1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 5

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13

Having defended his ministry and explained his message, motives, and methods (1 Thessalonians 2:1-6), Paul offers another defence of himself. This time, he highlights his role as a pastor (vv. 7-13). The Thessalonian believers were Paul's spiritual sons and daughters; he had nurtured these infant believers until strong opposition forced him away from them (Acts 17:1-10).

″To live lives worthy of God″ means ensuring that everything we do-our words, actions, and thoughts-is consistent with our heavenly Father.

What kind of pastor and spiritual parent was Paul?

Because of his severity towards false teachers and sinful conduct in his letters, Paul has often come across as hardhearted and lacking empathy and compassion. His affectionate and tender side is often overshadowed by his no-nonsense approach. However, in this passage, Paul displays parental vulnerability.

First, he shows a feminine aspect, showering his hearers with motherly tenderness. ″We were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children,″ he says with the gentle concern of a nursing mother. ″We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God's Good News but our own lives, too″ (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, NLT).

Then, he speaks with the paternal concern of a nurturing father, urging his spiritual children to lead holy lives. ″We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God″ (vv. 11-12).

Paul expected his spiritual children to live in a manner that God would consider worthy of himself. Biblical expositor Alexander Maclaren notes that this is the whole law of Christian conduct in a nutshell. He observes: ″There may be many detailed commandments, but they can all be deduced from this one. Instead of regulations, very many and very dry, we have a principle which needs thought and sympathy in order to apply it, and is to be carried out by the free action of our own judgments.″1

″To live lives worthy of God″ means ensuring that everything we do-our words, actions, and thoughts-is consistent with our heavenly Father. We are to ″follow God's example . . . as dearly loved children and live a life of love″ (Ephesians 5:1-2; see also Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:14-15). We are to become more and more like His Son Jesus Christ (see Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). And we are to ″be holy in everything [we] do, just as God who chose [us] is holy″ (1 Peter 1:15, NLT).

To live worthy lives, we need God's Word, for it has power to transform lives. As Paul notes in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, the Bible is ″not . . . a human word, but . . . it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe″. We need to receive, believe, and live by God's Word (see Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Psalm 119:9-16).

This is a worthy goal for parents, both biological and spiritual-to desire that their children live fruitful lives that honour and please the Lord in every way (see Colossians 1:10).

1 ″Walking Worthily″, Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, StudyLight.org. Accessed from https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/1-thessalonians-2.html

Think through:

How would you describe Paul's relationship with the Thessalonian believers? What can you learn from Paul about extending pastoral care to others?

How might you contribute to the spiritual development of your biological or spiritual children? What is one thing you could do to help them know God better?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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