You are encouraged to test yourself after the
completion of this Seventh Study in the Friday Study Ministries' New
Believers Study, using an essay (written)
format. Go to the section entitled “Questions” and it is
suggested that you may 1) answer the questions in
that section, and 2) send your answers to
Ron@FridayStudy.org. If you would like, your
answers will be “graded” and responses given.
The Book of 1st
Thessalonians was completely accepted as a Pauline Epistle
by the Christian theological world until the 19th Century,
when scholars challenged authorship on the ground of
doctrinal content. However, the internal evidence is
strong that that this letter was written by the Apostle
Paul, who wrote mainly in this letter about Christ's return.
The city was named after the half-sister of Alexander the
Great. The Romans conquered the place in 168 BC and
organized it into a single province. Thessalonica was
the capital city and it became a "free city" during the
reign of Caesar Augustus. The city had a population of
200,000 at the time of Paul, and survives today under the
name, Salonika. There were a large number of Jews in
Thessalonica, and a lot of Gentiles who had become tired of
Greek paganism, had become Jews (God-fearers) themselves.
In Acts 17:10 and context, we find that Paul had won a lot
of converts from the God-fearers, and the Jews responded
with a mob that dragged Jason, Paul and Silas before the
officials, accusing them of hiding traitors to Rome.
Paul and the others were forced to leave for Athens that
night. This letter was written in 51 AD, in response
to information from Timothy.
2 Thessalonians 1:1
and 3:17, shout that Paul the Apostle is the author of this
epistle. The external evidence from the Early Church
is even stronger than 1st Thessalonians, that he is the
author of 2nd Thessalonians. The time of writing was
just a few months after the first letter to Thessalonica was
sent. The return of Christ to this earth is a major
part of chapters 1 and 2 of this letter. The third
chapter is an encouragement for them to wait patiently for
the Lord's return. Some in the church had tended
toward idleness, thinking the Lord would soon return.
Paul urged them to replace this idleness with holiness and
work for the glory of the Lord.
The Timothy letters and the epistle sent
to Titus are "pastoral epistles" - sent from an older pastor
(Paul the Apostle) to younger pastors who were struggling
somewhat in their ministries. Timothy, who was
admittedly very young for the job, had the heavy burden of
being the pastor of the large work that was continuing in
the city and area of Ephesus. Recent "scholarship" has
insisted that the pastoral epistles were written a century
or so later, by someone who only pretended to be Paul.
However, the Early Church was very alert to forgeries,
having been "burned" by them In the past. Verses such
as 1 Timothy 1:13 and 1:15 are not likely to have been
written by a forger - they are the authentic confessions of
Paul the Apostle, the author of these letters. Paul
wrote 1st Timothy from Macedonia, in 62-63 AD. The
direct purpose in writing was to encourage the younger
pastor to appoint elders, fight false teachings, and
properly supervise the church. Timothy was encouraged
to do these things.
Paul was in prison at the time he wrote
this letter, and he likely wrote it in 67 AD. The
insane Emperor Nero had been on the throne of the Empire
since 54 AD, and he had blamed Christians for the fires that
burned half of Rome in 64 AD. The evidence suggested
that Nero himself was at fault for the fires, but many
believed his story, and Christianity had become very
unpopular at the time. Paul was in a cold Roman cell
at the time of this writing, and he was thought of as an
"evildoer" (2:9). Paul hoped that Timothy would soon
visit him, for many "forsook" him (4:16), and he wanted the
younger man to bring his "cloak" (4:13) for it would soon be
very cold. From such a place, Paul ENCOURAGED the
younger man with this letter.
This letter was written to another young
pastor, and was originally called "Pros Titon," To
Titus. Paul encourages the man to help those he
encounters toward a practical working out of salvation in
their daily lives. Sheer faith would save them, but
then we must all live the lives that God enables us to live.
Paul had left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5) to continue the
work that Paul had begun (Acts 27:7 & forward). Titus
is not named in Acts, but he must have been among those who
were with Paul, and was named several times in 2
Corinthians. He was with Paul when the Apostle was in
prison, but left for Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10), and we see
that Paul thought of him as "my true son in our common
faith" (Titus 1:4). This letter was written in 63 AD.
Titus, though young like Timothy, was to exercise his
authority over the church given to him, refuting false
teachers and immorality; replacing all with good deeds.
You can learn how to live by 1) trusting in the Lord, and 2)
living by the teachings of these letters.
This letter was addressed this way: "Pros
Philemona," To Philemon, who was the owner of Onesimus,
a slave who had run away from service to Philemon.
Onesimus had come to Christ through the ministry of the
Apostle Paul, who had also brought Philemon to the Lord.
Here is a real opportunity for brotherly love to be seen in
action. Onesimus was to carry the letter to Philemon
himself, and Paul encouraged him to receive his slave with
the same love he would have for Paul, who promises that any
debt owed by Onesimus, would be made good by the Apostle
himself. Slavery was an accepted practice in the Roman
Empire and few questioned it, with the exception of certain
notable slave uprisings. This letter was written in
that context, which flies in the face of the customs of the
time, as well as the law of the land. This is truly a
revolutionary document. Jerome and Chrysostom defended
the Pauline authorship of this letter, but others in the 4th
century attacked it, on the ground that it lacked doctrinal
content. However, what greater doctrine could we
address, than our Lord's command that we love one another?
