1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12



Some sociologists today claim that we live in a meaning vacuum (Meaning of Life). Ben Sixsmith - writer and Journalist in Poland, says that “we now live in a philosophical depression - everyone is poking around for meaning, but nothing holds up.” How does a modern person find meaning in their lives? 

Contrary to our culture, this text repeatedly tells us that we should not do things that elevate our position, help us obtain wealth, become popular, or develop a life of ease. 

Our lives should be the opposite; we should strive to live quietly, work hard until the end, and mind our own business—but this is only possible if we know that something better awaits us. This meaning of life, found in God, is the power to do what Paul calls us to.


Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 aloud.


  • Based on what you have studied and learned so far throughout this study of 1 Thessalonians, where does a Christian find meaning in life?

  • A meaningful life based in God will express itself in many ways. Paul encourages them to continue in the work of brotherly love (Philadelphia). This appeal to love one another is based on the same love a brother and sister would have between them. Paul reminds them that in the new family (The Family of God), the love that existed only between siblings now belongs to everyone and anyone who is part of God’s family (The Church). 
    • If you heard, "A person who has found meaning in God is freer to love the people around them like a brother/sister than someone who has not found meaning in God,”  would you agree or disagree? Why? 
    • What does it mean that the family of God has a new type of love, where people who previously had nothing in common now love each other like brother and sister?  
    • Do you see this anywhere else in the world, or does this seem unique to Christianity?  
    • Does Christianity reflect this well? Do you reflect this well? 

  • Without God - meaning in life is something that we need to create for ourselves. In some ways, not living a quiet life, minding the world's affairs, and getting people to work for us so that we don’t need to work ourselves might help create a life of ease, wealth, and self-defined meaning. 
    • Why would each of these directives—“aspire to live quietly,” “mind your own affairs,” and “work with our hands”—come off as countercultural today?

  • Which of these three instructions is more straightforward for you? Which is harder? How do you feel you stack up to this? 

  • Paul ends this text by saying that we do this for two reasons: (1) That we may walk properly before outsiders and (2) That we may be dependent on no one. 
    • Why does Paul say this?  
      • Why should we walk appropriately before outsiders?
      • Why should we be dependent on no one? 
    • What implications might this have for evangelism? 
      • Why might a quiet life speak loud to those outside the church?  
      • Why might minding our own affairs mean other people would mind ours?  
    • Ask the same question from above:
      • Does Christianity reflect this well? Do you reflect this well?


Prayer Prep: Where might God be calling you to grow based on this text?  

Pray for one another in the change you want to see.