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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Thessalonians 3

Verses 1-5

Paul Sends Timothy to Thessalonica Because Paul’s plans to return himself to Thessalonica and strengthen the brethren there had failed, he chose to send Timothy in his place.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 “and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ” Comments - Paul uses the words “fellowprisoners”, “fellowlabourers,” and “fellowhelpers” in a number of his epistles. These words go deeper in meaning than just describing their personal relationships with Paul. It also describes their spiritual relationship with him in the sense that they were partners and partakers of Paul’s sufferings as well as his heavenly rewards. In other words, these words describe people would receive the same rewards in heaven that Paul would receive because they stood with him during these difficult times.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 “for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto” Comments - Those who live godly in Christ Jesus have been appointed to suffer for Christ’s sake.

Scripture References Note similar verses:

Psalms 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Acts 14:22, “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

1 Thessalonians 3:5 Comments - There is an important reality revealed in 1 Thessalonians 3:5 and in this epistle. Paul took those young converts to Christ and nurtured them, tried to visit often, exhorted, encouraged and comforted them, praying for them constantly so that the devil would not steal the Word of God from them and have a backslidden church and all of Paul’s work be in vain.

Many people, who never continue with the Word, do so because they were never prayed for nor nurtured in the faith and had genuine love shown to them. This is why Satan hindered Paul’s desire for frequent visits to these churches. Note Galatians 1:6, how quickly people are removed from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:13, “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.”

1 Thessalonians 2:18, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

We find Jesus Christ teaching on this issue in the Parable of the Sower. He explains that one the Gospel is preached, the Devil comes immediately to steal the seed sown in the hearts of the hearers. Thus, we see Paul striving to protect the seed that was sown and bring it to bear fruit.

Verses 1-13

The Sanctification of the Believer - After opening his first epistle to the Thessalonians with a brief Salutation (1 Thessalonians 1:1), and after introducing the work of divine election in the lives of the Thessalonians from the perspective of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10), Paul spends the entire body of the letter fully developing the three-fold aspect of divine election. He discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believer by explaining the process of that a person goes through in order to be fully sanctified, spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

A. Sanctification of Man’s Spirit 1 Thessalonians 2:1 to 1 Thessalonians 3:13

B. Sanctification of Man’s Body 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

C. Sanctification of Man’s Mind 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11

1. The Rapture of the Church 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

2. The Day of the Lord 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

D. Commending Them Unto Their Leaders 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Verses 6-10

The Thessalonians Encourage Paul by Receiving Timothy In 1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 Paul explains how encouraged he was by the way that the believers at Thessalonica received Timothy.

1 Thessalonians 3:10 “Night and day praying exceedingly” Comments - Cindy Jacobs says that she once asked the Lord why we have to pray night and day, and why can we not just pray in the daytime and sleep at night. The Lord said to her, “because the devil never rests.” She said that God made the night and called it good, but the devil has taken over the night. [71] That is when the drug deals happen, when the prostitutes come out and all kinds of evils take place. Yet, God originally made the night a good thing. For example, one good thing about the night is that it is a time of quietness and prayer and meditation on the activities of the day.

[71] Cindy Jacobs, “sermon,” (Trinity Broadcasting Network, Santa Ana, California), television program.

Verses 11-13

Paul’s Prayer for the Thessalonians In 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 Paul prayers a prayer of supplication to return to them in order to establish them in the faith (1 Thessalonians 3:11), and for God to continue the process of sanctification in their lives (1 Thessalonians 3:12), so that they would be established at the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

1 Thessalonians 3:11 “direct our way unto you” Word Study on “direct” - Strong says the Greek word “direct” ( κατευθύνω ) (G2720) literally means, “to straighten fully,” and figuratively, “direct.”

Comments - That is, God will remove all hindrances out of our path (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

1 Thessalonians 2:18, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”

1 Thessalonians 3:11 Comments (1) - Paul’s visits to the believers in Thessalonica were for the purpose of establishing their hearts in the faith and in love towards one another. God used these visits to fulfill the purpose that Paul describes in the following verses (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13), which was for them to walk in love so that their hearts would be established in holiness. Paul’s love towards them compels him to see them again. His visits stirred them up to pursue holiness.

Comments (2) - Paul understood his need to yield himself to God’s divine providence and plan for his own life. He does not boast in 1 Thessalonians 3:11 that he will come to them by his own plan and efforts, but rather in obedience to God’s call in his life. James warns us about boasting about our own plans for tomorrow (James 4:13-15).

James 4:13-15, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12 Comments - Paul deposits his love into them, pouring it into them so that they might have enough measures of love to pour into others. We are able to love others as we have been loved ourselves.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 “with all his saints” - Comments - Note similar verses stating that the saints will appear with Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory .”

Jude 1:14, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints ,”

Many scholars believe that these verses support the teaching that the rapture of the Church will take place before the Tribulation period, since the saints will need to be in Heaven when Jesus appears at the end of this seven year tribulation period.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 Comments - The love walk is the key to achieving holiness in the Christian life. When a wife loves her husband, she naturally separates herself to please and serve him alone. She had no desire for other men. Holiness literally means “set apart.” When we love God and our neighbour, we keep ourselves on the path of sanctification.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.