(John 13:34 & 1 Cor. 13). The letter was written in 60
or 61 AD, and was sent at the same time as Colossians, via
Onesimus and Tychicus (Colossians 4:7-9, Philemon 12).
There are excellent websites where
you may visit and copy or print the writings of some truly
remarkable theologians, from past centuries. A good, simple to
use “search engine” for that purpose is called “Google,” where you
can enter words like “Bible Commentaries” and “Search” for some
really great Bible commentaries from the past, including the
following suggested locations:
Matthew Henry, who wrote about 250 years ago (“Matthew Henry’s
Commentary”), is strongly recommended, along with others of that
time, such as John Calvin, John Wesley, and John Gill. You
will find wonderful material in those writings. Also
recommended is Dr. J. Vernon McGee (but there will be a small charge
for his materials).
This study operates from the perspective that you, the student of
the Bible, already have some understanding, or at least an awareness
of the Books of the New Testament. In this Seventh Study, we
will take a solid look at six letters of the Apostle Paul.
The following are questions you might ask yourself when reading them, along with the supporting materials in relation
to them (such as Bible commentaries). In writing your answers
to some or all of these questions, defend your answers with
Scripture in every instance, and commit those Scriptures to memory,
How did the gospel come to the
Thessalonians? (Chap 1)
- What is the "election" by God? (1 Thess. 1:4)
- How do we please God instead of men? (1 Thess. 2)
- Discuss "giving" in the light of 1 Thess. 2
- How does Satan "hinder" Christians? (1 Thess 2:18)
- Discuss "prayer" in relation to 1 Thess. 3:10 & context
- How important is love? (1 Thess. 3)
- What is the will of God? (1 Thess. 4:3 & forward)
- What is "holiness" anyway? (1 Thess. 4:7 & context)
- Now that you're a Christian, should you quit your job?
(1 Thess. 4:11-12). Why not?
- Discuss those who have died and the nature of the
"rapture" of the church (1 Thess. 4:13 & forward)
- Talk about the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5)
- How can we be at peace with one another? (1 Thess. 5:13)
- How can we rejoice always? Pray without ceasing? Etc. (1
Thess 5:16 & forward)
- Is 2 Thess. 1:3 an answer to the prayers of 1 Thess.
3:10? How does this work?
- Discuss "boasting" in the light of 2 Thess. 1:4
- What is the "everlasting destruction" of 2 Thess. 1:9?
- Discuss the Day of the Lord and the "rapture" in the
light of 2 Thess. 2:1 & forward.
- What/Who is the "Restrainer" of 2 Thess. 2:7? How
will this work when it occurs?
- Did you choose God? Or did He choose you? (2 Thess.
2:13). What is the role of "free choice" in this?
- What is "disorderly" conduct? (2 Thess. 4:6 & forward)
- Paul signed this letter in 2 Thess. 3:17. Who
wrote it? How do Silvanus & Timothy fit into
authorship of this
letter? (2 Thess. 1:1)
- What is the purpose of the law? (1 Tim. 1:8 & context)
- Was Paul an open man? How? (1 Tim. 1:13, 15)
- Why do we pray for those in authority? (1 Tim. 2)
- Discuss women in public worship (1 Tim 2:9 & forward)
- Discuss the qualifications of bishops/pastors/deacons (1
- Why is this the "mystery" of godliness? (1 Tim. 3:16)
- How are we to treat people? (1 Tim. 5)
- Why do oxen have anything to do with giving? (1
Tim. 5:18 & context; Deut. 25:4
- Is money bad? (1 Tim. 6:10)
- What should the "rich" do? (1 Tim. 6:17 & forward)
- How do we make 2 Tim. 1:7 real in our lives?
- Discuss "enduring hardship" - Why is it important? (2
- How can we be humble & strong at the same time? (2 Tim.
2:25 & context)
- Talk about the "Last Days" (2 Tim. 3:1 & forward).
How will people be at that time? Are we in those
- What is Scripture to you? (2 Tim. 3:16)
- Are you an elder? What kind of person should you
be? (Titus 1:5 & forward)
- What did Paul mean by, "Cretans are always liars"?
(Titus 1:12 & context)
- How do we "exhort" people in the light of Titus 2:1 &
- If we are saved by grace, what is the purpose of our
"good works"? (Titus 3)
- How does the Book of Philemon teach us how we should
As stated before the
Questions section, the preceding are some of the
questions you might consider in relation to this preliminary study
of these letters. You should always ask questions
and not simply agree with everything you hear. If
you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God is speaking to your heart
and mind constantly. By learning to ask, you are learning to
ask HIM. You are “fearfully and
wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) just as you are, and the
questions you ask honestly will be answered, for that is His plan
Don’t be afraid to ask HIM – anything!
Actually, He ENCOURAGES you in this manner: “Until
now, you have asked nothing in My Name. Ask, and you will
receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
Your assignment in these letters is to
read each of them, with the above
Questions in mind.
Go into the Internet at the places cited, and read the theologians
you can find his excellent writings as “freeware” on the Internet.
The next New Believers Study will be in the
Books of Hebrews and James.
Read the Word of God.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Pray about what you are studying
Write with any questions:
Pastor Ron Beckham