Paul’s Ministry to Thessalonica

Open Your Bible

Acts 16:1-40, Acts 17:1-9

Today’s Reading: You’ll notice the Scripture reading for today is longer than the others. These chapters from the book of Acts provide context for our study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

My grandmother had five siblings, and by the time I came along, the six had married to become twelve. I grew up around their vegetable and flower gardens, in their kitchens that smelled of soup beans and cornbread. I listened to them tell stories late into the night, sat by as they played cards amid uproarious laughter, even stood outside in my pajamas after dark as they howled old songs by the light of the moon. 

I rarely think of one of them without thinking of all of them. In my mind they were a set—always connected. That’s not to say they were always together over the years. They saw wars and endured moves and raised children in different states across the country. But when life separated them, they built bridges with letters. They wrote letters home from overseas, sent postcards when they traveled, mailed handwritten pages of updates from one address to the other.  Even now that only two of the twelve remain, they write letters to us, their family. They keep us connected still. 

Letters encourage in a way email never will. They speak to a part of the soul that social media comments can’t quite reach. When I read the letters from the apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica, I hear the earnestness of words written by hand and carried on foot. I hear a weary pastor, a brother in the faith, longing to see his congregation—his family. 

Today’s Scripture reading gives us context for our study of the letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Acts 16 and 17 tell how Paul visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey—a journey that included many other cities and countless trials along the way. The apostle faithfully preached the gospel to anyone in earshot, and they ran him out of nearly every town he dared enter. But Paul’s work was not in vain, because the Holy Spirit was at work. Families of faith formed along his route, one of them in Thessalonica. 

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian believers are like so many of his other letters, filled with instruction on how to live the Christian life. But these letters do more than clarify theology; they are filled to the brim with affection and encouragement for the men and women whose belief in and hunger for the gospel encouraged him, their teacher. Paul wrote to build up his Thessalonian faith family, not with empty platitudes, but with a hope rooted in one truth: “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah” (Acts 17:3). 

(115) Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

115 thoughts on "Paul’s Ministry to Thessalonica"

  1. Revival Praygroup says:

    I need to be adding in you mailing list because we need to learn more about this church

  2. Jennifer says:

    The early Christians kept going and perservered. In my study bible it says that our world needs to be upside down to be transformed. We are in 2023 where evil is called good and good, evil. We are upside down like never before. friends, we have work to do for the gospel. Excited to do this study!

  3. Laura McElroy says:

    Great start to this study!

  4. Amanda Ellerbruch says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever fully read through the verses where it describes Paul’s time in jail! Even though I know the story, I’m struck with the incredible faith that Paul had to have had to see the light through the darkness when quite literally everything else was going wrong.

  5. Jill Norman says:

    So excited about this plan! I did a Thessalonians study by Beth Moore years ago and it set my heart on fire!!!

  6. Allie Dabney says:

    As I read this passage, I remember the song by Selah “Bless Your Name”. I so eagerly look forward to the encouragement from Paul as I read through this study.

  7. Zuri Berg says:

    I want to be a generation that turns this work upside down for the Kingdom.

  8. Zuri Berg says:

    My favorite verse is when they to Jason to their leaders and “ these men who have turned this world upside down have come here also.”

  9. Julia Burkhalter says:

    So ready to dive in to this study!!

  10. Devan Minor says:


  11. Biruktawit Rush says:

    Ready for this study❤️

  12. Lerin Miller says:


  13. Madison Odom says:

    This study is a true test image of faith and teaches us as believers to trust in god when spreading his word!

