Reading through the Bible together

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

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In chapters 4 and 5 Paul turns from the past to the future. There were things that were lacking in the faith of the Thessalonian believers (1 Thess. 3:10). Paul wants to help them remedy these deficits. The letter would begin the process, but the project would not be complete until Paul and the Thessalonians could be together again.

God is pleased when our character and our behavior are in line with His own character and behavior (4:1-2). When we are kind and gracious we mirror the kind and gracious character of God. When we abstain from sexual immorality, we show respect for the value that God places on other people (4:3-8).

How do you live a “quiet life” in the midst of the city today (4:9-12)? There the pursuit of money, the pursuit of things, and the pursuit of earthly relationships seem of utmost importance. Yet they fail to satisfy over the long term. Only eternal values can provide peace in the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Paul turns to end-time events in verses 13-18, not to establish all the details of what will happen before the End, but to deal with a real-life situation of hopeless grief. The key theme of the passage is, perhaps, “togetherness.” The living and the dead are carried up together so that they all can be “together” with the Lord. Neither group had been “with the Lord” in quite this sense before. The answer to hopeless grief is the hope of continued relationship throughout all eternity.

Jon Paulien

Loma Linda University

United States