What does 1 Thessalonians 3:11 mean?
ESV: Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you,
NIV: Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.
NASB: Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you;
CSB: Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you.
NLT: May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon.
KJV: Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
NKJV: Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.
Verse Commentary:
Paul prays to God the Father and the Lord Jesus to provide a clear way for him and his coworkers to travel to Thessalonica to see the Christians there. Praying for our fellow believers is not only a privilege but also a responsibility. Often in his epistles Paul urged believers to pray for one another. He also requested prayer for himself, such as in 1 Thessalonians 5:25.

The fact that Paul directs his prayer to both the Father and Jesus, whom he calls "Lord," shows that Jesus is as much God as the Father is. They are co-equal and co-essential. In his letter to Titus Paul refers to Jesus as "our great God and Savior" (Titus 2:13). Belief in the deity of Jesus is an essential doctrine of the Christian faith. The apostle John wrote: "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:14–15).
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 3:11–13 concludes this chapter with Paul's prayer for himself and for his readers. He asks God and the Lord Jesus to guide him and his coworkers to the Thessalonians. He also prays that the Lord would cause the Thessalonians' love to overflow to one another and to others. He assures his readers that his love overflowed to them. He strongly desires that God will strengthen his readers' faith so they will be fully separated unto him without any valid accusation when Jesus returns. Paul adds, ''with all his saints.'' When Jesus comes in the air to catch away his church, the souls of departed Christians will accompany Him to receive their resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 3, Paul completes his discussion of the current state of the church in Thessalonica. After sending Timothy, Paul has received confirmation that the believers there are standing firm in their faith. Their devotion to the gospel is surviving, despite the persecutions which Paul predicted would arise. Paul once again thanks the Thessalonians for their faithfulness and prays for their continual growth.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 concludes Paul's comments about the condition of the Thessalonian church. These began in chapter 1 and were given more details in chapters 2 and 3. Here, Paul expresses his joy that the Thessalonians are enduring persecution faithfully, and he prays that they will continue to grow. In the following chapters, Paul will address some of the concerns plaguing the Thessalonians, including worries about the end times.
Book Summary:
The apostle Paul's second missionary journey included a visit to the prominent Greek city of Thessalonica. This stood alongside a major land route and boasted a busy seaport. A number of individuals believed Paul's message (Acts 17:1–4), but an angry mob forced Paul to leave the city after his brief stay. Later, while in Athens, Paul received a glowing report: the believers at Thessalonica were growing spiritually and serving God fervently. However, they had questions about the Lord's return, including what happens to a believer who dies before that day. And, as all churches do, they had some areas in which they were falling short. In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, written about AD 51, he addresses these developments. Paul expresses gratitude for the Thessalonian believers' spiritual progress, and frequently makes references to Christ's impending return.
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