Here are some ideas for learning and teaching a few of the great principles in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. And while you’re here, I recommend you check out my free online course, “Seeking Jesus.”
Videos for 1 and 2 Thessalonians
One of the major themes in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is preparing for the Second Coming. If this is a topic you’re interested in, you might like Seeking Jesus, Class 27: The Savior’s Second Coming.
With only a few more weeks in the Pauline Epistles, if you haven’t recently seen the seminary video from the 1990s, “Paul, A Chosen Vessel,” I recommend it.
Speaking of seminary videos, “The Second Coming,” isn’t one of my all-time favorites, but I do like the piano practice analogy and we’ll probably watch it as a family this week.
Ideas for Learning More About 1 and 2 Thessalonians
***Background to the Earliest Epistle***
While we don’t know for certain, it appears that 1 Thessalonians is the earliest existing letter from Paul, and thus the earliest New Testament writing we have. Before diving into 1 Thessalonians, it might be helpful to review Acts 17:1-9, which is an account of Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica. A couple of phrases from that account that I particularly appreciate are, “some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and…of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few” (v. 4). This is an important reminder about the important role women played in early Christian ministry. Another powerful phrase comes when those who opposed early Christians complained to the rulers of the city, calling Paul and his companions those who “have turned the world upside down” (v. 6). This phrase makes me wonder if I am doing enough to build God’s kingdom. Metaphorically speaking, am I “turning the world upside down” in my efforts to proclaim Christ?
***Give Thanks in All Things***
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” You might want to save this activity for Thanksgiving, but I love the “Finding 100 Things You’re Grateful For” (see “Take A Gratitude Challenge” at the bottom of this article). This could be a fun activity to do in connection with 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and then posting your 100 things your grateful for around the house as a Thanksgiving decoration. If you decide to focus on this verse in your studies or teachings this week, I also recommend rereading President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Grateful in Any Circumstances.”
***Using the Blue Letter Bible***
When I’m doing my own New Testament study, the Blue Letter Bible is one of my most frequently used tools. It’s a great way to learn more about the meanings of Old Testament Hebrew or New Testament Greek in a specific verse. It’s useful because there are often times when the original language can clarify the meaning of a passage.
I recommend practicing your Blue Letter Bible skills on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 are really relevant verses, and I think looking at the Greek behind them can help us go even deeper in understanding how we can apply these words in our lives today.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 is one of the most frequently quoted verses about the apostasy. Kent P. Jackson’s article, “New Testament Prophecies of Apostasy” has some interesting insights into the New Testament teachings on this topic.
I hope these resources are helpful to you in your learning and teaching this week!