  14. Megan Strong says:


  15. Abigail Ennis says:


  16. Hannah Gealy says:

    I love seeing God work together for His glory even in the midst of a mob, earthquake and prison. It reminds me that I need to trust in God and know that he will work things out for His ultimate glory

  17. Hannah Gealy says:

    I love seeing the Spirit work together for ultimate good in this passage. Through mobs, earthquakes and jail, Paul was still being used for God’s glory. Sometimes I get so caught up in being comfortable and wanting life to be comfortable that I get mad at God when disappointment comes. But God will use all things- even an angry mob- for His good

  18. Mattie Schad says:


  19. Kayleigh DeRosier says:


  20. Emily B says:


  21. Tara Workman says:


  22. Dina Carbajal says:

    God’s word is life and powerful, He is all we need!

  23. Gabrielle Clark says:

  24. Kaylee Pike says:


  25. Tonya Eberly says:

  26. Thora Harding says:


  27. Ayo falegan says:

    Lovely reading looking forward to rest of this study

  28. Lizzy Gray says:


  29. Estel Alves says:

    Goid we praise You

  30. Kristi Abney says:


  31. Justina Robinson says:


  32. Brandi Smith says:


  33. Angie Terrado says:


  34. Jennifer Fischer says:

    Very encouraging to keep connections going❤

  35. Cheryl Nyasha Dube says:

    Such a powerful extract

  36. Erin Mauk says:

    Amen! Your daughter is blessed to have you. Keep on getting up when you fall. We will all fall short, always. But the Lord doesn’t give up on us and he loves us dearly.

  37. Susan Clifton says:

    From reading your posts, I would say “A child of God, always excited to do HIS work”.

  38. Susan Clifton says:

    Yes… great observation!

  39. Maria Romero says:

    I love this. I love how your heart is set for Christ and you understand what it truly means to live for Christ. I pray for you this morning Taylor that through this study you will grow stronger in your faith and your walk will grow to be worthy to the Lord.

  40. Taylor Ferguson says:

    Throughout the years I have struggled a lot with my faith. I never stopped believing but I struggled with my self worth because of some choices I made. I found my way back to Christ and I am growing in my faith every day and trying to help my daughter grow in her’s also. I grew up in a Christian household but much of my family are not true believers. They know God is real but the way they live their lives does not show that. They don’t live for Christ and they aren’t actively trying to. I try and fail all the time. I often fall short. But everyday I get out of bed knowing that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He died for my sins and He loves me. I will continue asking for forgiveness for my brokenness. So thankful for His mercy and grace.

  41. Ashley Archer says:


  42. Paula Strong says:

    I have 4 children and had hoped for big fun family times like this, but the boys have fallen away from the Lord and my family is not the happy family it once was. Praying we can have a happy large family gathering some day.

  43. Misty Portland says:

    Thankful for Gods Word this morning

  44. Tre'Shonda Sheffey says:

    Thank you for this context. I’ve read Acts many times but this was such a great reminder about trusting God when leading others to Christ. Paul was genuinely concerned about others being saved and not staying in a place of persecution. Last thing, I was curious to read the part about Paul being fed up with the woman (fortune teller) who continued to tell the community what Paul and Thomas were doing, and rebuked the evil spirit. Now as I pay closer attention I realize why he did it because she wasn’t operating with the right intentions rather than in the flesh (with greed).

  45. Angela Gee says:

    I noticed that too and made me giggle

  46. Kelsea Baumgarten says:

    Susan, agree so much! My grandmother was one of seven (and I also am one of seven). We are now 14 strong and it not only reminded me of our summers with my grandmother, but also the relationship my siblings and I have. What a better person I am because of these relationships. Warm tears for sure!

  47. Alexis Mendibles says:


  48. Debbie McIntire says:

    I noticed that, too, lol! Love your follow up thoughts on this, Hannah!

  49. Hannah McConnell says:

    Anyone else amused by the fact that Paul was annoyed and then simply cast out a spirit? Interesting combination of being in the flesh but functioning in the spirit. I think it shows great confidence in the HS working through him.

  50. Maria Dobbs says:

    I am new to SRT and am grateful for this path to follow. I hope that SRT eventually has studies for every book in the Bible!

  51. Melody Bates says:

    Getting started a day late but I’m excited for this study. I love anything studying Paul’s letters. Having context to where in his journeys the church of Thessalonica was started is a perfect way to start.

