We are studying 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 for Sunday, November 10. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions about the text we might want to consider in class.
In vv2-3, Paul describes his inclusion of the Thessalonians in his prayers; he says he and his mission colleagues “always give thanks to God” for them, and lists the specific faith, love, and hope that they remember. What impression does this give us of Paul’s relationship to the Thessalonians? What impression does this give us of Paul’s prayer life? Why is that?
[More personal] How does our own prayer practice compare to Paul’s – how is it similar, do we think; how is it different? Is what Paul describes something we would like to imitate in our own prayer, or not? What makes us say that? What will we do about that?
In v4, Paul refers to the Thessalonians having been “chosen” by God. What do we understand this to mean? What makes us think this? [For instance, is it something in the text? Something we know from elsewhere in Scripture? Something we have learned? Where?]
How does our answer here seem to affect the way we read the rest of the text?
Paul lists the reasons for his statement that the Thessalonians have been chosen in v5: because “the message of the gospel came … in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” What do we understand this to mean? Where do our images or ideas of what Paul is saying here come from, do we think? Have we ourselves experienced or heard of similar experiences? What makes this “evidence” of what Paul is talking about, do we think?
[More personal] What evidence do we ourselves rely on when we think about our own sense of belonging to the body of Christ?
What do we think Paul and Silas “became” for the Thessalonians’ sake? What do we think it meant for the Thessalonians to have become “imitators” of Paul and Silas?
[More theoretical] If we think about the way we learn: do we learn different things from imitating or copying someone’s behavior than we do from understanding what they say? How would we describe that difference? What impression does this give us of the way the Thessalonians learned about being God’s people?
[More personal] How have we ourselves learned about being God’s people, would we say?
[Way more personal] Would we ourselves want some new Christians to imitate us? Or not? Or … in part? Which part(s)? Why? How do we want to follow up on that?