1 Thessalonians 1:1-5

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5



  • Among the more difficult teachings of the Christian faith is the doctrine of predestination. According to this biblical doctrine, all people are born into this world dead in their sins, making them guilty before a righteous God and unwilling to turn to God for life and forgiveness (see Rom 3:9-18; Eph 2:1-3). Therefore, if anyone is to be saved, God must sovereignly act in grace and love on their behalf. The first act of his grace toward fallen humanity is to predestine or choose, apart from any foreseen merit or faith, some people to be part of his family (see Rom 8:28-30; Eph 3:4 & 11). 
    • What do you think about the doctrine of predestination?
    • In what ways is this doctrine difficult? In what ways is it beautiful?
    • How do you know if somebody is “chosen?”

Paul and his missionary companions thank God for the faith, hope, and love of the Thessalonian Christians because these Spirit-wrought virtues are evidence that God has chosen them.


Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5 aloud.


  • The first prominent theme, found in verses 2-3, is that of giving thanks. Examine the text together using these questions:
    • Who is giving thanks?
    • When do they give thanks?
    • For whom are they giving thanks?
    • How do they give thanks?
    • What do they remember about the Thessalonians that overflow in thanks?
  • The second big theme in the text is that of election or predestination. In verses 4-5, Paul says that he and his companions know that God has chosen the Thessalonians for salvation.
    • What four pieces of evidence led him to this conclusion?
    • And what do each of these things mean, practically speaking?


Many people act as if the doctrine of predestination exists so that Christians will always have something interesting to argue about. On the other hand, Paul uses this doctrine not to argue with other Christians but instead to bring assurance to other Christians! He does this by highlighting for the Thessalonians all of the “evidences” of God’s grace and power in their lives, demonstrating that they indeed are a part of God’s family (i.e., chosen by God). Paul mentions their faith, love, and hope in Christ that leads to good work and labor. He also says hearing and believing the gospel, experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit, and having deep Christian conviction. And he addresses them as beloved brothers and sisters!

As an application, spend some time in your group deepening one another’s assurance by highlighting specific ways you see God at work in one another’s lives. 

You can begin each affirmation like this: “[Name], I thank God for you and know that God has chosen you to be part of his family because I see…[list your affirmations].”