1 Thessalonians: Purpose

The second coming of Christ is a foundational truth to the Christian faith. Its importance can be measured by the 318 different occasions it is referenced in the New Testament. The Thessalonians had definitely grasped the significance of this event, and their lives displayed their eager anticipation. The problem was that they believed Christ would return very soon to restore his kingdom and to sustain it forever. With this in mind Paul wrote cautiously to clear up their misconception, wanting to suppress neither their fervent hope in Christ nor their enthusiasm for the spread of the gospel.

Paul fed off their zeal and faithfulness in looking forward to the return of Christ. He affirmed that Christ would indeed return to for his bride the church. Paul displayed great pastoral compassion as he addressed their concern regarding the death of some of the saints among them. He explained that at Christ's return, the dead in Christ would rise to join those believers still living on earth, and that together they would be "caught up" to join Christ in the sky. Paul then set up his second letter as he closed by encouraging his readers to use their hope in Christ as a fuel for living in the present age.