Encourager’s Devotional Series – April Bible Study Answer Guide

Since there were not as many short answer or fill-in questions in the Bible study for the April devotional, I am not copying the full text of the study in this month’s answer guide. Instead, I’ve added a few prompts for you to share how you are applying the study.  


According to 1:6 and 2:14-16 what kind of tragedy were the Thessalonians experiencing?

Severe suffering, persecution from those who opposed the gospel

Grief for those who have died is addressed in 4:13-18. What does Paul say we can use to comfort/encourage one another under these circumstances?

Tell them we have the hope of resurrection and that we will be reunited with those who have passed away when Jesus returns. Also, remind them that heaven will be for eternity and we will be with the Lord forever.

According to 3:7-8, why were Paul and his co-workers encouraged?

They were encouraged because the Thessalonian Christians are demonstrating their faith and standing firm in the Lord.

How does this relate to Proverbs 11:25?

Paul and his co-workers were always encouraging the churches and in return the churches encouraged them.


Notice that in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 Timothy was sent specifically to encourage the Thessalonians. We studied last month the fact that the Holy Spirit was sent to be our comforter/encourager. Read 2 Corinthians1:3-4. It says God is the God of all comfort (and yes, that is the same root word as encourager). It goes on to say that we should comfort others in the same way that we have been comforted. What experiences have you had in which God was your comforter and encourager?

How have you used your past experiences to encourage others who are now in the same situations you have been through?


Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12. Think of some people who “work hard among you.” How might you “show respect” for those people?

We are only five months away from Minister Appreciation Month (October). To help others think and plan ahead, can you share things you have done or are planning to do for those who devote their lives to ministry?

Eugene Peterson renders the key verse for this ministry (Heb. 10:24) as: “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging …” (The Message). I thought that described our goal very well. Can you think of any way(s) to be “inventive” or creative with your ministry of encouragement, to do something different than you’ve done so far? If so, make note so you don’t forget.

Since we are now four months into the Encourager’s Devotional Series, I would love to hear some of your stories about things you have done in response to the material. Did you take up the challenge to “be more inventive” in your approach to the ministry of encouragement? 


Are you doing this study with a group? If so, have you planned any group projects? Please share in the comments so everyone can add your great ideas to their encouragement repertoire. 

Encourager’s Devotional Series – April Bible Study

This Bible study accompanies the April devotion for the Encourager’s Devotional Series.


Since this month’s study is mostly an in-depth look at 1 Thessalonians, you will get the most out of it if you take the time first to read the book. If possible, the best way to do this is to read it in one sitting (fortunately, this is a small book and won’t take much time). If you do not mind writing in your Bible, you might want to underline all uses of the words encourage, comfort, exhort, urge, and maybe beseech or appeal depending on your translation. You should find 9-13 usages. Almost every time you see these words, they stem from our root word for encourage (parakaleson). The only exceptions I could find are in the four passages noted below when Paul is using a string of similar words, each possibly to stress a different aspect of the meaning. The exceptions (using NIV) are:

2:12 – “… encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” In this passage, the first word is our word with its broad range of meaning. The second, comforting, is a more specific word used in relation to tragedy or grief. And the third, urging, is also more specific and more insistant (some translations might have “charging you” or “pleading with you”).

4:1 – “Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” Paul is asking them to remember and live out what they had been taught about how to live in a way that pleases God. He asks first with a general word for asking, then uses our word (rendered “urge” here) to denote more urgency and be more commanding. By asking twice, Paul is being emphatic. He further stresses the importance of what he’s asking by adding “in the Lord” to his request.

5:12 – Neither of the two usages in this verse are from our root word.

5:14 – “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” The urging that Paul is doing is our root word. The other words are more specific depending on the task he’s telling us to do. Warning the idle (or unruly) has a harsher connotation. Encouraging the timid (or fainthearted) is the same word used in 2:12 which implies help for those who may be losing heart due to grief or tragedy. Helping the weak would involve being devoted to or “holding up” those who, for various reasons, cannot stand in their own strength at the moment (in this case, most likely because of weak faith or weak morals, but could also mean physically weak or ill). They need someone to walk closely beside them so they do not fall. And of course, all of us appreciate when others are patient with us.

According to 1:6 and 2:14-16 what kind of tragedy were the Thessalonians experiencing?

Grief for those who have died is addressed in 4:13-18. What does Paul say we can use to comfort/encourage one another under these circumstances? Continue reading

Bring the Rain by which the Flowers Bloom – April Encourager’s Devotion

Enc 4 April main graphic

(Image Source)

Charles Swindoll has some wonderful words on the power of encouragement:

Encouragement is awesome. Think about it: It has the capacity to lift a man’s or woman’s shoulders. To spark the flicker of a smile on the face of a discouraged child. To breathe fresh fire into the fading embers of a smoldering dream. To actually change the course of another human being’s day … or week … or life. That, my friend, is no small thing. But it doesn’t stop there. Consistent, timely encouragement has the staggering magnetic power to draw an immortal soul to the God of hope. The One whose name is Wonderful Counselor. Is it easy? Not on your life. It takes courage, tough-minded courage, to trust God, to believe in ourselves, and to reach a hand to others. But what a beautiful way to live. I know of no one more needed, more valuable, more Christ-like, than the person who is committed to encouragement.

When I first started The Encourager’s Devotional Series, I wondered if it would get old discussing the same topic every month. I am glad that has not been the case. Rather, my Bible reading has been enhanced by looking at Scripture with “encourager’s eyes.” I’ve been amazed at how often the Bible discusses the topic. I find hints on how to be a better encourager, texts that help me broaden my definition of encouragement, and good examples of what it means to minister in this way, even when I am not reading for that purpose.

While studying 1 Thessalonians, I discovered the word encourage is used four times (3:2, 4:18, 5:11,14). Following are some of the notes I took as I read:

* 2:5 – Encouragement is not just flattery. We should get beyond the more superficial forms of encouragement (“You sure look nice today!”) to real edification. Notice how specific Paul is with the commendations he gives this church in chapter one – they labored in love, they showed endurance, they were good role models, and more. When we praise people for specific things they do, it “spurs them on to more love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).

* 2:6 – We seek to encourage for the benefit it brings to others, not for the praise of men. Some of you may be doing much in an effort to encourage others, even though you haven’t received even one card in the mail for yourselves. Many times you’ll never receive a “thank you” for something you’ve done. This passage speaks to these situations and helps us to keep our hearts and motivations right as we pursue this ministry. To keep a check on your motives, you might try anonymous encouragement now and then.

* 2:8,17; 3:2,6 – But there is also a time for personal, up close, encouragement. This book speaks often of Paul’s “intense longing” to see his brethren face to face. He also sent Timothy to them to “stengthen and encourage” them. Loving edification means sharing of ourselves, our lives – purposely and intentionally spending time with others.

* 4:10 – The Thessalonian believers are commended for loving each other, but exhorted to do it “more and more.” We cannot overestimate the power of encouraging relationships. We simply cannot do too much in this endeavor.

* 3:2,10; 5:12-14 – Besides expressing thanks for the good that people are doing, real edification should also involve “supplying what is lacking in their faith.” The goal is to help them grow stronger in their walk with the Lord and with others. For example, among other specific instructions, Paul tells these believers to honor those who work hard, to warn those who are lazy or disruptive, to be more patient and to live in peace with each other. This stronger, more direct form of encouragement may not be easy to give, or to receive, but the benefits are like the showers of rain in April which produce flowers in May. Sometimes we get tired of the rain in spring, but it is necessary for growth.

How comfortable are you with pouring on the stronger forms of encouragement?

How willing are you to receive it from others?