1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 “Timothy’s Encouraging Report”

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 – Bible Study & Exploration

Paul’s Growing Anxiety

(Verse 1-5) Imagine for a moment that your spouse is an active member of the military. You find yourself having to relocate often to a new city. Each time you gather your belongings in preparation for the move, you leave one of your children behind in the care of someone else. This would be an excruciatingly worrisome experience for any adult.

As Paul traveled across Asia Minor and Macedonia on any of his three missionary journeys planting new churches, he often felt the same way as a parent leaving a child behind. Even more so as he had snuck out of Thessalonica with the feeling of not having done enough to prepare the believers he was leaving behind.

The reader of Paul’s letters often get a clear picture of this as he describes the love for the new churches that he plants in the cities that he visits. His words of love, caring, nurturing and longing to return to be with them are resounding throughout his epistles. In fact, in the previous chapter he makes such an inference to this idea (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

During this time on his second missionary journey, he escaped Thessalonica to find himself in Berea. From Berea, Paul headed south along the Greek coastline into Athens. This is where Paul’s anxiety for his young church in Thessalonica reached its peak.

Worried that they were under persecution and all the work that he, Silas and Timothy had done might have been undone. This is when he decided to send Timothy back to Thessalonica to see how these baby believers in Christ were fairing.

Verse 3 reveals quite clearly that Paul had taught these Thessalonians that along with their new found faith in their Savior, persecution from the unbelievers would follow closely behind. For this, they should not be surprised what they would have to endure for the gospel of Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3).

“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.”

Timothy Brings Back a Positive Report

(Verse 6-13) Paul is exuberant in hearing the good report from Timothy of the strength of faith in the new church in Thessalonica. He exudes joy for each of them and lavishes them with praise. Its’ just the wonderful report that Paul was hoping Timothy would deliver.

He finishes the chapter with a prayer for their continued sanctification and a reminder of the imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ along with His holy ones. The “holy ones” would be the church that Christ will gather to himself at the time of the rapture. These are both those who have died in Christ and those who would still be alive at the time of the rapture.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3