1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5



In 2017, Tim Farron, the leader of the British Liberal Democrats, resigned from public office for a reason he deemed “discrimination against him as a result of his Christian faith.” His final statement before his resignation reads as:

“The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader.” —---“A better, wiser person may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to remain faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment. To be a leader, particularly of a progressive liberal party in 2017, and to live as a committed Christian and to hold faithful to the Bible’s teachings has felt impossible for me.”

  • Can you relate to Tim Farron’s sentiments? 
  • Where do you particularly feel this tension, making it difficult to live as a public Christian? Are there specific topics that bring this out more than others?

Because we, as Christians, are following God - opposition and affliction are things we can assume will happen to us. But we also know that God can and will use these as hidden opportunities for growth, refinement, and development of faith.


Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5 aloud:

13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

3 Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4 For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Th 2:13–3:5.


Reflect on the text
  • Summarize what Paul is saying to the Thessalonians here. What’s his mood? How does he feel towards the church in Thessalonica? 
  • Why might Paul want to warn them about the affliction they will experience instead of teaching them after they suffer it?

Opposition and affliction are common experiences for Christians. Although, just because it is a common experience doesn’t make it easy. Paul’s teaching in these verses quickly explains that Christianity isn’t necessarily a path to an easy life, but in one way or another, it’s the opposite. At some point in your life, affliction, suffering, or opposition of some type comes into the lives of all Christians. 
  • Imagine you meet someone outside the church, and they are reading this text. And they ask: “If this is true, why would I want to be a Christian?” — How would you respond? How would the church in Thessalonica react to that?  

Last week was Easter. The Apostles all suffered opposition and persecution after the resurrection.
  • What about their lives or experiences gave them the power to keep going amid hardships? What can we learn from their example?
  • Can you think of any way God could use affliction to strengthen his church or your faith? 

Personal reflection and application
  • Name any opposition that you are currently experiencing - either spiritually or personally.
  • Or, asked another way - have there been circumstances in your life that cause you to wonder if faith in God is worth it?


Pray for one another amid these affiliations. How might your group step into each other's lives to support one another?