A study of 1 Thessalonians with a focus on exegesis of the text and application for students’ context.
Sound principals of exegesis will be modeled for students. Each passage will be examined extensively so students are able to see the depth of possible study. The students will exegete the majority of the text of 1 Thessalonians. Methods for bridging the message from the ancient text to the current culture of the students will be modeled by the teacher then demonstrated by the students. Historical issues will be examined closely. Special attention will be given to passages that deal with holiness.
Exegesis leading to local application is a key skill for a pastor and the foundation of all teaching and preaching. First Thessalonians is a key book for understanding the scriptural basis for entire sanctification. The historical background of 1 Thessalonians will setup a foundation for studying other NT books and letters. Since the book is quite short, it is possible to do a complete historical and theological exegesis, with the aim of providing a strong foundation for sermons and a biblical theology of leadership.
CN-1 Ability to describe the basic story of the Bible.
CN-3 Ability to describe the basic content and theological themes of the New Testament, identify the principal people and events and their roles in New Testament history.
CN-4 Ability to explain the basic principles of biblical interpretation.
CN-6 Ability to explain how the theological foundations of Christianity proceed from the Scriptures.
CN-7 Ability to explain scriptural holiness from the Wesleyan-Armenian holiness perspective.
CP-1 Ability to communicate effectively with cultural and contextual relevance.
CP-2 Ability to prepare biblical messages for effective and sound preaching and teaching.
CP-13 Ability to interpret and apply Scripture to personal and congregational life.
CH-4 Ability to teach and model sexual purity.
ACC-1 Demonstrate a Christ-like character of submission, integrity and love in all relationships.
CED-1 Develop the mind of Christ through growing closer to God, studying God’s Word, the needs of the cultural context, and ways to help others grow spiritually.
DIS-3 Model spiritual disciplines to individuals and small groups including: prayer, devotional reading, fasting, solitude, and public worship.
DIS-4 Use the reading of God’s Word to foster spiritual growth and for personal devotions.
DIS-14 Prepare, organize, and deliver a biblically sound lesson or sermon using culturally sensitive techniques and skills.
ICO-2 Identify various tangible ways the church can connect with the community and demonstrate involvement in the community.
LEA-10 Explain how it is important for Christian leaders to correct and reprove in love as taught in the Bible when someone does wrong even when it goes against their local culture.
MIN-1 Demonstrate Christlike servanthood through a ministry activity.
PRA-1 Model the prayers of Christ and His relationship to the Father through a strong passion for a life of prayer shown by devoting time to prayer and keeping a prayer journal, including a list of lost people for whom God has made them responsible.
PRE-2 Interpret the Bible within its historical and cultural contexts, recognize different literary genres in the Bible and how to interpret them in appropriate ways, identify the message and key theological concepts for the original audience, and apply the message through a sermon to contemporary audiences in contextually relevant ways.
PRE-3 Tell the story of the Bible including important dates, people, and events, in order to show the human problem and God’s answer in Jesus Christ.
PRE-6 Describe how the early church grew, the key themes of early Christian preaching, the methods used to spread the gospel, and how these are relevant today.
PRE-11 Identify how holiness was experienced in the Bible and how this applies in the cultural context in which the student will most often find themselves.
PRE-13 Explain how God communicated his word to humanity as recorded in the Bible and the place of preaching in this.
PRE-15 Explain how to use culturally appropriate stories to illustrate the key points of a sermon.
Paige, Terrence. 1 & 2 Thessalonians: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (New Beacon Bible Commentary). Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2017.
Available at the Wesleyan Holiness Digital Library www.whdl.org:
Howard, Richard E. Newness of Life: A Study in the Thought of Paul.
Martin, Sydney. Beacon Bible Expositions, Volume 10: Thessalonians Through Titus.
- The local school’s attendance policy should be placed here.
Prior to Class
Students will read or listen to all of 1 Thessalonians six (6) times, and 2 Thessalonians, Acts, and Galatians one (1) time. Students will note the date and time of this reading.
- Bible Reading and Prayer Journal: Students should read through the Bible as designated in the Master Plan for Bible Reading in the Course of Study. For this course, students will read 2 Kings 1 – 1 Chronicles 7 and Acts 1 – 12. In this journal, answer these personal questions, “How does God speak to me or my family today through His word? How does this reading help me to love others?” Entries should be made at least weekly for semester courses or daily for intensives. Each entry should be at least one paragraph of 200 words.
(Outcomes CP-13, CH-1, CH-2, ACC-1, CED-2, DIS-4, DPF-1, PRA-1)
During Class Meetings
Students will be grouped into teams of 3 and if necessary one additional person for a team of 4. These teams will work together the whole time during the course from the beginning to the last day.
- Community Project: The students will work in groups of at least 2 but not more than 8 people to develop and implement a project for their community that is based on part of what they have learned from 1 Thessalonians. Projects should take less than 1 month’s time but more than 2 days. This can be done before, during or after the class depending on the way the class is presented. Students will present a proposal to the teacher for approval and report on the progress of the project 1 month after it starts. Credit is given for the quality of implementation rather than specific results in the community. If at all possible the project’s plans and outcomes will be shared with the class.
