Click to Change

Return to Top

Return to Top

Printer Icon


Prior Section Back to Commentaries Author Bio & Contents Next Section
The Blue Letter Bible

Kress Biblical Resources :: Overview Outline

toggle collapse
Choose a new font size and typeface

Overview Outline of 1 Thessalonians

The Coming of Christ for His Church Calls Us to Excel Still More in Holiness, Hope, and Love

  1. Paul’s personal introduction (1Th 1:1)
    1. The author (1Th 1:1a)
      1. The human author and his associates (1Th 1:1a)
      2. The divine Author (2Ti 3:16-17; 2Pe 1:12-21; 2Pe3:15-16; cf. Col 4:16; 1Th 2:13; 1Th 5:27; 2Th 3:1-4; cf. 1Ti 5:18 in which Paul quotes Luke alongside Deu 25:4 and calls them “Scripture”)
    2. The audience (1Th 1:1b)
      1. The original audience (1Th 1:1b; Act 17:1-13)
      2. The current audience (cf. 2Pe 3:16)
    3. The aim/reasons
      1. To express Paul’s joy after Timothy’s report of the church’s steadfastness—in spite of great affliction (1Th 1:2-10; 1Th 3:1-10)
      2. To defend Paul and his associates’ ministry and integrity in Thessalonica—against some who were questioning God’s work through them there (1Th 2)
        —This reveals a model for pastoral ministry and integrity
      3. To instruct the faithful, but fledgling church on how to better live out their new faith in Christ (1Th 4; 1Th 5 cf. especially 1Th 4:1, 9-10; 1Th 5:11—excel still more)
      4. Summary theme: Encouragement to remaining steadfast in the faith no matter the afflictions we may face, and excel still more in our walk with God (1Th 3:1-8; 1Th 4:1, 10; 1Th 5:11)
    4. The Apostolic greeting (1Th 1:1c)
  2. Paul’s prayer-report of thanksgiving—recounting the evidence of genuine conversion (1Th 1:2-10)
    1. The prayers of thankful pastors (1Th 1:2)
    2. The picture of transformed lives (1Th 1:3)
    3. The proclamation of a theological mystery—and the proofs that confirm God’s electing love (1Th 1:4-10)
      1. The doctrine of election declared—God’s electing love should be a source of comfort, rather than a source of contention (1Th 1:4)
      2. The doctrine of election demonstrated—God’s electing love results in supernatural evidence— a spirit-empowered gospel heard; faith, hope, and love lived out (1Th 1:5-10)
    4. Alternate outline for 1Th 1:5-10
      1. [The particulars of a transformed life (1Th 1:5-10)
        1. A sincere faith in the truth and power of the Gospel (1Th 1:5)
        2. A supernatural joy in the midst of much tribulation (1Th 1:6-7)
        3. A solid testimony to the word of the Lord, genuine faith, repentance from sin, and hope in Jesus’ deliverance (1Th 1:8-10)]
  3. Paul’s pastoral integrity—recounting the evidence of a God-Honoring [sincere] ministry (1Th 2; 1Th 3)
    1. A preaching ministry focused on pleasing God, not men (1Th 2:1-6)
      1. A preaching ministry characterized by veracity [substance and truth] and conviction (1Th 2:1-2)
      2. A preaching ministry characterized by purity and devotion—not man pleasing (1Th 2:3-4)
      3. A preaching ministry characterized by sincerity and humility—not self-promotion (1Th 2:5-6)
    2. A pastoral ministry focused on shepherding the flock as a family, not a business (1Th 2:7-12)
      1. A pastoral ministry characterized by motherly love and affection (1Th 2:7-8)
      2. A pastoral ministry characterized by fatherly leadership and exhortation (1Th 2:9-12)
    3. A prayer-filled and personally concerned ministry, focused on the sustaining work of God, and perseverance of the saints in faith (1Th 2:13-20; 1Th 3)
      1. Persistent thanksgiving for the sovereign work of God in salvation, which sustains believers in the midst of great persecution (1Th 2:13-16)
      2. Personal concern and prayer for fellowship and the perseverance of the saints (1Th 2:17-20; 1Th 3:1-10)
  4. Paul’s practical instruction—revealing specific ways to excel still more in holiness, hope, and love (1Th 4; 1Th 5:1-22)
    1. Practical instructions concerning living out holiness (1Th 4:1-12)
      1. Believers must excel still more in obedience to the Lord (1Th 4:1-2)
      2. Believers must embrace sexual purity as God’s will for them personally (1Th 4:3-8)
      3. Believers must excel still more in love for one another, and work hard as a testimony to unbelievers (1Th 4:9-12)
    2. Practical instructions concerning living in light of our hope (1Th 4:13-18; 1Th 5:1-11)
      1. Encourage one another concerning the return of the Lord, the resurrection, and the rapture (1Th 4:13-18)
      2. Encourage one another concerning the Day of the Lord (1Th 5:1-11)
    3. Practical instructions concerning living together in harmony (1Th 5:12-22)
      1. Pursuing peace relationally (1Th 5:12-15)
      2. Pursuing peace personally, altogether (1Th 5:16-22)
  5. Paul’s prayers in conclusion and closing remarks (1Th 5:23-28)
    1. The concluding prayer-benediction for holiness (1Th 5:23-24)
    2. The call for reciprocal prayer (1Th 5:25)
    3. The call for fellowship around this epistle (1Th 5:26-27)
    4. The concluding prayer-benediction for grace (1Th 5:28)
Information/Participation: Completeness in Christ Brings Fellowship, Love and Concern for the Brethren (Col 4:7-18) ← Prior Section
Introductory Matters Next Section →
BLB Searches
Search the Bible

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

Let's Connect
Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.