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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians - Paraphrased

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In this ‘Framework' we use our light paraphrase explanation of what you find in this letter of Paul, not the text, to enable you to simply as possible catch the sense of his writing.

For this particular book we have let each chapter flow on from the previous ones and have provided a Recap / Summary at the end. If you wish to click onto specific chapter use the following links:

                      1 Thess 1  /  1 Thess 2  / 1 Thess 3 / 1Thess 4  / 1 Thess 5 / Recap



FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians 1 - Paraphrased


v.1 Greetings


v.1 This letter comes from Paul, Silas & Timothy to the church at Thessalonica

May grace and peace be yours


v.2 Thanksgiving


v.2 The first thing we do is give thanks for you as we continually pray for you.


v.3-7 Remembrance


v.3 As we pray, we remember before God

- faith-inspired work

- your love-prompted labour

- your hope-inspired endurance

All this in Christ.

v.4 This confirms (inferred) that he has chosen you as believers

v.5 and we know this (inferred) by the way the Lord empowered us to present you the gospel, more than just words, but bring Spirit-enabled conviction, as we lived among you.

v.6 You imitated us, welcoming the message with Holy Spirit joy, in the face of opposition

v.7 and this became a model to al the other believers in the area

(Lessons: a challenge to remember & pray for our children in Christ. Note how faith, love and hope inspire our activities. See also the work of conversion: the word imparted under anointing brings Holy Spirit conviction and conversion which is immediately seen by others.)


v.8-10 Effect


v.8 Because of this the word spread out from you across the whole area, so your faith became known everywhere, so we don't need to add anything more about it.

v.9 For others report how you received us, and turned from idols to serve God

v.10 As you wait for Jesus to return from heaven – this Jesus who was raised from the dead and who now rescues us from any coming judgment and the coming end-time judgment. (implied?)

(Lessons: That testimony is one of our faith now revealed that brings life transformation, a life lived out awaiting Christ's return, but who saved us from judgment.)


Summary: After greeting the Thessalonians, Paul recollects the nature of the Thessalonians that so clearly shows they were the clear fruit of the Gospel shared by them, and had become so well-known across the whole area as examples of life transformations waiging for Jesus to come.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians 2 - Paraphrased


v. 1 & 2: Moving into the Present


As Paul writes, he looks back and remembers how it had been when they had been with them.

v.1 - fruitful “not without results”

v.2a - overcoming past memories in Philippi

v.2b - they pressed on sharing the Gospel

v.2c - despite the opposition

(Lessons: don't let past problems or present obstacles put you off!)


v.3-12 Removing Doubts: Nature of Ministry


v.3 Avoiding error, ensuring right motivation, avoiding deception of any kind

v.4 Coming with God's approval with the gospel, pleasing not people, but God who checks us.

v.5 No flattery used, no pretence that might cover wrong motivation of greed – God sees

v.6 Not seeking praise from people – refusing to use the authority which is ours.

v.7 Instead we were gentle, more like a mother cares for her children.

v.8 Our approach was one of care because of the love we have for you, sharing not only the Gospel but ourselves as well.

v.9 Hey, remember what we were like, working hard and seeking not to be a burden to you.

v.10 You saw us – and so did God – how we sought to be holy, righteous and blameless among you believers.

v.11 To each one we came as a father to a child

v.12 we encouraged, comforted and urged you on, to live lives that would please God, as He calls you to enter more fully into His kingdom

(Lessons: In seeking to serve God – seek to first and foremost please Him, make your calling your motivation, don't use artificial means to work it out, come with humility, love and gentleness, being an example to others as you encourage and bless others with God's gifting.)


v.13-16 Their Responses


v.13 We really thank God all the time the way you responded to God's word we brought to you for what it was – God's word working in you

v.14 So you guys became good imitators of all the other churches in Christ in Judea, suffering opposition from your own people just like they do.

v.15 That was the same opposition that killed Christ and the prophets and drove us out, displeasing God

v.16 as they sought to stop us sharing with the Gentiles so they too could be saved. In this they heap up their sins so the wrath of God has come on them.

