1-2 Thessalonians Bible Study Resources

The bible study resources on this page are intended to help you understand and apply 1-2 Thessalonians. Scripture instructs people to seek wisdom (Prov. 4:7), so utilizing the resources that God has provided the Church, helps bible study leaders, participants, and even preachers and teachers. Below you will find helpful and simple information on 1-2 Thessalonians, including a video overview from The Bible project, a list of facts and figures, and a book summary, all intended to help you get off to a strong start on studying this book.

1-2 Thessalonians Bible Study Resource: Video Overview

To better understand the message of 1-2 Thessalonians, it is help to start with an overview. The Bible Project is a great resource to learn from and share with a bible study, small group, or congregation. “We are committed to helping the whole world see the Bible as one unified story that leads to Jesus,” is the mission of The Bible Project, which is based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Best Bible Commentaries uses these video with explicit permission. Please see more about The Bible Project below. [1]

1 Thessalonians Facts and Figures

1 Thessalonians at a Glance: This book relates Paul’s founding of the church at Thessalonica and reviews its responsibilities in light of the future return of Christ (the Rapture). Bottom Line Introduction: REPEATED RAPTURE REMINDERS. No other biblical book, regardless of its size, gives as much space to the rapture as does 1 Thessalonians. This glorious event is referred to in each of its five chapters. (See 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23.) [2]

Facts about 1 Thessalonians

1. Who? Paul. He was also known as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11). This relentless enemy of Christians (Acts 8:3; 22:5, 19; 26:11; Gal. 1:13) would, following his conversion (Acts 9:3-9), become the greatest missionary, church planter, soul winner, and theologian in church history, authoring nearly half of the New Testament books!

2. What? The books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

3. When and where? Written 51 A.D. from Corinth.

4. Why and to whom? Offered as a basic overview of the rapture and addressed to the church at Thessalonica.

Key Events

1. The marks of a model church

2. Events involved in the founding of the Thessalonican church (part one)

3. Events involved in the founding of the Thessalonican church (part two)

4. Facts about the rapture

5. Living in light of the rapture

Key Individuals

1. Paul, author of 1 Thessalonians and at least 12 other New Testament books, church planter, evangelist, missionary, and perhaps the greatest of all the apostles

2. Timothy, Paul’s associate, sent by the apostle from Athens to help the church in Thessalonica

Key Places

1. Thessalonica: a city in Macedonia, visited by Paul during his second missionary trip at which time he established a church there and would later write two epistles (1 and 2 Thessalonians) to that church

2. Philippi: the city Paul had visited just before coming to Thessalonica

Unique Features

1. The passage in 4:13-18 is the most detailed single account of the rapture in the Bible.

2. Chronologically, it is the first of two New Testament passages referring to the rapture in detailed account. See 1 Cor. 15:51-54 for the second passage.

3. It is also the first portion of scripture to associate the following events with the rapture

 The departed saints returning with Jesus (4:14)

 The shout of the archangel (4:16a)

 The sound of the trump of God (4:16b)

 The catching up of living believers (4:17)

4. This epistle emphasizes the second of two cardinal doctrines proclaimed by the early church, namely, (1) the resurrection of Christ, and, (2) the return of Christ.

5. The Thessalonican church was one of two churches where Paul was hindered by Satan in his plans to visit its congregation (2:18; Rom. 1:13; 15:22).

6. It offers the first of two key verses used to support the triunity of man (5:23; Heb. 4:12).

7. Of the many churches established by the apostle, only a few (six to be exact) would receive a New Testament epistle from Paul. Of the six, only the church at Corinth and the one in Thessalonica were blessed with two inspired letters.

8. The church at Thessalonica was founded by Paul during his second missionary journey. (See Acts 17:1-10.)

9. Paul spent at least three weeks in Thessalonica in the home of Jason (possibly a kinsman, see Rom. 16:21) organizing the church, working all the while as a tentmaker, that he might not be a burden to the believers. (See 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:7-12.)

10. His visit there is short lived, for the gospel is opposed by some unbelieving Jews. Thus, under cover of night, Paul, Timothy, and Silas leave for Berea.

11. He soon is driven from Berea by the same vicious Jews and heads for Athens. Timothy and Silas remain in Berea.

12. While in Athens he sends word to Timothy requesting that his young helper go back and strengthen the work at Thessalonica, which command Timothy obeys (1 Thess. 3:1-2).

