“The best evidence of the Bible's being the word of God,” wrote theologian Charles Hodge, “is to be found between its covers. It proves itself.” And the interpretation of what we read in Scripture is basic to learning more about God and about His will for our lives.
In this reading we’re going to look at an actual passage of Scripture to test how well we’ve learned how to interpret Scripture. Study this passage on your own and be prepared to discuss it in your class.
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.
2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.
3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia--your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,
9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thess. 1:1-10, NIV).
Answer the following questions:
What kind of person was Paul according to this passage?
How does Paul encourage the Thessalonians?
How would you have responded to each of these?
How has someone cultivated these attitudes in you?
How and with whom does this characteristic of “building up another” need to be built into your life?
What things are “reported” about the Thessalonians by others according to these verses?
In what ways do they become “imitators” (v. 6) of Paul?
Which characteristics from your life would you like “copied”?
What can you do to “pass it on” to some specific person?
How does each of the three aspects in vss. 9, 10 demonstrate their “faith toward God”?
How do they reflect on the “kind of reception” Paul was given?
What’s one aspect of your lifestyle that you’d like to reflect to others “your faith toward God”?