  52. Monique Hernandez says:

    I’m happy you think so too❣️

  53. Julia Allison says:

    So excited for this study!!!

  54. Jean Marty says:

    @Lauren praying for C and her parents that they will come to know and understand God’s love

  55. Molly Forsyth says:

    Yes and amen! The context is so good. I love that story about Paul and Silas in the prison. Yet, they remained because they were regarding someone, the guard, above themselves!! And he asked, “what do I need to do to be saved?”… Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved! SO GOOD!

  56. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i thank you for the word that trancends everything!

  57. Leah Smith says:

    This is my first SRT study and I’m excited! I’m hoping to get the books in the future. I have had the Bible for a few years and love the devotion inserts. I’m definitely more of a paper and book gal, but I love the community that can be formed regardless of distance on the app. Looking forward to going deeper into the Bible with you gals!

  58. Darby Sims says:

    This is my first study with SRT, and I am so looking forward to the next few weeks in this book. I love the context set through reading the Acts chapters to help see a broader view of Paul’s journey. I’m looking forward to studying one of his letters and engaging with new friends along the way.

  59. Abby Johnson says:

    Been reading SRT studies for almost two years, but this is my first with a book! What a wonderful devotion to start this study with.

  60. Lauren Beddingfield says:

    Please pray for C, a 7 year girl in my Girl Scout troop. She has been told that her parents are going to hell for not believing in God. She won’t leave the house and is terrified of everything. Pray for her parents’ salvation but also call out the demon that is crushing her precious soul with fear.

  61. Susan Crosby says:

    I love the narrative written by Amanda to go with this reading. A grandmother with 5 siblings that became 12 reminds me of my own childhood when I would go to my grandparents home for so many celebrations. My grandparents had 6 children and with all the aunts and uncles and cousins we had a blast. I love to send cards to family and friends. I rarely receive them in return and find people mostly send quick texts and a post on Facebook to say hello. Something is lost in this rushed world we live in. We rush around and barely notice people and even families who were once close are to busy. We need to really see people especially the ones who are lost and need the saving grace that Jesus and only Jesus can give. Time seems short these days and His return seems just around the bend. May we be like Paul and Timothy and share the good news whenever and wherever we can❤️

  62. Laura Moore says:

    So excited for you to jump into this beautiful community!!

  63. Dori Linderman says:

    Excited to start my first SRT study with you all.

  64. Adriana DeBartolomeis says:

    Excited to see this plan unfold ❤️ When I was in elementary/middle school, note passing was the big thing. I still have so many notes I passed with friends , than-boyfriends. I read them from time to time and always smile.

  65. Jamie Taylor says:

    I am glad to have the reference from Acts to serve as a jumping off point for this study. Excited to dive in!

  66. Harley Nunez-Hamrick says:

    I’m making a commitment to live in the Bible and start by following this reading plan. This raised so many questions for me but I’m determined to sit in prayer and meditation for better understanding. I’m looking forward to this.

  67. Alex says:

    So beautifully said!

  68. Tina says:

    DOROTHY, good to see you back. We held you in our prayers on Saturday, (thanks to Heidi’s good memory).. hope you are okay…
    Praying Gods loving arms around you and yours as you remember your niece.
    Hugs wrapped in love coming your way..❤
    JEN BREWER, Praying for reconciliation and wisdom as you face this difficult time.. God is good and faithful..sending hugs wrapped in hope filled love..❤
    TRACI, thankful for you and Tanners life.. God is good and absolutely worth the praise.
    Happy Birthdsy Tanner!
    Sending you love and hugs wrapped in praise❤

  69. Mercy says:

    The scribes and Pharisees persecuted Jesus out of envy, and in today’s reading, envy/jealousy again arises from the unbelieving Jews against Paul and his fellows (Acts 17:5). Unbelief leads to envy, massive envy, even to the point of wanting to murder. But faith leads to the longing for oneness, like the genuine hospitality of Lydia who welcomed them ( yet strangers) into her home regardless of any inconvenience (Acts 16:15). By the outward fruit, the hidden heart’s condition is revealed.

