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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
Christians imitate the Lord and model the gospel.
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Published October 23rd, 2019
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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7 NIVUK
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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
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4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
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Main point summary
Election is confirmed by imitation of the apostles' life and joy, so that others can see the gospel.
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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
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For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God,
εἰδότες, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ [τοῦ] θεοῦ,
that he has chosen you,
τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν,
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because our gospel came to you not simply with words
ὅτι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐγενήθη εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν λόγῳ μόνον
but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.
ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ [ἐν] πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ,
You know how we lived among you for your sake.
καθὼς οἴδατε οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν [ἐν] ὑμῖν διʼ ὑμᾶς.
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You became imitators of us and of the Lord,
Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου,
for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,
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And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
ὥστε γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς τύπον πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ.
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1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
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[ v2 ευχαριστουμεν ]
Main clause
[ v3 μνημονευοντες ]
Means
εἰδότες, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ [τοῦ] θεοῦ, τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν,
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ὅτι
Content
τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐγενήθη εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν λόγῳ μόνον
ἀλλὰ καὶ (...) ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ [ἐν] πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ,
καθὼς οἴδατε
οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν [ἐν] ὑμῖν διʼ ὑμᾶς.
Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου,
δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,
ὥστε γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς τύπον πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ.
Result
εἰδότες, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ [τοῦ] θεοῦ, τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν,
ὅτι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐγενήθη εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν λόγῳ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ [ἐν] πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ, καθὼς οἴδατε οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν [ἐν] ὑμῖν διʼ ὑμᾶς.
Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου, δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,
ὥστε γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς τύπον πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ.
phrasing
Bible Study
Introduction Lead-In Question: How do you know someone is a Christian? This question will most likely fall into the areas of what someone believes, which gives good opportunity to briefly discuss and review the core tenets of the gospel. Also, there may be need to carefully dismiss false views (e.g. someone is a Christian because they are baptised, attend church etc.). It is only God who truly and absolutely knows who are his (2 Tim 2:19). It is never wise for Christians to go around dogmatically pronouncing who is and isn't a Christian... Look at v4. What surprises you here. Paul makes a clear statement that he is sure that the Thessalonians are elect, that is, chosen and that their are saved. Chances are, we would be slow to make such a assertion. So what gives Paul such confidence to do so? Main Study: Paul outlines two things that give him confidence in the Thessalonians' salvation: 1. A Christian imitates the gospel (v6). Paul starts by talking about when his apostolic team visited Thessalonica. And he explains what he and his team did and what they were like with the people there. Look at v5: What did Paul not do? And what did he do? Having framed the verse in its context, here I am getting the people to look at the verse and observe what is said. The idea is that Paul didn't merely come and preach ("simply with words") but that he came with power, determination, conviction, all of which were enabled by the Holy Spirit . Sometimes v5 is understood to be speaking about the conviction that the Thessalonians had. But the end of v5 makes clear that Paul is speaking about how he behaved. Look at v6: What does Paul say about the Thessalonians? Paul points to how the Thessalonians imitated Paul and his team. They welcomed the gospel not just in words but in actions, regardless of the consequences (i.e. 'severe suffering'). This is really important. Paul is not thanking God (v2) simply because they heard and believed the message. He has confidence about their salvation because they lived. They welcomed the message as well as the life that goes with it . One of the things that gives Paul confidence about the election and salvation of the Thessalonians is there imitation of the apostles' lifestyle. 2. A Christian models the gospel (v7). Look at v7: What was the result when the Thessalonians welcomed the message? Their response had a wider impact. This is really important isn't it. What does it mean to "become imitators of us and of the Lord" - the answer is not simply believing truth - it is living in such a way that the truth becomes known to others. Conclusion We often reduce the biblical teaching down to its bare essentials (the things of 'first importance,' 1 Cor 15:3-8). But there is something really important that we miss: Paul expects Christians to not only be believers in the gospel but models of the gospel. To imitate the apostles (and the Lord) is not simply to hear the truth and keep it to ourselves. It is to make the truth known to others (by both word and deed). We see this in Matthew 5:13-16 as well as lots of other places (like Matthew 28:18-20, Philippians 2:14-16 and 1 Peter 2:12). Application How does this passage challenge you? Where do you tend to look for assurance of your own salvation? What might you do this week to imitate the gospel and model the gospel to others?
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Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.