He was addressing individuals he cared about deeply, with whom he’d forged strong ties, and for whom he wrestled in prayer.
- In each greeting, what does Paul say about his feelings toward his letter readers? How do you think this affected their openness to his instructions?
- What aspects of the Thessalonians’ faith (1 Thess. 1:3) did he single out to thank God for?
- What was the environment in which the Thessalonian believers (2 Thess. 1:3-4) were “flourishing”?
- What qualities of the Ephesians did he commend?
- Paul maintained that he constantly interceded for those he wrote to. Do you think this was a figure of speech or actually true?
- Are you surprised by the intensity of Paul’s loneliness for his understudy Timothy?
- What were Paul’s prayer requests for his fellow believers? (See also Ephesians 1:16-19.)
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to help you model Paul’s example of generous praise and fervent prayer for fellow Jesus followers.
2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 3 As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing. 4 We proudly tell God’s other churches about your endurance and faithfulness in all the persecutions and hardships you are suffering.
8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world.
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere …
3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
3 Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.