    Thank you everyone that has recommended “The Chosen” show. It was so powerful, and truly not like any typical Jesus’ show I have watched. Such Hollywood quality of directing, character building though it is quite a complex job, layers of emotions and pains were so well conveyed through this show. And the testimony the Director he shared that the day they decided to let the shows be FREE, that VERY day, their income got quadrupled, from the donations and “pay it forward” option in the Chosen App. That is just a miracle, especially during Covid and all, economic recession and all, God provided a way for them to continue this project. And the effect of the Miracle of the Fish, how they could not make it work, and then the Lord provided a solution to make the scene completed and flawless. I was just in awe hearing these testimonies (in behind the scenes conversations). If you haven’t watched this show, please go and watch. My Easter’s weekend was extra special because of “The Chosen”. Praise the Lord for this powerful production. Be blessed sisters!

  70. Juliet Armitage says:

    This is my first SRT plan, and I’m encouraged by seeing others on this journey to.

  71. Jennifer Anapol says:

    So excited to start this new she reads truth study! Excited to hear what Paul has to say to the early Christians.

  72. Churchmouse says:

    In our reading today Timothy is referred to as a “disciple.” His mother is referred to as “a Jewish woman who was a believer.” Lydia is referred to as “a worshiper of God.” Paul and Silas are referred to as “bond servants of the Most High God” and as “men who have upset the world.” What words would others use to refer to me? Not a closet Christian. Hopefully, a fully committed Christian. Certainly, a work in progress.

  73. Bonnie Rives says:

    Always on their way to the place of prayer. Prayer is not just the closing of their day, or the blessing of the food. Prayer was the days agenda.

  74. Jen Brewer says:

    Dear sisters—I also love letters. Still have letters my husband wrote me as we were dating and some at different times in our marriage. I treasure the written word of those who love me as well as have always been an avid reader. Love that God’s word is His love letter to us that changes us and draws us near to Him.
    Ironically, it was some letters over the last few months that seem to be at the root of some conflict and miscommunication among me and my only sibling and our husbands over the last month in particular. Would appreciate prayers for reconciliation and healing. Seems pretty hopeless right now and mainly makes me sad for the loss of relationship for our kids as well as how hard this conflict has been on my parents. Thanks for letting me share. Some of my favorite verses from these letters give me hope:

    Be joyful always. Pray continually and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 5:16-18

  75. Emily Trinder says:

    These comments really help me to understand even more so just what we are reading. So thankful for this group of Shes and the word of the Lord

  76. Kasey Deschaine says:

    That is a great point! Sometimes the easy way out isn’t always the rewarding one! And in this case an entire family was saved..which could’ve also meant the next generation, and the generation after that and so on…it reminds me of that song “The Blessing”…I can just imagine the early churches singing hymns and praise over their children, and their children’s children, and their children…such a beautiful concept.

  77. Jess Walker says:

    Right! It was for God’s glory but I believe also to bring shame to the magistrates who had them beaten. It was highly against their society to treat Roman citizens that way!

  78. Lauren Johns says:


  79. Sheila Upshaw says:

    Excited to start my new study, this is my first with She Reads Truth! God is awesome and am thankful for his faithfulness and Grace! Blessings to you all!

  80. Monique Hernandez says:

    I’m new to really diving into scripture but correct me if I’m reading it wrong. I noticed that Paul and Timothy could of said wait were Roman citizens before they were arrested and try to get out of being arrested. But IF they would of done that the jailer and his whole family wouldn’t of been saved. Praise God for this family was saved.

    1. Emma Dickinson says:

      I love this point!