(Lessons: Look to create disciples who become imitators in the faith, and don't be surprised at enemy opposition)


v.17-20 Apostolic Frustrated Yearnings


v.17 We have anguished being cut off from you, like we'd lost our family for a while, although not in thought. We indeed did make every effort to come and see you again

v.18 I really wanted to come again but Satan hindered me and stopped it happening.

v.19 For our hopes and yearnings are wrapped up in you, for you are like a crown we will wear in God's presence in which we will glory

v.20 Yes, that's it! You not only bring glory to us but you are also our joy.

(Lessons: We don't always get what we want in the kingdom because there is a battle going on and sometimes does thwart our desires)

Summary: Paul continues to remember their past experience in Thessalonica, how despite having had a hard time of it previously in Philippi, they nevertheless pressed on bringing the Gospel despite opposition and justifies the way they had come blameless, gentle and in love, and as fathers to children had sought to encourage and comfort them, bringing God's word that brought the fruit of their salvation, so they were able to stand against the opposition the enemy brought, the same opposition that Christ had suffered by those who God will judge. Yet now they had anguished at not having been able to get back to them, having been hindered by Satan, cut off from these believers who were their crown and glory.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians 3 - Paraphrased


v.1-5 What had Happened


v.1 Because of what happened we resolved to stay in Athens.

v.2 Yet we sent Timothy, one of my team, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith

v.3 in order that the trials you face wouldn't unsettle you – this opposition we all expect.

v.4 If you remember when we were with you, we warned you of this, and so it turned out

v.5 But I couldn't stand it any longer and sent to find out how you were, fearful that the enemy might have tempted you to give up (implied)

(Lessons: a heart of love yearns for God's children to be blessed and built up.)


v.6 Timothy's Report


v.6 But Timothy sent us the good news that your faith and love stands strong (implied) and also told us that you still have good memories of us and long to see us, just as do you.

(Lessons: hearing testimonies is good, building fellowship)


v.7-10 It's Effect


v.7 So, despite our distress and persecution we were encouraged to hear of your faith

v.8 Knowing that your faith is alive keeps us alive. (Msg version)

v.9 We really can't thank God enough for you because of the joy we have in Him because of you.

v.10 All the time we pray that we can come to you again and help strengthen your faith even more.

(Lessons: Testimonies encourage us especially if we're having a hard time and stirs further desires for fellowship, creates thankfulness and ongoing prayer.)


v.11-13 Paul's Desire


v.11 I pray God may clear a way for us to come to you.

v.12 May He make your love increase and overflow all around you, as ours does for you.

v.13 May he strengthen your hearts so you stand blameless and holy before him when Jesus returns with his angelic armies.

(Lessons: Relationships in Christ provoke desires for others to be built and blessed, always ready for Christ's return.)


Summary: Because of this they resolved to stay in Athens but had sent Timothy to encourage and support them in Thessalonica, to help them stand against the opposition they were receiving. Timothy had sent a good report which had really encouraged them. Yet he still prayed to be able to come to them but in the meantime, he prayed for their love to increase and their hearts strengthened as they await the Lord's return.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians 4 - Paraphrased

v.1-2 Exhortation to Obedience


v.1 We instructed you how to please God in daily living, so now we urge you to do it more and more.

v.2 So let's remind you (implied) of what we said.


v.3-6 Specific Matters


v.3 Sanctification (being changed to become more holy) is God's goal for you – so avoid sexual immorality

v.4 learn to control you own body so you remain holy & worth of him, principled

v.5 don't let lust carry you away like unbelievers do who don't know God

v.6 ensuring you don't take advantage of other believers in this way, for the Lord punishes such people.


v.7,8 Our Calling


v.7 God calls us from impurity to holy living

v.8 Therefore if you ignore this teaching you are ignoring God.

(Lessons: In the church we are to teach how to live out our daily lives, sanctified, and avoiding secual sins and impurity, learning to control ourselves and rejecting lust, becoming holy)


v.9,10 Live a Life of Love


v.9 This life of love, you already know and have been taught about by God

v.10 In fact your love has been experienced throughout the area of Macedonia, yet may we urge you to do it more and more.


v.11,12 Live a Life of Peace


v.11 As well as this, also seek to life a quiet life, attending to your own life, working with your hands as we taught you.

v.12 Do this will win respect of outsiders and enable you to be independent.

