1 Thessalonians 1–5

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 208–9


Introduction

Just as members of the Church today sometimes struggle with false traditions, the Saints in Thessalonica labored with an incomplete understanding of the Resurrection. They worried that faithful members of the Church who died would not receive the same blessings as those who lived until the Second Coming. Paul reassured them that all those “which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–14). As you read, search for counsel as to how we can prepare for the Second Coming, keeping in mind that “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Prayerfully study 1 Thessalonians 1–5and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 272–75.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for 1 Thessalonians 1–5.

1 Thessalonians 1:6–2:20. True ministers live the gospel and teach it in a righteous manner, sharing in the joy of those who accept the message.

(20–25 minutes)

Ask students to imagine the following scenario: After accepting a challenge to bring a nonmember friend to church, you nervously approach someone you think might come. Your friend declines the invitation. When you ask the reason, your friend explains that if your church teaches people to live the way you do, then it must not be a very good church.

Discuss some of the following questions:

  • How would you feel if this happened?

  • What would you say?

  • Why is it important to live your religion if you hope to share it with others?

  • If you could rewrite this scenario, how would you have it end?

Have students read 1 Thessalonians 1:6–10and look for examples of how to live the gospel. Write their answers on the board and discuss them. Ask:

  • How is being a good example at school, at home, or at church like being on a mission?

  • What does the phrase “every member a missionary” mean to you?

Have students read 1 Thessalonians 2:5–12and write down the characteristics of a good missionary. Have them share their findings. Ask:

  • Which of these characteristics do you possess now?

  • Which do you want to develop?

If desired, have students rewrite the scenario told at the beginning of class using a person who has those characteristics.

Invite students to tell about a person who has had a positive impact on their lives. Ask:

  • Why was this person able to have such an impact?

  • How do you feel about this person?

Explain that returned missionaries often describe the joy of sharing the gospel with others. Testify to students that they can experience the same joy and satisfaction even now. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17–20looking for the words that describe Paul’s feelings about the Thessalonian Saints. Compare those verses with Doctrine and Covenants 18:10–16. Ask:

Encourage students to be a positive influence for someone this week.

1 Thessalonians 5:1–23. True Saints prepare for the coming of the Lord by watching for the predicted signs and by living the gospel.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite students to predict the exact day their first child will be born. Ask: Why is it difficult to determine the exact moment a baby will be born? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1–3and look for how Paul related this to the Second Coming. Ask:

  • What other image did Paul use to describe the Second Coming?

  • What makes these images good comparisons?

  • Who will be surprised at His coming?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:4–5and look for who will be surprised and who won’t.

Make two columns on the board, one titled Children of Light and the other Children of Darkness. Have students search 1 Thessalonians 5:6–11for the characteristics of each. List these on the board in their respective columns and discuss them as a class. Share the following quote by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Living the commandments brings us into harmony with Deity; we become one in purpose with the Father and the Son. When we are one with God, we walk with spiritual light. Our diligence in keeping the commandments allows the Holy Ghost to dwell within us. We are given the gift of personal revelation. This is a spiritual light that protects us and serves as a beacon, guiding us in righteous ways. It dispels the darkness of the adversary. So powerful is this light that it can reach us even when we are drawn into a black hole of sin so deep and so dark that we believe no spiritual light could ever penetrate” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 51; or Ensign, May 1996, 36).

Ask students:

  • Why will some be caught by surprise at the Lord’s coming?

  • What will happen to them? (Discuss the students’ answers.)

Read Doctrine and Covenants 106:4–5looking for what we can do to be children of light. Ask:

  • What does “gird up your loins” mean? (Prepare, or get ready.)

  • How do we do that?

Paul suggested that one way to prepare is to improve our relationship with both God and man. He then gave seven specific ways to do each. Divide the class in half. Assign one half 1 Thessalonians 5:12–15and invite them to list seven ways Saints can improve their relationship with their fellowmen. Assign the other half 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22and invite them to list seven ways Saints can improve their relationship with God. List the fourteen items on the board and discuss as needed.

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:23and look for Paul’s expression of hope for the Thessalonian Saints. Ask:

  • Can you think of a greater blessing?

  • Why is this blessing priceless?

  • How would doing these fourteen things help you to receive this blessing?

If time allows, cross-reference verse 23 to 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7and discuss the importance of sexual purity in becoming sanctified.