white water rafting November 23 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Thessalonians

Faithful Endurance

Rafting in the rapids takes constant alertness and faithful endurance so your raft is not overturned and its occupants thrust into churning waters and against the rocks. Like rafting in the rapids, we must navigate churning waters and rocks in our lives. When rough circumstances enter our lives we wonder why they are happening to us. Why are they happening to our family, church, business, or other organization? We try to be faithful. We play by all the rules. We are friendly to our neighbors. We try to live lives of integrity. We are loving, reasonable people. We try to be witnesses of God’s grace and mercy, and yet we are suffering for it. It shouldn’t be. Maybe we should just quit, give into the current, and drown in our culture. What encouragement is there to stay upright, keep paddling, and faithfully endure our circumstances?

The book of Acts records the Apostle Paul's visit to the believers in Thessalonica during his second Missionary journey. The Thessalonian believers were saved from lives of wicked idolatry and sexual immorality. They tried to be good Christians but lived in a sex-crazed culture connected with idol worship. When Paul moved on to other cities, he was concerned about their welfare; he did not want his efforts with them to have been wasted. He tried to make a visit to them but was delayed, so he sent Timothy, his helper in the ministry. Timothy greatly comforted Paul with a positive report from the Thessalonian believers. Paul is delighted to hear from him that, despite severe persecutions, they are still standing strong.

Paul writes to the Thessalonians and commends the believers for being loyal to God in their culture and while enduring persecutions, just as he himself is doing (1Thessalonians 1:2-7). Like Elijah in the Old Testament times (1Kings 19:13-18), we may think we are the only ones who are living committed lives, but in actuality there are many others. We should continue to be faithful like them.

Here are some things Paul tells them to watch out for as they are striving to live the faithful life:

First, since they are surrounded by immorality, he wants them to continue to exercise self-control over their bodies. Immorality wars against our spirits, not just our bodies (1Peter 2:11). Many a ministry, pastor, family or other organization has been greatly injured or destroyed by one person’s indiscretion. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, … for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life,” (1Thessalonians 4:6b,7, NIV).

Second, Paul admonishes the Thessalonian believers to continue to show brotherly love, as they are now doing, and even to increase in their love for each other. Christians should be known by their love for each other and their neighbors. The support of our brothers and sisters is especially important during times of persecution.

Third, he instructs them to live lives of integrity and to work earnestly and honestly so they will be good testimonies to others. He urges them to be busy, not busy bodies, and to lead a quiet life.

Paul further encourages the Thessalonians by reminding them that Jesus is coming. He is their hope, and he is our hope. If we die before he comes then our bodies will be among the first to be resurrected and join our spirits to meet Jesus in the air; we will not be forgotten (1Thessalonians 4:13-18). We will not suffer the wrath that is to come upon the whole world in the Day of the Lord (the seven year tribulation time before Jesus comes back to earth); instead, we will be saved (1Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9).

While waiting for the coming of the Lord, Paul gives them a “grocery list” of things to do. This would occupy them (and us) until he comes. One of the things he tells them (and us) is to be alert and self controlled. Read the rest of his instructions in 1Thessalonians 5:12-22. Keeping busy for the LORD is profitable and keeps our minds off our circumstances.

Paul sums up his message to the Thessalonians with a blessing in 1Thessalonians 5:23: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Lessons to Live By

  • You are to be commended for your faithfulness. Don’t give up! Remember others are struggling with you and are being faithful, too.
  • Focus on living lives separated unto God and becoming more and more like Jesus, whom you will meet someday.
  • Be self-controlled in your body and spirit, and live a life of love.
  • Keep yourself busy for God, and you will have less time to bemoan bad circumstances.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

1Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV) “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to

A Look Ahead: Persecution can be difficult to deal with. How can we handle Physical and Mental Cruelty?

Previous Lesson  |  Next Lesson

Back to top of page
Return to Chronological Bible Studies main page
Go to Scriptures main page
Go to Topics main page
Go to Home page

Contact Us