1 Thessalonians 1:1
I have added another resource at the recommendation of a fellow believer at my work. It is the Blue Letter Bible app. It has several commentary options if you double tap your screen on a verse. I am using David Guzik’s commentary to add to the other ones mentioned in the introduction.
Paul came to Thessalonica on his 2nd missionary journey. He spent three weekends of prosperous ministry here (Acts 17:2). He was run out of the town by an angry mob, yet the church continued to thrive. Often we find in history and even in current times throughout our world, the Gospel thrives during persecution and aggression toward believers. This is an important concept to grasp as we move forward in life as we are promised to be delivered up in the courts on account of Jesus (you can look this one up).
To the church of Thessalonians: Two important points as it refers to the use of the word church here: ekklesia. It has meaning to an “assembly” (King James Version Bible Commentary [KJVBC]) and/or “a people called out” (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary [WBC]). You can view them both simultaneously as an assembly of believers (specifically, baptized believers) who are called out of the world by God. My friends, that is you and me. God has called us out of this world to assemble and serve for the purpose of the Gospel…AMEN!
Grace to you: “But it is not God’s love that saves a sinner; it is God’s grace. God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and God in His mercy does not give us what we deserve” (WBC). These are important concepts to understand. You can look up several references to grace and mercy in the Bible. In essence, we do not deserve salvation. Jesus paid the price for us on the cross thus His grace pours over us. For our sins, we are deserving of eternal separation from God, but He pours out His mercy on us to extend eternal life.
Grace and mercy go hand in hand yet are opposite in what God does for us, both not deserving of salvation yet being able to obtain it and being deserving of hell yet not being subject to it. This is freeing, but it also must be kept in check. Grace and mercy are not a free ticket to sin. This is a heresy you can see gaining a stronghold in churches today. We must meet the sinner with truth in love, and the sinner should respond with sincere repentance. Jesus did not come to redefine sin. Don’t even dare entertain it. He came to be our sacrificial lamb so that death could pass over us. This is why God created Passover in Egypt as a prophecy of what He would someday provide to the world: the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
Thus, grace to us to experience what we do not deserve yet can obtain freely: Jesus!
Well, that was only one verse. This may take longer than 3 weeks to get through I Thessalonians….