Paul is by far one of the most important figures in the New Testament. His influence has spanned the course of time and has brought much richness and instruction to the lives of God’s people.
It’s obvious why every Christian should study Paul’s works. But some Pauline Epistles are underrated—and there’s no better time to remedy that.
Here are four reasons to dig into Thessalonians and the Pastoral Epistles for sermon ideas starting today:
1. These books are short, but they won’t leave you short on sermon ideas. Since they’re packed with application, you can craft expository sermons without the long-term commitment of diving into a longer book, plan for a sermon series, or easily create a short-term Bible study.
2. Even though we can’t physically gather, we aren’t exempt from Scripture’s teaching about the Church. These books focus us on the Church’s calling. They help us think about what’s essential in ministry—which will be especially foundational as we rebuild for whatever things look like next.
3. They help us see how to get through hard times. Here’s how Grant Osborne puts it in 1 & 2 Thessalonians Verse by Verse:
The letters to the Thessalonians are often considered to be among the less important of Paul’s letters, but that is not true. They are written to a very important city with very important issues. My favorite aspect of these letters is neither the issue of the day of the Lord nor of how to handle the professional idlers but the wonderful model Paul and the Thessalonians present of a truly loving relationship between a pastor and a congregation. Throughout both letters runs a thread of respect and love that every pastor longs to experience. It provides a thrilling example of affection in extremely hard times and how that affection can make severe trials bearable.1
4. We can apply their wisdom today just as much as the early Church did. John Stott says it well in The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: The Life of the Local Church:
Here is wisdom for the local Church in every generation and every place. Let no-one say that Scripture is out of date. Calvin, when dedicating his commentary to the Duke of Somerset in 1556, called this letter ‘highly relevant to our own times.’ More than 400 years later we can make the same claim. Truly “the Bible speaks today.”2
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- Grant Osborne, 1 & 2 Thessalonians Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018), 1.
- John Stott, The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: The Life of the Local Church, The Bible Speaks Today (Leister, England: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 39.