Our theological college’s faculty and staff had a good discussion using this Bible study. Feel free to adapt it to your particular situation.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
JMTUC Staff Bible Study
As people who are involved in the training of pastors and leaders for the church, it’s important that we turn to Scripture for perspective on our work. Let’s study 1 Thess. 2:1-12 for insight into being a pastor and Christian leader. In these verses, the apostle Paul recalls the time in which he was in Thessalonica doing ministry. He speaks of what his ministry required of him. He speaks of his aim, motivation, and practices. Let’s study the passage to see what we can learn from Paul’s example.
Let’s use these questions to open up the passage of Scripture and guide our discussion:
1. In verses 1-2, what does Paul say that his ministry required of him? What experiences did it make him pass through? (For background, see Acts 16:19-24 and Phil 1:29-30.) What character trait did it take?
2. In verses 3-8, what does Paul say were his aims and motivation? What does he say was not his aim or motivation? Why might Paul have emphasized whom he sought to please?
3. Does ministry today require the same character traits, aim, and motivation as did Paul’s ministry, or does it require something different? What tends to happen when these traits and aims are present, and what tends to happen when they are absent? Why does one’s motivation for ministry matter?
4. What does Paul say were and weren’t his practices and techniques in ministry? What similes (symbolic language) does Paul use to describe his manner of ministry, and what can we learn from these? Which of these practices might help us as people who train pastors?
5. Finally, in light of today’s passage and discussion, how can we pray for one another, for our students, and the church in Africa?
NOTE: If you want to go into much deeper detail in the study of 1 Thessalonians, I recommend the writings of Abraham Malherbe.