How to Study 1 Thessalonians
If you want to understand how the church in Thessalonica was established and the events surrounding it, read Acts 16:1-17:15
Read 1 Thessalonians chapter by chapter. Mark every reference to the author (s) in one color, and every reference to the recipients in another. Include synonyms and pronouns.
List what you learn about the author (s). Note the relationship of the author (s) to the recipients. What example do you see that's worthy of imitation?
List everything you learn about the recipients. Note whom they had been serving. What happened when they heard and believed the gospel? What were they enduring, and how?
Note the different problems or concerns addressed in the letter.
Read through the book and mark in the text the key words (along, with their synonyms and pronouns): gospel (word), tribulation (suffered, affliction), Spirit, any reference to Jesus' coming, faith, hope, love, day of the Lord, every reference to Satan (the tempter). . When you finish, observe what you learn from marking each key word.
In chapter 4 and 5 several truths about those "who have fallen asleep" and those "who are alive and remain." List what you observe about each on the Observations Chart. Note the progression of events in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Ask the "5 W's and an H" of the text: Who is involved? What will happen? Where will they meet the Lord? When? Why are they not to sorrow? How will all this happen?
Record what you learn about "the day of the Lord" in chapter 5 on the chart 1 Thessalonians Observations Chart.
On Structure of 1 Thessalonians, record the theme of the book. Fill in any additional information under author, date, purpose, etc.
Often you will be able to note a turning point in an epistle as the author changes his emphasis. Such changes divide the book into segments. Where does the emphasis or content change in 1 Thessalonians? Note the topic in the first chapter of the book and when the subject changes. Title each segment of the book by thinking of the theme or subject discussed in the first three chapters and then in the last two chapters. Record your segment divisions on Structure of 1 Thessalonians.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in 1 Thessalonians
Sanctification - through Christ's atonement, believers are glorified and set apart for the service of God (3:12, 13, 4:3, 4, 16-18; 5:23; Ps 4:3; Ezek 7:28; Acts 20:32; 26:18; Rom 6:1-8-39; 15:16; 2 Cor 6:17; Eph 5:26, 27; 2 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 2:21; Heb 2:11; 13:12; 1 Pet 1:2; Jude 1:1)
Christ's second coming - Christ's return will mark the judgment of all mankind (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:16; 5:23; Ps 50:3, 4; Dan 7:13; Matt 24:36; 25:31; Mark 13:32; John 14:3; 1 COr 1:8; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 3:12; Jude 1:14; Rev 1:7)