13. From Athens, Paul goes to Corinth. Here at a later date both Silas and Timothy catch up with him. Timothy brings a good report concerning the work in Thessalonica. Paul is overjoyed and writes both 1 and 2 Thessalonians from Corinth at this time.

14. His first letter was written to encourage, establish, instruct, and inspire. The church was apparently composed of a great many Gentiles (Acts 17:4).

15. Henrietta Mears writes: “Paul’s success in Thessalonica has not been the usual experience of missionaries among the heathen. Carey in India, Judson in Burma, Morrison in China, and Moffat in Africa waited each seven years for his first convert. But here, the Holy Spirit allowed Paul to reap a sudden harvest” (“What the Bible is all About, p. 532).

16. The church was noted for its soulwinning zeal (1 Thess. 1:8).

17. The members were not, however, good Bible students (Acts 17:11).

18. There were difficulties in the congregation.

 Some were lazy (2 Thess. 3:10)

 Some were busybodies (2 Thess. 3:11)

 Some were disobedient (2 Thess. 3:14-15)

Comparison with Other Bible Books

1. 2 Thessalonians:

 1 Thessalonians explains why deceased believers will not miss out on the Rapture.

 2 Thessalonians explains why believers will not be involved in the Tribulation.

Names for and Types of Jesus

1. The Lord Jesus Christ (1:1)

2. God’s Son from heaven (1:10)

3. Christ (2:6)

4. Jesus (4:14)

5. The Lord Himself (4:16)

2 Thessalonians Facts and Figures

2 Thessalonians at a Glance: This book previews those momentous events associated with the return of Christ and the punishment of the antichrist, closing with the admonition to faithfully occupy the time until that day. Bottom Line Introduction: THE SIN OF MAN AND THE MAN OF SIN. In 2 Thessalonians Paul writes of both: General facts concerning the sin of man (1:8-9; 3:6-15) and specific facts concerning the man of sin (2:1-12). [2]

Facts about 2 Thessalonians

1. Who? Paul. He was known as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11). This relentless enemy of Christians (Acts 8:3; 22:5, 19; 26:11; Gal. 1:13) would, following his conversion (Acts 9:3-9), become the greatest missionary, church planter, soul winner, and theologian in church history, authoring nearly half of the New Testament books!

2. What? The books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

3. When and where? Written in A.D. 52 from Corinth.

4. Why and to whom? To explain the Day of the Lord and the ministry of the future antichrist. Addressed to the church at Thessalonica.

Key Events

1. Paul’s praise and prayer for the Thessalonian church

2. Facts concerning the Day of the Lord and the antichrist

3. Rules in dealing with the disorderly

Key Individuals

1. Paul, author of 2 Thessalonians and at least 12 other New Testament books, church planter, evangelist, missionary, and perhaps the greatest of all the apostles

2. Man of sin, Paul’s title for the coming antichrist

Key Places

1. Thessalonica: a city in Macedonia, visited by Paul during his second missionary trip at which time he established a church there and would later write two epistles (1 and 2 Thessalonians) to that church

Unique Features

1. This book is the shortest of Paul’s epistles to local churches.

2. The book of 1 Corinthians was his longest to a local assembly.

3. The New Testament’s two most extended passages dealing with the coming antichrist are 2 Thess. 2:1-12 and Rev. 13:1-14.

4. We learn the following facts regarding this evil man from these two passages:

 His names and titles: the man of sin, the sin of perdition, the wicked one, the seven headed, ten horned beast (2:3, 8; Rev. 13:1).

 His source of power: Satan himself (2:9; Rev. 13:2).

 His blasphemy against God and the temple (2:4; Rev. 13:6, 12).

 His ability to deceive (2:10; Rev. 13:14).

 His power to work miracles (2:9; Rev. 13:14).

5. Many believe a passage in this epistle helps explain Jesus’ mysterious prophecy made during His Mt. Olivet discourse:

 Jesus’ prediction: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Mt. 24:15).

 Paul’s clarification: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:3, 4).

6. Second Thessalonians refers to the first of two evil “mysteries” in the Bible:

 The mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7) referring to the appearance, godless activities and eventual destruction of the antichrist.

 The mystery of Babylon (Rev. 17:5) referring to the organization, corruption, and eventual destruction of a false church.

7. In his writings Paul predicts on two occasions that angels will accompany Jesus’ return.

 During His pre-tribulation return (1 Thess. 4:16) IN THE AIR!

