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1 Thessalonians chapter 3

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What does 1 Thessalonians chapter 3 mean?

In this chapter Paul tells the Thessalonian believers that he had sent Timothy from Athens to Thessalonica to encourage them, and to learn how they were getting along in the Christian life. He reminds them that his sufferings were not unexpected but were predicted (1 Thessalonians 3:1–5).

Paul states that Timothy had returned with good news about the Thessalonian believers' faith and love. Timothy had also told Paul that the believers shared fond memories of Paul and longed to see him again, just as he longed to see them. This corresponds to Paul's earlier comment that he had only been prevented from visiting the Thessalonians by the interference of Satan (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Timothy's positive report helped Paul cope with his afflictions. Paul indicates he has great joy in knowing the believers at Thessalonica were doing well spiritually. He says he is praying around the clock to see them face-to-face and to address any deficiencies in their faith (1 Thessalonians 3:6–10). Some of those concerns, at least, Paul will discuss in chapters 4 and 5.

The chapter closes with Paul praying that the Lord would make the Thessalonian believers' love overflow to one another and to others, as Paul's love overflowed to the Thessalonians. He asks God to strengthen them so they would be free of accusations at the coming of the Lord Jesus with His saints. This is a reference to departed righteous souls who will receive their resurrected bodies at that time (1 Thessalonians 3:11–13).

After these words, Paul will begin to address some of the fears and doubts with which the Thessalonians are struggling. These include worries inspired by false teachings about the end times and the return of Christ.
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