Nov 12 – 23 Pentecost
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Coming of the Lord
Background: This book is most likely one of the earliest Christian texts in existence. Paul probably composed the text from Corinth in 50-51 CE. It is uncertain whether Paul is replying to a letter, but it is likely he isn’t. Generally, it appears Paul is writing to help establish the identity and shape the theology of the Thessalonian church.
Theme: This passage falls at the beginning of a section that describes the Lord’s coming (parousia) and addresses the nature of Jesus’ second coming. This passage offers consolation to those in Thessaloniki about the possible misconceptions about Christ’s return.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
* Place this reading in context; where does it take place, who are the characters, what is the relationship between the characters, etc.?
* Locate the following places: Corinth, Thessaloniki.
* What do you think the overarching question was for the Thessalonians? What do you think caused Paul to write a letter of consolation to them, especially considering they were a young church?
* In your own words, what do you think parousia means and why would the question of parousia be of importance to the fledgling Christian movement?
* What do you think Paul wants to inform the Thessalonian church about?
* How might the death of a believer lead to the loss of hope for those who are “left behind”?
* What do you think the struggle was for the Thessalonians as they were evolving in their faith?
* How might this passage support the premise of “limbo” a place between life and heaven?
* Do you think those who have died in the faith of Christ are waiting in the grave for Jesus’ return?
* What might the word of encouragement be that Paul speaks of in verse 18?
* How does this passage relate to Jesus’ saying that “some of you will not taste death until you see the Son of Man descending in a cloud.”?
* What might this passage have to say about our life as Christians in the 21st century?
* How do we gain hope from this passage in an ever increasingly hostile and violent world?