They were young in the faith. Their church had only been planted in the early part of AD 51. By the end of that year, doubts had been also planted in their minds and rumors ran through the church that the Lord had come, leaving them behind. Paul could not see these young believers get derailed in their faith or discouraged. So, he wrote them a letter of assurance.
Paul starts by reminding them of how the gospel was received “in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6). He reminded them of his own labor among them “like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (2:7). When Paul could not leave where he was and go to Thessalonica, he sent Timothy to get a first hand report (3:1-2), who brought back an encouraging report. He followed this report with words about the coming of the Lord (chapter 4) and what the “day of the Lord” would look like (chapter 5).
As a final plea, Paul says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (5:11).
This is what we must be doing. The trials of today require that we use whatever means we can and reach out to the body of Christ with words that encourage and build up.
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