(Outcomes CP-1, ACC-1, CED-1, DIS-4, ICO-2, MIN-1)
The study of the book will happen during class time in the following steps:
- Questions: Students will work in teams to answer extensive questions about each passage of the book, working through all 5 chapters or as many as can be done to allow time for the team based activities. The list of questions for each passage will be provided to the team by the teacher. Each team will start and end their work with prayer, then answer questions about the assigned passage one student after the other, each in turn. Each team member will read one question for the team to answer. One other team member will provide the answer to that question. The team will briefly discuss the answer and then another team member will read the next question in rotation. The team will have a person who records the answers. The person recording answers will change each period so that the whole team has practice recording in turn. Team members will rotate who reports results to the class or other teams.
The steps will be:
- Teacher announces passage and distributes questions to teams.
- Team answers questions.
- The teams will report answers, to the class (if small), or (if a large class) in groups of 3 teams to other teams.
- The teacher will lecture for 20 to 30 minutes on that same passage, showing how the teacher exegetes that passage and give additional information not found in the text itself. (This can be from the Teacher module or other additional information).
- Each evening the students will copy the notes from that day’s work for the team. These notes will be compiled by the students into a commentary on 1 Thessalonians.
Passages will be small enough for the team to work through the answers within 20 to 25 minutes. The length of passages will depend on the educational level of the students and their experience in reading. Non-literate students can listen to the passage read and then begin the process of answering questions. If the teams are slow in answering the questions, the teacher will have the teams answer fewer of the questions per scripture in each session, and then ask the remaining questions about the same passage in the following section. This way, the students learn to answer ALL the questions about a passage before moving on to the next passage. The teacher will restrict their model answers to the number of questions that the teams were able to answer. A single team lagging by one or two questions should not slow the class. The teacher will make the judgment based on the overall ability of the teams to respond to the questions and adjust the number of questions accordingly. It is expected that in most cases, the range of answers from the teams will cover the possible answers so that a full exegesis of the passages will have been done by the overall class effort.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CN-6, CN-7, CH-4, DIS-3, LEA-10)
- Inductive Study of 1 Thessalonians: Students will create a detailed outline of the book with the following method: 1) Give each chapter a short title of just 2-3 words that capture the main idea, 2) Give each paragraph (you can use a study Bible or modern translation to help) a short 2-3 word title, 3) Give a short 2-3 word title for any smaller divisions. Organize this as bullets or an outline. The outline should show the key ideas of the book of 1 Thessalonians. This outline can be useful for preparing sermons or Bible studies.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, CN-4, CN-6, PRE-2, PRE-6, PRE-11)
- Summary Story: Each student tells the summary story of 1 Thessalonians gathered from Acts, 1 and 2 Thessalonians to groups of 6 or 9 students using the following points:
- What led up to the writing of these letters?
- What is the purpose of the writing – what result was Paul hoping for?
- What was the actual result of these letters to the best of our knowledge?
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-6, PRE-3, PRE-6)
- Charts: Students draw two charts or diagrams, or Studymaps, one showing the conversion story of a Thessalonian believer, and the second showing their personal conversion / spiritual journey story. They share their story with the teacher or a small group.
(Outcomes CN-1, CN-3, PRE-3, PRE-6)
- Sermon or Bible Study Lesson Preparation: Students can choose to prepare either a 2 to 3 page Sermon or Bible study on a passage from 1 Thessalonians. This should follow the patterns from earlier courses: 1) identify the intended audience (the message should speak in appropriate ways to this audience), 2) have clear lesson objectives or sermon in one sentence, 3) an outline based on the passage, 4) supporting discussion questions, activities, Bible passages, or stories/illustrations, and 5) a call to respond or change. This sermon will be given in class at the end of the course as the final exam.
(Outcomes CN-7, CP-2, CP-3, DIS-14, PRE-2, PRE-11, PRE-13, PRE-15)
Community Project 20%
Inductive Study 15%
Summary Story 10%
Sermon or Lesson Preparation 20%
45-59% (Passable for the certificate level and toward the requirements for being ordained in the Church of the Nazarene)
If a student marks a final grade lower than 45% he or she must take the course again for credit at the diploma level
- Introduction to Exegesis – Gathering reading reports.
- Introduction to 1 Thessalonians – Brief summary of content in lesson module as a review.
- Acts 17 – Exegesis
- Chapter 1 – Exegesis –
- Chapter 2 – Exegesis – Skill – how to make a basic sermon outline
- Chapter 3 – Exegesis – how to make a basic lesson outline
- Chapter 4 – Exegesis –
- Chapter 5 – Exegesis – how to exegete a local congregation
- Historical background – Ecclesia
- Historical background – The cities of Macedonian
- Historical background – Pagan worship in the Roman Empire
- Historical background – The unique situation of the Jews and worship
- Theological analysis – Chapter 1-2
- Theological analysis – Chapter 3-4
- Theological analysis – Chapter 5
- Local applications
- Personal response to the lessons
- Final exam – Student sermons
- Final exam – Student sermons
- Sharing Student spiritual life charts