1 Thessalonians

February 1, 2021

Cultivate DT


Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God


  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Psalm 147

1 Praise the Lord!

  For it is good to sing praises to our God;

    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;

    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.

3 He heals the brokenhearted

    and binds up their wounds.

4 He determines the number of the stars;

    he gives to all of them their names.

5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

    his understanding is beyond measure.

6 The Lord lifts up the humble;

    he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;

    make melody to our God on the lyre!

8 He covers the heavens with clouds;

    he prepares rain for the earth;

    he makes grass grow on the hills.

9 He gives to the beasts their food,

    and to the young ravens that cry.

10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,

    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,

11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear


    in those who hope in his steadfast love.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!

    Praise your God, O Zion!

13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;

    he blesses your children within you.

14 He makes peace in your borders;

    he fills you with the finest of the wheat.

15 He sends out his command to the earth;

    his word runs swiftly.

16 He gives snow like wool;

    he scatters frost like ashes.

17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;

    who can stand before his cold?

18 He sends out his word, and melts them;

    he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.

19 He declares his word to Jacob,

    his statutes and rules to Israel.

20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;

    they do not know his rules.

    Praise the Lord!


  1. Rejoicing and giving thanks are commanded. What does this reveal about the nature of joy and gratitude?
  2. Why is it “good” and “fitting” (Ps 147:1) to praise God?
  3. Write a prayer praising God for who He is and what He has done in my life.


April 22, 2020

1Thess5- 2020-04-22


Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 5:12-25

“The first section deals with the attitude of the church generally to its leaders. No specific title is used for them (later, words like elders, bishops and deacons became more common), and they are described in terms of the things that they did. They were involved in what was hard work (a term used for Christian work generally by Paul himself) … They were over the congregation…  and they warned people who needed direction. They thus exercised authority in the church, and it was necessary to remind those subject to their authority to recognize the leaders’ position and to show them proper esteem coupled with love. Live in peace may suggest some danger of division between the leaders and the other believers.” [1]

  • Reflect on the role of spiritual mentors as described in this text.  Do I have such people over my life?
  • What is the significance of the words, “because of their work”?

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15

  • What picture of the church emerges from Apostle Paul’s exhortations for the believers to “warn … encourage … help … be patient … be kind”?
  • Which exhortation in this passage do I particularly need to heed?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Paul has in mind ‘a stable and deep-rooted joy which enables him’ — but even more so a congregation — ‘to cope with disappointments and see them in their true perspective.’ And that true perspective is rooted in the conviction that in any and all circumstances, God is at work on behalf of his people — reason enough to give thanks and rejoice and thereby fulfill God’s will for us.” [2] 

  • What are the three commands given as God’s will for me in Christ Jesus?
  • What is it about the Christian faith that can draw such qualities out of those who believe? 

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

  • Who is the one that will help me remain “blameless”?  
  • How does this encourage me and give me hope in my struggle with my sins and in my pursuit of holiness?

[1] Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition. Rev. ed. of: The new Bible commentary. 3rd ed. / edited by D. Guthrie, J.A. Motyer. 1970. (4th ed.) (1 Th 5:25). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press.

[2]  Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 46-54. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998.



April 21, 2020

1Thess5- 2020-04-21


Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 5:3

“While the phrase “peace and safety” (or “security”) has partial Old Testament antecedents, its more likely context is a political one, inasmuch as pax et securitas was a popular slogan of the imperial Roman propaganda machine. The promise of peace and security was what Rome offered to those peoples who submitted (willingly or unwillingly) to Roman rule and military power; it was seen as Rome’s gift to those it conquered, virtually equivalent to an offer of deliverance or “salvation” from turmoil and danger.” [1]

  • What in this world promises “peace and security”?
  • What effect do these things have on a person’s attitude toward the “day of the Lord”?
  • Are there some ways in which I take a false sense of comfort in things that are ultimately insecure, causing me to lose sight of spiritual realities?

1 Thessalonians 5:4-8

  • What affirmative stance does Apostle Paul call the Thessalonians to in contrast to a focus on dates and times, and in contrast to the surrounding culture?
  • Why is to “keep awake and be sober” the appropriate stance for those who are already “children of the light”?

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

“For believers, the Day of the Lord is a cause of anticipation, not apprehension. At least some of the Thessalonians appear to have felt a degree of apprehension about the return of Jesus. There may be those today who share this sense of apprehension regarding the Parousia, perhaps because they associate it primarily with wrath, destruction, and judgment. Paul goes out of his way, however, to emphasize that it really ought to be a cause of anticipation. … It means that as believers we will be with the Lord forever. That is, the coming of Jesus will mean a transition to an even higher level of fellowship and life together with our risen Lord.” [2] 

  • What did Jesus accomplish through his death?  
  • How does this knowledge enable us to “encourage one another and build one another up” in the present? 


[1] Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 47. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998

[2] Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 51. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998


April 20, 2020

1Thess4- 2020-04-20


Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 4:9-18

9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

  • What can I learn about the nature of love from the fact that Apostle Paul gives this exhortation while acknowledging that they already do love their brothers?
  • Are there situations in which I try to limit the call to love more and more?  

