1 Thessalonians 2:1-19 “The Power Behind the Gospel”

1 Thessalonians 2:1-19 – Bible Study & Exploration

My Word Shall Accomplish Its Purpose

(Verses 1-6) God’s word never fails and it prospers in all ways and in all things that it sets out to accomplish. His word is perfect, trustworthy and truthful. It has never failed nor will it ever.

God spoke through Isaiah saying (Isaiah 55:11),

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

(Verses 1-6) In the opening verses of this chapter, we see Paul reminding the new Thessalonian believers of the fruit of the gospel they preached to them and the results of the work of His word and the Holy Spirit. He emphasizes the success of the gospel even in the midst of opposition and severe persecution.

Paul beautifully reaffirms what God spoke through Isaiah approximately eight hundred years ago.

Paul continues in this chapter to remind them of the great thing that occurred in their lives when they accepted and put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ. He makes clear there was no deception or false motivation in their preaching of Him crucified.

Regardless of what anyone thought of their gospel message, he’s blunt in his reference to the fact they were not there to please anyone or gain anyone’s approval. They were there under the power of the Holy Spirit to deliver the words of God, words that did not return empty but set out to accomplish exactly its purpose. That purpose was to win the hearts of these new believers.

In the Image of Christ

(Verses 7-12) Almost eight hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah spoke the words of God describing the characteristics of Jesus saying (Isaiah 42:3),

“He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”

Just as Isaiah described, Jesus came into our world as a humble servant, not to be served but to serve. He came to serve a sinful mankind separated from God, calling all to repent of their sins and to accept His Father’s free gift of salvation. The salvation that could only be earned by accepting and trusting in the Blessed Hope from heaven, the only Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is exactly what Paul is relaying to the new believers in Christ. Paul, Silas, and Timothy came to the Thessalonians as humble servants with love, kindness and compassion. They never relied on anyone but earned their own keep in the presence of the new church of believers. Just as parents would do, the encouraged, comforted and urged their followers to endure patiently the hardships through the strength of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

(Verse 13-16) With additional words of encouragement, the Thessalonians are reminded of the fact that they are suffering from the same persecution that their fellow Jews in Judea had suffered before them. Essentially recognizing that they’re not alone in their suffering.

It’s important to remember that the Jewish audience in Thessalonica was more open to the message of salvation to the Gentile as well as the Jew. Where as, the traditional Jews in Judea were not at all open to that message. Their understanding was that salvation was reserved for God’s chosen people only and not the Gentiles. We know that this is not the teaching found in the scriptures.

This is the reason why Paul mentions the “heaping of sins to the limit” and “God’s wrath” on these traditional Jews in Judea in verse 16.

“For You Will Do Greater Things Than These”

(Verse 17-20) Paul reminds them that while they were separated from him after being escorted out of Thessalonica to Berea under the cover of night for fear of persecution, he longed to return to them. But Satan blocked his several attempts to reunite with them.

Satan attacks against Paul serves as a good reminder of what Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:12).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Our true enemy is Satan and his cast of characters that will do anything they can to prevent us from growing closer to Christ and sharing the gospel with others.

Paul quickly turns the tables to the attention of the new believers who are the hope, joy and crown that they will glory in the presence of Christ when He returns.

This “glory” that Paul refers to here is what Jesus spoke of when He said in (John 14:12-14),

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

These greater things are the works of Jesus through His disciples in bringing souls to Christ. The glory of the work of Christ through them to bring believers to Christ is their hope, joy and crown. In other words, they boast in Christ and Christ alone. For it is in no other works but the work of Christ that can bring us to salvation.

Notice that this chapter ends in the same way as the first chapter. At the end both, Paul closes out by mentioning the return of Christ. In fact, you’ll see all five chapters of 1 Thessalonians end with the mention of Christ’s return.

Let us remind ourselves of Paul’s words to always reflect the image of Christ when we approach others in witnessing and sharing the gospel.