I’ve been reading though 1 Thessalonians for a while these days and thought it would be cool to type up my thoughts on what I’m reading. I guess it’s basically my own commentary on it. This is basically for myself and anyone who wants to simply read what I think of when I’m reading this. If you’re not pumped about the Bible, this might get boring for you haha.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace. (1 Thessalonians 1:1, ESV)
v1. It can be noticed that even though Paul is the primary writer of the letter, he is including both Silvanus and Timothy in the authorship of the letter. It is most probably because it was as a group that they came to the Thessalonians and he wants them to recognize that it is not simply Paul who is presented to them but a group of brothers who shepherd them. I think that this is truly beautiful to me because it helps us to recognize that though Paul is the author of many of the New Testament Epistles, he worked closely with other brothers in the proclamation of God’s word and shepherding of His people.
The most relevant context in which I can apply this is my own Community Groups, to Cru, and also the local churches. I have been in Community Groups, which is what Cru calls small groups where we fellowship and study God’s word together, where I have been both the only leader or part of a “board” or group of leaders. I can be honest in that it has always been harder leading on my own. In the small groups in which I have been part of a group of leaders, I have been both part of the rotation of leaders and also one in which I was the vision caster of the leader group. Either way, it has been essential in my experience to have others with you. God did not create individuals, but a people that He might call His. We are to be God’s nation, not God’s individuals.
It is when you have shared leadership that you can actually see more clearly because you have the eyes, insight, and perspective of others you respect. They can support you when you are weak, and encourage you in where you are strong. God made us a part of a body in which Christ is the true head. Let us continue to work with this knowledge and apply it also in our leadership. I would encourage all leaders to surround themselves with brothers and sisters who will help them think, see and love Jesus better. This means putting people in your life that aren’t like you, essentially other parts of the body of Christ. You will be amazed by how much you can learn from them.
The sharing of authority does not mean that you shrink back from responsibility though. This can be a blessing in that the caring and encouragement of the group is shared together. Sometimes people will think that because responsibility is shared they can leave more on others all the time. Yes, when there are hard times and certain situations happen, we are supposed to help our fellow brother or sister out. Though this should not continue to an extent where we take advantage of each other’s kindness. I think it’s important to know that we are co-laborers with Christ and also with each other. If we were physically working alongside Jesus, we would probably not tell Him to do all the work, especially if we love Him and call Him our Savior, but most likely be honored that we can work and sweat and enjoy life by His side.
The second part of this verse is noting that the Thessalonians are “in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” which can be a bit funny sounding and hard to understand for most people. I think that this is referring to the idea that their position, status, or identity is found in God and Jesus. I have wondered why the Holy Spirit isn’t mentioned in this part but it doesn’t mean Paul is forgetting about Him. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in the letter and is emphasized to be truly important in the life of a Christ. Maybe this is just grammar, but it’s not that we are in the Holy Spirit, but that the Holy Spirit is in us. It is also through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able at all to have an identity in the Father and Jesus.
I love that when Paul writes, he brings out characteristics of God and Jesus all the time, so that his readers would constantly be learning about Him in every sentence. Here we know that God is not simply creator, author, but also the true Father. Secondly Jesus is not just Jesus, Son of God, but He is Lord, meaning King, or a title in which one refers to someone who has authority over you. This is truly another important study in itself, this doctrine that Jesus is Lord. Do we truly believe that? Another is the reminder that Jesus is also the Christ, the Messiah, or the anointed one of God. Even though he is writing to Greeks, I believe he is truly reminding them of the importance of the fact that Jesus is sent by God and the true Savior. Especially in that society where there can be so many “saviors” or “gods.”
Finally, he ends with “grace to you and peace.” I found it funny that he didn’t say “grace and peace to you.” The first part, I believe is Paul simply reminding them that they have been bestowed with God’s unmerited favor. And rightly so, as they are Greeks whom God has chosen to dwell in. They were some of the first gentiles to receive the gospel, which is a great privilege and blessing. I think it is always immensely important for us to be reminded that we are sinners saved by God’s undeserved grace. I truly think that if we remembered this simple truth every day we would live differently. n regards to the “peace” part, I thought it was weird but I was reminded of the fact that the word Peace is in of itself a greeting that points to the Hebrew “Shalom” which has a true deeper meaning. This deeper meaning points to the understanding of a world in which it is all that it should be, essentially “I hope that you will experience the life that God meant for you to live in His ordered harmony. Or I guess more simply put, “All is well.” Quite the greeting I must say. Kind of like how I pass people these days and say without thinking, “How are you?” It comes out of my mouth as simply a greeting, but is really a starter to a deeper conversation. I should really be more careful when I say that nowadays.
Anyways. This might take forever if I were to actually dive into my thoughts for every verse. I think I should hit on some bigger ideas throughout the passage next time. Gahh.