1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
1 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you— 7 for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
Reflection & Application
1 Thessalonians 3:5-6, 9-11
“In a culture in which religion, properly practiced, was supposed to bring positive consequences, the ‘trials’ experienced by the Thessalonians might well have convinced them that they had made a major mistake in abandoning their conventional religions in order to embrace Christianity. Indeed, so concerned was Paul that he, though unable to return himself, was unwilling that the Thessalonians should be left without support, and so a decision was made that Timothy should return as his authorized representative.” 
- What is the heart of Apostle Paul towards the Thessalonians? How does he concretely express his love for them?
- In what ways have I experienced this kind of love? Who are the people I need to love in this way?
- What caused Apostle Paul to thank God?
1 Thessalonians 3:7-8
- What causes Apostle Paul to say “For now we live” despite “distress and affliction”?
- When do I feel alive? What do I get excited about? What does this reveal about what I value?
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
“…Paul makes only one petition in this section (3:12, ‘May the Lord make your love increase’), whose goal or purpose is stated in 3:13 (‘so as to strengthen your hearts’, NASB). Verse 13 indicates Paul’s actual request — that the Thessalonians might be strengthened — while verse 12 indicates the means by which he hopes the strengthening will occur (an increase in their love for others). That is, Paul thinks that the best way for the Thessalonians themselves to be strengthened is through an increase in their love for others, both inside and outside the church.”
- What is Apostle Paul’s reason for wanting the Thessalonians to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all”?
 Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 46-54. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.