Reading for Friday, Dec. 14: 1 Thess. 3
Paul has an intense desire to visit the Thessalonians again. He addresses this desire at the end of ch2 and the beginning of ch3, referring to the Thessalonians as his “glory and joy” (2:20). In lieu of the sort of extended visit Paul prefers, the Apostle sends Timothy to Thessalonica and the young missionary has reported of the church’s faith and love (3:6). This greatly encourages Paul and he prays God’s blessings to rest on these beloved friends and fellow disciples (3:11-13).
But Paul’s desire to visit is more than strictly personal. He aims to instruct the Thessalonians in matters wherein their faith has proven deficient (3:10). Surely Paul enjoyed a strong relationship with these believers to be able to say something so pointed. Do you have friends in your life who are able to speak so boldly? Are you the kind of friend who is willing to love to this degree? Let us pray for more of these kinds of conversations, that we might benefit spiritually!
I’ll close this post with an excerpt from Boring & Craddock’s NT Commentary on this section of Scripture: “While Paul does not insist on uniformity in how one understands and expresses the faith (see 1 Cor. 3:21b-23; 15:1-11, esp. v11), he also does not consider faith a matter of ‘one’s own business’, as if no Christian should attempt to nourish, inform, supplement, and correct the faith of another. This is at the furthest pole from the view that ‘no one has the right to tell another person what they should believe.’ Christians decide about the faith for themselves, but not by themselves.”