(Lessons: This working on our daily lives, including increasing in love as well as seeking to live quiet lives as we get on making a living and earning respect from the world around us.)


v.13-18 Believers who have Died


v.13 We want you to understand the sleep of death so you will not grieve like those without hope.

v.14 Our belief is that Jesus died and rose again and when he returns, he will bring those who sleep (have died) with him.

v.15 We who are alive when he returns will not go ahead of those who sleep (are dead)

v.16 for when he returns with a loud fanfare those believers who have died will come with him.

v.17 After that, those of us still alive will be caught up with them with him, to be with him for ever.

v.18 So hold onto this and encourage one another with it.

(Lessons: If we are alive when Christ returns, we will be caught up to join him and all those believers who have died previously. All of us will be raised.)


Summary: Being a Christian involves learning how God wants us to live on a daily basis, overcoming the flesh, controlling our bodies and rejecting lust that may lead us into wrong things. These lives are to be characterised by holiness, love, order and peace, creating respect in outsiders. While we await Christ's return, we may rest assured that both we who are alive when he returns and those already dead, will be caught up with him.


FRAMEWORKS: 1 Thessalonians 5 - Paraphrased


v.1-3 The Day of the Lord


v.1 We don't really need to teach you about times and dates

v.2 because you know the return of the Lord will be at an unknown time.

v.3 The rest of the world may be living complacently so destruction will come as a surprise to them, suddenly like labour pains at the end of a confinement.


v.4-7 We are different


v.4 But, living in the light, this day will not surprise you.

v.5 We are all of the day, of light, no darkness

v.6 So let's not be like them (dozing asleep) but we awake and sober

v.7 for they sleep or are drunk so (implied) let's not be like them.

(Lessons: always with one eye on the Lord's return, unlike the complacent and sleeping world around us, we are to remain awake and alert to his coming again.)


v.8-11 Our Lives


v.8 As we are ‘day-people', let's be sober, with faith and love protecting us like a breastplate, and hope as a helmet.

v.9 For God's intent for us is not wrath but salvation through Jesus

v.10 who died for all of us, whether awake or asleep (dead)so we may all live

v.11 so encourage and keep on building each other up.


v.12-15 Living with Others


v.12 Particularly acknowledge those who care for you and teach you

v.13 Hold them in the highest esteem and love as they serve you. Live at peace with one another.

v.14 Warn those who are idle or disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

v.15 Ensure no one pays back wrong for wrong, but all seek what is good for one another and indeed, for everyone else.


v.16-24 Living before God


v.16-18 God's will is that you rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances

v.19 Do not quench the Spirit.

v.20  Do not treat prophecies with contempt

v. 21  but test them all; hold on to what is good,

v. 22  reject every kind of evil.

v.23 In all this, may the God of peace, work in you to purify you through and through, you whole spirit soul and body being kept ready for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

v.24 He who called you will do this because he is faithful and true.

(Lessons: While we wait, let faith, love and hope hold and protect us, holding on to our salvation for this is God's desire for us, not judgment, as we build one another up and respect and honour our leaders. Make sure we maintain loving and caring lives for others, while being spiritually alive and open to God's moving, holding to good and rejecting what is evil, ready for whenever Christ returns, trusting that He will continue to hold and keep us.)


v.25-28 Final Exhortations


v.25 Please pray for us

v.26 Greet God's people with a holy kiss

v.27 Have this letter read to all the believers.

v.28 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be yours.

Summary: Remain alert and watching for Christ's return, protected by his grace, living holy, loving and caring lives, honouring leaders, and remaining open to the Spirit's leading, holding good, rejecting evil.


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1 Thessalonians 1


v.1 Greetings

v.2 Thanksgiving – Continual prayer for them

v.3-7 Remembrance – recollections of their work prompted by faith, love, hope

v.8-10 Effect – their faith known everywhere, changed lives waiting for Jesus' return.


