When I can, I like to read the Epistles (letters) in their entirety. It works better for me because it’s a letter. I don’t normally read a single letter over the course of several days. Unless perhaps it’s one of those Christmas letters… (kidding).
Imagine if someone sent you an email and you decided to read it one sentence a day. There’s a good chance you could miss the point of the email.
Or a blog post. What if you read a blog post one paragraph at a time? It might take you 10 days to get through the entire post. Would you remember on day 10 what you read on day 1? Would you catch the cohesive message?
So, my paraphrase of 1 Thessalonians:
From: Paul (with Silas and Timothy)
To: The church in Thessalonica, Greece
- Heard you are doing a good job
- We had a good time together when we stayed with you
- Sent Timothy to check on you and he said you’re doing great!
- Really hope we can see you again soon.
- A few reminders:
- Avoid sexual sin because it makes you unholy.
- Keep loving one another.
- Your goal is to live a quiet life. This will earn everyone’s respect.
- Clarifying some theology
- I know we’re all new at this, but listen, just because somebody died before Christ returned doesn’t mean they are gone forever. So don’t “grieve like people who have no hope.” (v4:13) “When Jesus returns, God will bring back with him all the believers who have died.” (v4:14).
- Be ready, because we don’t know when he’ll return. But when he does return, you won’t be able to miss it.
- Respect your spiritual leaders.
- Encourage one another.
- Share our letter with everyone.
I especially like the section where Paul gives a list of ways to encourage those around us.
Favorite verse(s): Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
People always wonder what God’s will is for them. Now we know. 😉