Thessalonians: Render thanks to God



Scripture verse (I Thessalonians 3:9): “For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God,”



  1. Students should understand the content and context of the verse.
  2. Students should be able to identify at least one person who has been like Paul to them, praying for them and loving them in the Lord.


Background on the book:

            Actually, if Paul’s letters were put in the order in which they were written, Galatians would be first, followed by I Thessalonians.  Paul had founded the church in Thessalonica (Find it on the map, now called Saloniki.) after leaving Philippi on his 2nd missionary, during which Paul had changed his travel plans after seeing a vision of a young man in Macedonia calling out for help. Thessalonica was the leading city of Macedonia of its day, located on the Aegean Sea and on the Great Northern Highway of the Romans. Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles, and the church there had both. After leaving Thessalonica for Athens, Paul was worried and sent Timothy back to check on the young church.  When Timothy joined Paul in Corinth, Paul wrote the 1st letter to the Thessalonians, around AD 50-51.

            II Thessalonians was written by Paul about a year after the first letter, probably in AD 52.  Here he congratulates the believers for their continued spiritual growth and corrects a false teaching concerning the last days that had developed.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Review the background of the epistle. Who wrote it? Who carried it? Find the places on the map and trace Paul’s steps.


  1. Scripture lesson: I Thessalonians 3:9:13, II Timothy 1:1-4, II Kings 2:8-14. What was Paul’s relationship to the Thessalonians, to Timothy? Was he their earthly father? In what way was he their spiritual father? How did he show his love for his children in the Lord?


  1. Are there examples in the Old Testament of this sort of loving father/son, mentor/student relationship: Review the stories of Moses and Joshua, Eli and Samuel, Elijah and Elisha.


  1. Is there someone in your own life who has had an impact on you spiritually? Does your life cause them joy? Do they pray for you? Stop right now and write a thank-you note to that person. Mail it today that their joy may be complete.


  1. Close with prayer.