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.