  81. Dorothy says:

    This study is just what I need right now. I need encouragement. It seems all I want to do right now is work and loaf. I have been so lazy the last few weeks. I’m sure many of you noticed I haven’t been regular on commenting I need to get back to doing my devotions regularly.
    Hope all my sisters have a wonderful week.

  82. Emily McGrath says:


  83. Kristen Cobb says:

    Yes! Well put Linda! ❤️

  84. Traci Gendron says:

    Today is my son’s 33 birthday. He was only supposed to be with me for 27 years. (according to his doctors) I’m so very thankful to God for allowing me these extra years with Tanner. He is my joy. I pray that God is knitting his body back together for good and I will have more time with him. I’m also so thankful for SRT. I love spending my morning time with God and all you ladies. Wouldn’t it be great to all sit together and study God’s word in person!

  85. Ilone Duiker says:


  86. Victoria E says:

    Amen Sydney!

  87. M H says:

    Congratulations, Taylor! Praying all goes smoothly with orientation and background check goes through soon.

  88. Tiffany Stovall says:

    She reads truth has truly changed my heart and mind on spending time in the word every single day ! It has made such a big impact in my daily life and my ministry !!! Thank you for always pouring into us the way that you do !

  89. Candace OLeary says:


  90. Kristin Porter says:


  91. Brookd Graham says:

    I’m grateful that Jesus saves us from wherever we are in life! Jailing the innocent, fathered by an unbeliever, or in a meeting along a river. No matter where you are, salvation is for you, too!

  92. Jill Lee says:

    Excited to start a new study, and grateful for my She reads truth family!

  93. Valentina says:

    I found myself this morning, disappointed that Mark was done. I wanted more of the book of Mark, the past 21 days were SO good. However, I am looking forward to this next study and love the background context in Acts. I feel like with a lot of Paul’s letters, the background story can be found in the book of Acts.

  94. ADB says:

    Taylor, praying for you and your new job

  95. Britnous says:

    How nice to start with the context from Acts. I am noticing how they were often looking for a place to pray. What a simple act that God used to reach people

  96. Bethany B says:

    Loving this study already! The book is special, too! I really enjoy the “extras” maps, timelines etc. Happy learning ladies!

  97. Linda Gilbow says:

    Do my words strengthen the faith of others? Am I sensitive to the leading of the Spirit or do I plunge ahead with my own plans? Is my reaction “pray and sing” when I’m battered, or “imprisoned” by my circumstances? Paul is a strong example!!! I’m grateful for this community of women who seek God.

  98. Linda Gilbow says:

    Do my words strengthen the faith of others? Am I sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, or do I plunge ahead with my own plans? Is my reaction “sing and pray” when I am battered, or “imprisoned” by circumstances? What a great example Paul is! I’m grateful for this community of women who seek God.

  99. Sydney S says:

    Paul and Silas singing in the prison is one of my formative memories of my childlike understanding of the Bible. Every time I hear the story, it takes me back to the wonder of imagining an earthquake that broke the prison chains.

    And how Jesus broke the chains of this world through his crucifixion and resurrection. Because he loved us. Because God loved us. To be loved and held by God each and every day is the greatest blessing I could ask for. Happy Monday friends.

  100. Deanna says:

    @Taylor praying for you to have a good day, and your path to be cleared to begin patient-facing work! What a blessing.

  101. Deanna says:

    Grateful to begin in Acts, with a backstory and greater understanding of the tribulations Paul faced before he even came close to Thessalonica.

  102. Taylor says:

    Yesterday on Easter Sunday our pastor preached that the actions of the apostles are one of the biggest proofs that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Why would these men endure the rest of their lives being beaten, publicly disgraced, then murdered/crucified/sawed in half/etc if they never actually saw and believed that Jesus rose from the dead? I’m so excited to start this study as we worked our way through Joshua seeing God’s provision for His people, then Mark where we saw the Word made flesh, now 1&2 Thessalonians to see that faith in practice!

