The letters of St. Paul to the Thessalonians are very pastoral. The Apostle is writing to a group of recent converts who are experiencing great persecution. He offers his prayers, thoughts and paternal encouragement in their time of great trial and difÌÄåøÌâåÂÌâÌÉculty. He commends them for their growth faith, hope and love (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 3:6; 5:8), offers no big criticisms or reprimands, and urges them to remain steady in the Christian journey (1 Thessalonians 4:1; 5:11).As in all his epistles, the Apostle urges his readers to be vigilant in love (1 Thessalonians 3:12) and holiness (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 5:23). He reminds them that Jesus will one day return in glory to save us from wrath and give us salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:10 ). No one knows when Jesus will return and that is why we must remain steadfast at all times, ready for his arrival (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). He offers great hope to his readers, assuring them that those in Christ will be escorted to the glory of Heaven just like Jesus himself had been carried to Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).
Here are some of the key themes and verses we discover in this letter:
- God chooses His people: 'For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).'
- Pursue holiness and ÌÄåøÌâåÂÌâ‰Û_ee immorality: 'For this is the will of God, your sanctiÌÄåøÌâåÂÌâÌÉcation: that you abstain from immorality; that each one of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).'
- All who die in the love of Christ will rise again in glory: 'For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ_the dead in Christ will rise (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12).'
- Until Christ returns, be vigilant in faith, hope and love: 'Let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8-11).'
- Do not depart from the teachings and guidance of the Church: 'Stand ÌÄåøÌâåÂÌâÌÉrm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:6).'