The Word of God
1 Thessalonians 2:13
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: As Paul continues to highlight God’s transformative work among the Thessalonians, he specifically gives thanks for their reception of the word of God. Technically, Paul is referring to his preaching, and thus, in a sense, it is the word of men. Theologically, however, Paul is referring to the proclamation of Christ’s saving work which had been predicted in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the first century. Rather than being the words or opinions of men, this message and its historical antecedents comprise the Bible, which is most properly called the Word of God. Additionally, Paul notes that the Word of God, written and preached, continues to work in the lives of the Thessalonian believers, thus making them more like Christ. In this brief passage, Paul provides several reasons for us to give thanks to God for His Word, which is also at work among us today.
01. We give thanks to God for the Word of God because it informs our minds about who God is and what He has done for us.
02. We give thanks to God for the Word of God because it pricks our conscience to repent from sin and stirs our affections to walk with Christ.
03. We give thanks to God for the Word of God because it is true in every detail and applicable for every generation.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What is Paul’s primary reference to “the word of God” in verse 13? Did he mean the Old Testament, or his preaching, or both? Can it now include the New Testament, since Paul’s message is the same and the work of Christ is revealed in it? See 2 Timothy 3:16 for further insight.
2. What does Paul’s statement about his preaching suggest about his authority as an apostle? Why is it important to recognize Paul’s authority as an apostle but refuse to give such authority to a pastor today? How were New Testament apostles specifically gifted to proclaim the Word of God without error, whereas modern preachers may be mistaken? See John 16:12-15 and 2 Peter 3:15-18 for further insight.
3. What does Paul mean when he contrasts the “word of God” with the “word of men”? Did he mean that the Bible was not written by humans at all? What was the role of men in writing Scripture, and what was the role of the Holy Spirit in inspiring Scripture? See 2 Peter 2:21 for further insight.
4. Two implications that we can draw from the inspiration of Scripture are (a) the Bible is without error and (b) the Bible is authoritative. What would you say to a person who believes that God inspired the Bible, but it has errors in it? What would you say to a person who believes that God inspired the Bible, but we do not have to follow everything it says? See Psalm 1 for further insight.
5. How have you been helped by the Bible? Were you familiar with its contents before becoming a Christian? How did the preaching and teaching of God’s Word help you see your need for salvation? How is God using His Word to help you grow as a Christian today? See Psalm 119 for ways to express your gratitude to God for His Word.
For Further Reading: John Stott, You Can Trust the Bible: Our Foundation for Belief and Obedience (Discovery House Publishers, 1991)