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

“The apostle had two particular reasons for this threefold appeal to the Thessalonians to be quiet, non-interfering and hard-working.  The first was that their daily life might win the respect of outsiders (12a), and the second that they might not be dependent on anybody (12b; cf. 2:9), but rather enjoy ‘an honourable independence’ (JBP). In this way Paul brings together the two communities to which all Christians belong – the world and the church, ‘outsiders’ and the Christian brotherhood.” [1] 

  • What is the relationship between leading a disciplined and diligent life and being able to love those around me?  

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

  • Why are we able to have hope even in the face of death?
  • In light of the fact that death is not the final word, and that “we will always be with the Lord,” how should this affect the way I approach fears and risks in life?  How does this affect my view of the call to love more and more?  

[1] Stott, John R.W. (ed.), The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p. 90.


April 17, 2020

1Thess4- 2020-04-17


Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.      8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2

  • What about Christian life can be learned from Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to do “more and more” of what they were already doing?
  • What are some things about which I need to heed the urging to do “more and more”?

1 Thessalonians 4:2-8

“The self-control Paul commends is to be exercised “in a way that is holy and honorable” (4:4b), two terms that stand as the antithesis of the “passionate lust” and ignorance mentioned in 4:5. …. Similarly “honor,” a matter both of respect for the opinion and concern for the well-being of others, is primarily other-centered (cf. Rom. 12:10, “honor one another above yourselves”), and thus stands in contrast to “covetous passion” (1 Thess. 4:5a; NIV “passionate lust”), which involves a self-centered concern for one’s own needs or drives. 

“For Paul, sexual activity is not just an inconsequential private activity involving one or more consenting adults; on the contrary, it has an impact on both one’s relationship with God (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12 – 20) and with other people (cf. 1 Thess. 4:6); therefore, it ought to be exercised in a way that is respectful of both.” [1] 

  • What is God’s will for my life? 
  • What does “sanctification” mean according to this text?
  • Why is sexual ethics so important in the life of a Christian?
  • Why is knowing God incompatible with living in the “passion of lust”? 
  • Are there areas of my life that I have neglected or avoided sanctifying before God?  If so, what can I commit to today to begin living a holy and honorable life before God?

[1] Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 46-54. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998.


April 16, 2020

1Thess3- 2020-04-16


Bible Text:

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.” [1] 

  • 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”?

[1] Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 46-54. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


April 15, 2020

1Thess2- 2020-04-15


Bible Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20

13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 

14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 2:13

  • What would be the evidence of accepting the word of God “not as the word of men, but as it really is, the word of God”?  

1 Thessalonians 2:14-15

“The clearest evidence of the Thessalonians’ acceptance of the gospel as the word of God was their willingness to suffer for it.  The fact that they accepted the gospel despite the “severe suffering” (1:6) that they experienced as a result — something they presumably would not have done for a message they considered to be of merely human origin — is for Paul reliable testimony to their commitment.” [1]  

  • Why does living out the word of God cause me to be destined for trials?
  • What is my attitude towards sufferings and trials because of the gospel?   
  • Is there evidence of suffering and trials in my life because of the gospel?

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

“The ultimate reward for Paul’s ministry was not money, prestige, or fame, but new believers whose lives had been changed by God through the preaching of the gospel.  This was why he longed to see them.” [2] 

  • What can I learn about Apostle Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians in this passage?
  • To what extent can I relate to Apostle Paul’s sentiment towards the Thessalonians when it comes to people of God in my life?
  • What can be said about Apostle Paul’s value system from the fact that he viewed the Thessalonians as “[his] hope, [his] joy, or crown of boasting”?
  • What is my hope, joy and crown of boasting?

[1] Holmes, Michael W. “, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 and 2 Thessalonians. By Michael W. Holmes, 46-54. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 1998.

[2] Life Application Bible, Study Notes (Wheaton, IL:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 1232.


April 14, 2020

1Thess2- 2020-04-14


Bible Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6

  • What was Apostle Paul’s view of himself?
  • In what way do I understand myself as a person “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel”?
  • Apostle Paul says he “never came with words of flattery, nor … with a pretext for greed” in his dealings with the Thessalonians (or anyone else!).  How was he able to be such an authentic person?

1 Thessalonians 2:7-12

  • Notice that Apostle Paul not only preached the gospel, but his life was also characterized by “labor and toil.” What can I learn from this passage about Apostle Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians? What concrete examples of zeal, diligence, or other specific manifestations of virtue back up and support my preaching of the gospel?


April 13, 2020

1Thess1- 2020-04-13


Bible Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of 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 only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and 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 delivers us from the wrath to come.

Reflection & Application

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

  • What are three Christian virtues described in v. 3?  According to this verse, how should these virtues manifest themselves in a Christian’s life?

1Thessalonians 1:4-7

  • How did the gospel come to me “not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction”?  
  • What are some elements given in this text for what is involved in the passing on of the gospel?

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

  • How does this passage challenge the notion that faith is a private matter between me and God?
  • What are some areas of my faith that are particularly challenged by the example of the Thessalonians?


July 29, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5

  • Journal & Pray  
  • Read • Remember • Reflect

    Read the passages slowly. Write out the verses you want to remember. Write how God spoke to you through the passages. Jot down your observation and reflection in the verses.

Click HERE for “A Guide to Journaling & Prayer”

Click HERE for the commentary and Bible Project sketch notes for the Book of 1 Thessalonians.


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