Overview of 1 Thessalonians

Hugo Bouter

Part I

(1) Greeting: senders and addressees, blessing (1:1)
(2) Introduction: profound gratitude and thanksgiving because of the exemplary faith of the Thessalonians, their turning away from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven (1:2-10)

Part II

What unites the senders and the addressees of the epistle (2:1 – 3:13)

(1) Paul’s conduct and service in Thessalonica (2:1-12)
(2) A second prayer of thanksgiving (2:13-16)
(3) Paul’s wish to come sooner, and his desire for the believers as the crown of rejoicing at the coming of the Lord (2:17-20)
(4) Timothy’s mission to Thessalonica (3:1-5)
(5) Timothy’s return to Paul (3:6-10)
(6) Paul’s prayer for reunion as well as for growth in love and holiness at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints (3:11-13)

Part III

Main subject of the epistle, dealing with questions about pleasing God in our lives, about the Coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord (4:1 – 5:11)

(1) A plea for purity and for a brotherly and orderly life (4:1-12)
(2) Christ’s second coming, the resurrection of the deceased Christians, and the transformation of the living who will remain until the coming of the Lord – the Rapture to meet the Lord in the air and the introduction into the Father’s house (4:13-18)
(3) The Day of the Lord coming as a thief in the night for the unbelievers, whereas the believers have been appointed to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1-11)

Part IV

(1) Final instructions (5:12-22)
(2) A last prayer with an extra reference to the essence of the epistle - complete sanctification at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (5:23-24)
(3) Greeting and blessing (5:25-28)