1 Thessalonians 2


v. 1 & 2: Moving into the Present -despite past opposition they had shared the Gospel bringing much fruit there

v.3-12 Removing Doubts : Nature of Ministry - seeking to avoid error, wrong motivations, deception of any kind, flattery, praise from people, they had been gentle, not being heavy-handed with their authority, but loving and working to provide for themselves, seeking to be holy, righteous and blameless as fathers to children, encouraging & comforting

v.13-16 Their Responses – God had worked in them, changing them to be imitators, suffering the opposition Christ had suffered as the enemy sought to prevent the apostles sharing the gospel

v.17-20 Apostolic Frustrated Yearnings – cut off, seeking to come but hindered by Satan, the believers were like their crown and glory


1 Thessalonians 3


v.1-5 What had Happened – although Paul stayed in Athens, they sent Timothy to encourage them to cope with their trials, and then sent to him for news.

v.6 Timothy's Report – reported on their faith and love, their good memories and longings to see them

v.7-10 It's Effect - they were encouraged, thanking God for the joy they had because of them. They prayed they would be able to come eventually to strengthen and bless them.

v.11-13 Paul's Desire – to be able to come, for their love to increase and their hearts strengthened to stand holy and purte rady for Jesus' return.


1 Thessalonians 4


v.1-2 Exhortation to Obedience - backup instructions to be obedient

v.3-6 Specific Matters - Sanctification is God's goal for you – so avoid sexual immorality; learn to control you own body so you remain holy, not letting lust carry them away

v.7,8 Our Calling - God calls from impurity to holy living; if you ignore this teaching you re ignoring God.

v.9,10 Live a Life of Love – live what God has taught you, your love known through the area, do it more and more

v.11,12 Live a Life of Peace – seek the quiet life, attending your own business, working with hands, earn respect of others

v.13-18 Believers who have Died – have hope about death; when Jesus returns he will bring the dead with him, and we who are alive will then join them all


1 Thessalonians 5


v.1-3 The Day of the Lord – the Lord's coming will be at an unknown time which will come as a surprise to the unbelieving world

v.4-7 We are different - living in the light, we're different, so be awake and ready

v.8-11 Our Lives - let faith and love and hope protect you as you wait; salvation not judgment is our outcome, awake or asleep

v.12-15 Living with Others - acknowledge leaders who care and teach, live at peace, warn those who are idle or disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone, ensure no one pays back wrong for wrong, but all seek what is good for one another and indeed, for everyone else.

v.16-24 Living before God - rejoice always, pray continually ad give thanks in all circumstances, d o not quench the Spirit, do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. Let God purify you, resdy for Jesus' return

v.25-28 Final Exhortations – pray, greet, read this out, know grace .


Final Summary:


Part 1: Recollections & Explanations


In Chapter 1 Paul recollects what the Thessalonians are like, their reputation in the area.

In Chapter 2 he continues to remember how they had brought the Gospel despite opposition and how the Thessalonians had received it and stood, also despite opposition, and he rued not being able to come back to them.

In Chapter 3 he explains how they had been hindered by the enemy in returning and so stayed at Athens but sent Timothy to support and encourage believers against their opposition, and how he had sent back a good report that had so encouraged them.


Part 2: Teaching Encouragements in the Light of the Lord's return


In Chapter 4 he reminds them to hold to the teaching they had received from them, remaining pure and holy, with orderly and peaceable lives earning respect from outsiders while they await Christ's return.

In Chapter 5 he continues speaking about Christ's return that will come as a surprise to the sleeping world but should not be so to believers. In the meantime let our lives by loving and caring and open to God's moving.


Final Comment


This letter is an outworking of their previous visit to Thessalonica where the Gospel brought in the face of much opposition, brought much fruit. They had wanted to return to see them again but the enemy had hindered them, so instead they sent Timothy who sent back a good and encouraging report.


Part of the letter is looking back, while the rest of it bring teaching and encouragement while all the time in the background is the thought of looking forward to the Lord's return.


The teaching/reminding element encourages with reminders of the protection we have, and challenges us to live holy and loving lives, open to the leading of the Spirit.