1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 6

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:14-3:5

Recently, I came across the heartwarming story of an abandoned baby saved in a miraculous way. A teenage mother had buried her newborn under a layer of dirt in a field, but a dog found the baby on the very same day and alerted its owner, who was a farmer.2 Sadly, however, this is most unusual-many abandoned babies die before they can be rescued.

Although Paul had to leave Thessalonica in haste and was unable to return, in fervent love, he did his best to ensure that the believers were cared for spiritually.

Abandonment was the key charge laid against Paul. His enemies accused him of deserting the infant church in Thessalonica just as she was beginning to undergo persecution, and then refusing to return to help. In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6, Paul responded by reminding the Thessalonian believers how faithful a preacher he had been to them, and how loving a pastor-parent he had been for them (vv. 7-13). In today's passage, Paul goes on to explain his sudden departure and continued absence.

Abrupt abandonment: Paul was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. But wherever he went, there were Jews who opposed his efforts (v. 16; see also Acts 13:50; 14:2, 19; 17:13). In Thessalonica, some local Jews had instigated a riot against Paul and the church, as described in Acts 17:5-9 and as Paul recalls in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15. His continued presence in the city would have brought about yet more vicious persecution upon the infant church, so he left to prevent further harm from befalling them.

Continued absence: Paul had earlier addressed the Thessalonian believers as his beloved ″brothers and sisters″ (1:4). Repeating this familial metaphor, he now writes of being ″orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought)″ (2:17). Paul's family has been torn apart, but he cherishes the believers in his heart though physically separated from them.

Paul also reveals that he had made ″every effort″ to see the Thessalonians again-″We wanted to come to you-certainly I, Paul, did, again and again″ (vv. 17-18). But these repeated attempts to return were blocked by circumstances which he attributed to the devil (v. 18). His absence, he emphasises, was certainly not due to lack of love or effort.

Assurance and priorities: Having explained his departure and absence, Paul assures the Thessalonian believers that he would not abandon them (3:1-5). To return and teach God's Word to them, in fact, remained of primary concern and priority-″Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith″ (v. 10).

Paul demonstrated the importance of this priority to him by sending another teacher to the believers, who would ″strengthen and encourage [them] in [their] faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials″ (vv. 2-3). The man sent, Timothy, was no junior worker or novice Bible teacher, but an esteemed member of Paul's pastoral and teaching team-″our brother and co-worker in God's service″ (v. 2).

Although Paul had to leave Thessalonica in haste and was unable to return, in fervent love, he did his best to ensure that the believers were cared for spiritually.

2 ″Dog rescues baby buried alive in field in Thailand″, BBC, 17 May 2019. Accessed from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48311028

Think through:

What is one prayer you could say for your (biological or spiritual) children this week?

Are you helping or mentoring someone whom you cannot meet in person? Think of a few creative ways to stay in touch and ensure that he or she continues to grow in the faith.




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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