    Also today is my first day of my new job!!! It will be virtual orientation all day for the next two days but it feels surreal that I’m actually starting my first OT job! Prayers would be appreciated as my background check still hasn’t been processed yet and I really need it processed by Thursday so I can start treating patients! Have a blessed Monday SRT family <3

  103. Kristine Loughman says:

    “These men who have turned the world upside down…” So true. Jesus teaches an upside down kingdom, where the meek, the mourners, the orphans and widows, the poor with only two coins to their name, the ones who never thought they’d be invited to the table…they get a seat. And boy, does it scare the others. Their entire worldview just shifted; down is up. And they react out of fear. So many of my reactions come from fear. Change is scary. Growth can be painful. I pray for the soft heart of the women by the river, open to what Jesus will teach me in this study. Have a beautiful day, friends!

  104. SarahJoy says:

    Also, remembering letters between me and a certain soldier when he was in Iraq and then stationed 1,000 miles away on base in Texas. Handwritten letters on notebook paper… ❤️

  105. SarahJoy says:

    Three boys and three girls with me coming first. My family of origin has the best time when we all gather from around the country. Over the weekend we sat at screens to touch base and laugh and catch up. A baby on the way, big remodel, college soccer and one about to deploy. So thankful for the ways we can hold each other from a distance.

    Paul’s love for his people comes through his letters. Looking forward to digging into these books I haven’t studied before. Thank you SRT for providing this resource! It doesn’t happen without much study and work.

  106. Jeannie Wilson says:

    It also sparked memories for me to think of the letters that I sent and received—- checking the mailbox with anticipation of receiving mail! I, also, still have many letters and birthday cards from special people in my life from years past and they are a treasure.
    I’m so excited to start 1&2 Thessalonians right after Easter and our study of Mark!

  107. MARTHA HIX says:


  108. Blessed Beth says:

    Tina i so agree with you I love the old letters, I have the one where my husband first told me he loved me, the one my mother wrote to me as she was dying . These I cherish along with so many others. Letters are so special so I love Pauls. When I read letters I feel we are seeing into ones soul and heart.

  109. Lauren Taylor says:


  110. Rachel Romero says:

    Looking forward to the encouraging words in these books and so incredibly grateful for this study.

  111. ERB says:

    I love reading about their faith and how they LISTENED so intently to God and followed HIS leading!!! I also really love when Paul and Silas had a chance to escape but instead stayed and ministered to the jailer. My heart is happy and full!!! Be Blessed dear sisters ❤️

  112. Maggie D. says:

    So excited about this study, so timely after resurrection Sunday

    1. Maiya K says:

      Super agree!

  113. Tina says:

    Gosh, @Amanda Bible, you have just transported me to my childhood and the letters from home that kept me sane, whilst at boarding school.. Every week a letter wrapped in love and encouragement and hope and promises, would arrive to lift my spirit, and make me feel I was still connected to them, even though I was up on a hill surrounded by BIG gates.. these were to keep us girls safe, but on bad days when the heart was weary, it did feel like prison..

    Letters from home will do that.. and up until 6 years ago when my father passed, I was still receiving letters from home, in the same familiar hand, signed in love, and always the same, Yours ever Daddy..

    Treasured stuff, absolute treasured stuff!❤

    But God..

    My fathers letters that warmed my heart, kept me connected to him, though we lived miles apart, may have stopped,

    But Gods love letter to me, to us, is very much in the present, the here and now. Forever true. Forever encouraging. Forever loving. Forever comforting. Forever faith- filled. Forever.


    Never changes, though you can read something, understand it and read again at a later date and there is a new understanding… I love Gods everlasting, ever faithful and true love letter to me/us, because no matter the journey, or who, what, where or how we are.. His letters are always signed

    Yours ever Daddy..

    Thank you, Lord God for your loving, protective, providing, comforting, saving, faithful, all encompassing Word, that brings me back to you and ‘home’ when I read. Thank you, for always, thank you. Thank you..

    Happy Easter Monday my dears, wrapped in love as always..❤