters, dated apx AD 49-51. Thessalonica was in present-day Thessaloniki, Greece and was the capital of Roman Macedonia. It sat along important trade routes which is how Paul landed there on his second missionary journey. Paul wasn’t in Thessalonica very long. He ran into serious persecution from the Jewish community there and ran for his life in the middle of the night. He runs to Berea and faces more persecution (from the same mob coming from Thessalonica), and has to flee from that town as well. Even with all this persecution and running and fear, Paul’s heart returns to this small group of believers in Thessalonica, so he sends Timothy back to check on the young church. This letter is written in response to Timothy’s glowing report of their faith.
This year I’ve been trying to be more diligent to be in God’s Word daily. I use the Bible app on my phone and iPad to spend time in the Word daily, using one of the thousands of reading plans available there. I was delighted to find a great reading plan that focused on Thessalonians over 21 days. I felt that really drilling down on this book daily, along with the Sunday sermons, was necessary for me. I felt compelled to spend time, in depth, with these two letters.
It’s been a wonderful couple weeks in this letter. I highly recommend the reading plan. Some days are pretty intense, others are light and meant for meditation and prayer.
I do need to offer a warning: this reading plan interpret the ‘end times’ language from a dispensational, premileenial view point. This means they believe that Christians will not suffer during the wrath and tribulations discussed in Revelation. They believe in the ‘rapture’ when Christ makes a brief visit to earth and grabs up all the Christians before the seals of God’s wrath are broken. I do not personally hold this view and the bad theology leaves people unprepared for tribulations that Jesus warned us we would experience, so I gloss over this portion of the Bible reading plan.
I also highly recommend the Bible Project’s overview videos. They give a great summary, visually appealing, for each book of the Bible. Sometimes it’s nice to get the overview and big picture of a book so that those themes run through your mind as you read Scripture. Please consider joining me, in depth, with Thessalonians!