1 Thessalonians 3:5-8
5 So when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter somehow tempted you and our toil had proven useless.
6 But now Timothy has come to us from you and given us the good news of your faith and love and that you always think of us with affection and long to see us just as we also long to see you!
7 So in all our distress and affliction, we were reassured about you, brothers and sisters, through your faith.
8 For now we are alive again, if you stand firm in the Lord.
Context: In the last passage, Paul tells how he sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to strengthen and encourage their faith in the midst of their persecution. Now Paul tells how he received Timothy’s report of their faith.
So when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith-
- Again Paul repeats his words from verse 3:1. He just ‘had’ to know the state of their faith.
for fear that the tempter somehow tempted you and our toil had proven useless-
- Meaning Paul was unsure if their faith endured the persecution previously mentioned in verses 3:3-4.
- The tempter is Satan.
- If they had fallen away, then it would prove their faith was not true and Paul’s labor among them was not useful for their salvation.
- Strong’s Definitions: πειράζω peirázō, pi-rad’-zo; to test
- Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: to solicit to sin, to tempt
- Matthew 4:3 (NET) 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”
- Mathew 13:18-23 18 “So listen to the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his heart; this is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed sown on rocky ground is the person who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 But he has no root in himself and does not endure; when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 The seed sown among thorns is the person who hears the word, but worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth choke the word, so it produces nothing. 23 But as for the seed sown on good soil, this is the person who hears the word and understands. He bears fruit, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”
- Can you describe a time in your life when you were tempted to forsake your faith in God?
- Can you think of others you know who were tempted and fell away from Christ and the church? How did this make you feel?
But now Timothy has come to us from you and given us the good news of your faith –
- Meaning Timothy described to Paul that the faith of the Thessalonians persevered while in the trial.
- 1 John 5:4 (NET) 4 because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.
and love –
- Meaning not only did their faith endure, but their love for each other continued while in the trial.
and that you always think of us with affection and long to see us just as we also long to see you-
- Meaning not only did their faith persevere, but …
- Instead of them wanting to forget about Paul and this whole bad experience, they rather thought of him warmly,
- And instead of them wanting to be rid of Paul because of the pain his teaching had caused them, they rather desired to see him just as much as Paul desired to see them.
- Describe your feelings towards fellow believers who instead of falling away when tempted they still desired to come together each week to worship our Lord?
So in all our distress and affliction, we were reassured about you, brothers and sisters, through your faith-
- The below verses show Paul was fearful when he entered Corinth. Corinth was where this letter was written. There he was in distress.
- Beaten in Philippi, run out of Thessalonica, run out of Berea, knowing the persecution the new Thessalonian converts were enduring, and then needing to labor at his tent making to provide for himself in Corinth, the good news of there faith reassured Paul that the Thessalonians would persevere.
- 1 Corinthians 2:3 (NET) 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling.
- Acts 18:9-10 (NET) 9 The Lord said to Paul by a vision in the night, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, 10 because I am with you, and no one will assault you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.”
For now we are alive again, if you stand firm in the Lord-
- In all his distress, the news made Paul and his workers feel alive again. Now they knew their work and suffering was not in vain because the Thessalonians were standing firm.
- How do you feel when someone close to you, and in whom you have invested much time, chooses to stand firm in their faith, and they do what is right in the Lord?
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Has the Tempter Tempted You Away?
Remember how Satan tempted you in your great trial, and you wanted to fall away? Therefore, do not be angry with others who have fallen away. Instead have sympathy because Satan has deceived them. Pray for them to return.
Isn’t it amazing that I caused your faith to endure through your trial. You and so many others still have faith, love for each other, and a desire to gather together to worship Me. This is the miracle of the New Birth. Glorify Me in this.
Again, pray for those who have fallen away. I know they distress you. Rejoice in those who stand firm in their faith – especially those whose faith is being tried.