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November 1 – Introduction to Thessalonians

Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians opens a window onto a newly planted church in the middle of the first century AD. It tells us how it came into being, what the apostle taught it, what were its strengths and weaknesses, its theological and moral problems, and how it was spreading the gospel. Paul shows how the church is created and given shape by the gospel and once established, the church then goes out and spreads the gospel.

To the church of the Thessalonians

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:1

Scripture reading: Acts 17:1-9

On his second missionary journey Paul, along with his fellow servants, Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, arrive in Thessalonica. They had come from Philippi where they had been met with animosity and persecution. They spent three weeks preaching the Gospel and God blessed that work.

Paul, as was his custom, entered the Jewish synagogue and reasoned to the Jews from Scripture and then we read that Jews, along with a great multitude of devout Greeks and a number of women, responded favourably to the preaching. What we see happening there in Thessalonica is people from different social and economic backgrounds coming together in faith. We see a powerful expression of Christian unity in the face of persecution. These Jews and Greeks were called out of darkness into God’s marvellous light, in response to the preaching. We see conversion and regeneration. We see men and women turning from their false gods to the only true God. We see spiritually dead men and women coming alive in Jesus Christ.

The all-inclusive question now for you and me is: Has the preaching of the Gospel borne fruit in our heart and life? Have we turned from our earthly idols and turned to serving the Lord? To bring it even closer to home, the question is: Have I personally become a new creation in Jesus Christ?

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to help you to tear your idols out of your life so that you will turn more and more to the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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