Reading through the Bible together
The major theme of
and going back into the previous (1 Thess. 2:13—3:13) is friendship. There was
a deep, emotional bond between Paul and the Thessalonians. But their
relationship was more than an emotional bonding, it was a forever friendship (1
Thess. 2:19-20; 3:13). This was not merely a relationship of convenience for
the sake of evangelism. Paul intends to continue being close to them throughout
One reason Paul
longs so much to see the Thessalonians is because he sees them as a validation
of his ministry. When Jesus returns the Thessalonians will be his joy and his
boast before Jesus. (2:19-20). Paul was not content merely to be saved, he also
wanted evidence that his life had made a difference in the lives of others. The
church needed Paul, but Paul also needed the church.
the gospel (what Jesus thinks of us) is a powerful way to build a stable sense
of self-worth, our fragile humanity craves tokens of success. The apostle Paul
seems to have been no exception. To some degree, his sense of self-worth as a
person was tied to the success of his mission endeavors (3:6-8). I find it encouraging
that even apostles can wonder what others think of them!
ultimate goal is to be accounted blameless by God in the final judgment
(3:11-13). But equally important for Paul is that the Second Coming will be a
glorious reunion of family and friends, whose relationships will last through
eternity because of what Jesus has done. Christian relationships do not have an
expiration date. They are designed to last forever.
Loma Linda University