 During His post-tribulation return (2 Thess. 1:7, 8) TO THE EARTH!

8. This marks the 8th time where Paul exhorts his readers to follow him as he followed Christ. These references are:

 1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1

 Gal. 4:12

 Phil. 3:17; 4:9

 1 Thess. 1:5, 6; 2:10

 2 Thess. 3:7-9

9. Merrill Tenney summarizes both 1 and 2 Thessalonians: “Practically every major doctrine in the catalogue of faith is represented in these two small epistles. Although they were not written as doctrinal treatises, nor primarily to present the author’s general theological views, they contain a well-rounded body of theological teaching. Paul and those who received his epistles believed in one living God (1 Thess. 1:9), the Father (2 Thess. 1:2), who has loved men and has chosen them to enjoy His salvation (2 Thess. 2:16; 1 Thess. 2:4). He has sent deliverance from wrath through Jesus Christ, His Son (1 Thess. 1:10), and has revealed this deliverance through the message of the gospel (1 Thess. 1:5; 2:9; 2 Thess. 2:14). This message has been confirmed and has been made real by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5; 4:8). The gospel concerns the Lord Jesus Christ, who was killed by the Jews (1 Thess. 2:15). He rose from the dead (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:14; 5:10). He is now in heaven (1 Thess. 1:10), but He will come again (1 Thess. 2:19; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1). To Him is ascribed deity, for He is called Lord (1 Thess. 1:6), God’s Son (1 Thess. 1:10), and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 1:1, 3; 5:28; 2 Thess. 1:1). Believers (1) receiving the word of God (1 Thess. 1:6), (2) turn from idols, serve God and wait for the return of Christ (1 Thess. 1:9-10). Their normal growth is in sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3, 7; 2 Thess. 2:13). In personal life they are to be clean (1 Thess. 4:4-6), industrious (1 Thess. 4:11-12), prayerful (1 Thess. 5:17), and cheerful (1 Thess. 5:16). Theoretically and practically the Thessalonian letters embody all the essentials of Christian truth” (New Testament Survey, p. 283).

Comparison with Other Bible Books

1. Second Thessalonians:

 Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians to tell his converts they had not missed the rapture. He now writes this epistle assuring them they were not enduring the great tribulation.

 First Thessalonians emphasizes the return of Christ for His church!

 Second Thessalonians emphasizes the return of Christ with His church!

2. Galatians:

Both epistles warn believers against receiving so-called “additional” revelations from God (Gal. 1:8; 2 Thess. 2:8).

Titles for and Types of Jesus

1. Lord Jesus Christ. This full title for the Savior is found more times in Second Thessalonians (for its size) than in any other New Testament book, for a total of ten times! (1:1, 2, 9, 12; 2:1, 14, 16; 3:6, 12, 18)

2. Christ (3:5)

3. Lord of peace (3:16)

1-2 Thessalonians Book Introduction

1 Thessalonians: Paul wrote this letter to encourage new believers in their faith, to give them assurance about the eternal state of believers who had died, to remind them of “the coming of the Lord” (4:15), and to exhort them to godly living. He urged them to be at peace, and to “give thanks in all circumstances” (5:18). Thessalonica (present-day Thessaloniki, Greece) was the capital of Roman Macedonia. It was on important trade routes. Paul, twice identified as the author (1:1; 2:18), visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey but was forced to flee because of Jewish opposition. He sent Timothy to work with the largely Gentile church there, and Timothy brought him good news of their faith (3:6). This is one of Paul’s first letters, probably written in a.d. 51.

2 Thessalonians: This letter from the apostle Paul was probably written shortly after his first letter to the church in Thessalonica. He had been boasting of them to other churches, telling of their faith and their love for each other in the face of persecution. Paul reminded them that God will repay their persecutors. He also addressed two recurring problems in this church. First, as seen in 1 Thessalonians, they were concerned that the Lord had already returned. Paul urged them not to become “shaken in mind or alarmed,” fearing that “the day of the Lord” (2:2) had already come. Second, he admonished them not to be idle, commanding them that, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (3:10). [3]

Notes

[1] “The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. We create 100% free videos, podcasts, and resources that explore the Bible’s unified story.”

[2] Creative Commons License: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License | by Harold Wilmington – https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/sword/

[3] https://www.esv.org/