Paul’s second listed reason for his gratitude to God, given in v. 4-7, is for God’s choice in saving each of the Thessalonian believers.
1. Paul states in v. 4, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you. There are two Greek words that are translated knowing, ginōskō (#1097) and oida (#3609). Ginōskō mean “knowledge that is learned, through personal experience,” while oida signifies “knowledge that is intuitively known, by observation.” In regard to the salvation of the Thessalonians, Paul states in v. 4 that his knowing of their salvation is by oida (i.e. intuitively known, by his observation of them).
a. What is the significance of Paul’s use of the verb oida in reference to his knowing of the salvation of the Thessalonians?
b. Does Paul know, absolutely, that all of the members of the Thessalonian church were saved?
2. Paul refers to the Thessalonians as brethren beloved by God. The term brethren (adelphos—#80) is used 17 times by Paul in this letter. What is the significance of Paul’s use of this term throughout this letter?
3. In the phrase His choice of you, the term choice (eklogē—#1589) means “selection, election” or “called out, by name.”
a. What is the significance of this term in regard to salvation as Paul states here?
b. Paul’s statement, His [God’s] choice of you, affirms the doctrine of election, or God’s sovereignty in salvation, that is found throughout Scripture. What other passages affirm this doctrine? Are there any passages that deny God’s sovereignty in salvation?
4. In 1 Thess. 1:5 Paul states a negative, that our gospel did not come to you in word only. What does this mean?
5. Then, following the negative statement, in v. 5 Paul states 3 positive aspects of the gospel message . . . but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. Explain the significance of each of these three aspects of the gospel message.
the Holy Spirit--
with full conviction—
6. In the second half of v. 5 Paul calls upon the Thessalonians “knowledge” of his motives while he was with them. What is the purpose of this statement?
7. Having expressed his knowledge of their salvation by the evidence he has observed, in v. 6 Paul points to the evidence of their salvation. First Paul points out to the Thessalonians how you also became imitators of us and of the Lord.
a. The verb became (Gr. ginomai—#1096) is in the passive voice. What does this word mean and what is the significance of the verb being in the passive voice.
b. What does the word imitators (Gr. mimētēs—#3402) mean? What is significant about this word as Paul uses it here?
8. In the second half of verse 6 Paul presents a great paradox of the Christian life—suffering and joy. You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
a. What does this statement tell us about what was going on in the Thessalonian church? (see Acts 17:4-9)
b. We know from Galatians 5:22-23 that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. But what is joy? See if you can find a biblical definition of joy.
c. How is it possible to simultaneously have suffering and joy? What does this passage reveal that helps answer that question?