Day 1

Paul’s Ministry to Thessalonica

from the 1 & 2 Thessalonians reading plan

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

BY Amanda Bible Williams

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). 

Post Comments (85)

85 thoughts on "Paul’s Ministry to Thessalonica"

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Monique Hernandez says:

    I’m happy you think so too❣️

  4. Julia Allison says:

    So excited for this study!!!

  5. Jean Marty says:

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

  6. 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!

  7. Brandy Deruso says:

    Lord i thank you for the word that trancends everything!

  8. 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!

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