NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
- What causes the greater reaction, gaining $100 or losing it? Why might a person give more weight to a loss than to a win?
- To what extent should seeing another person come to Christ be a believer’s greatest reward and joy?
Food for thought:
The fear of losing may be stronger than we admit. Researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky propose that people experience twice as much angst over losing something as they do joy over gaining the same amount as lost. Most of us see this in other areas of our lives. We may be successful in the work we do but can’t enjoy it because of a small failure in one area of our work. Our fear of losing gets in the way of winning, so we look at the glass as half empty and stop trying.
In Chapter 2 of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, we find him celebrating the faith of the Thessalonians but also noting the opposition faced. That opposition came from his own people, fellow Jews who not only rejected Paul’s message but tried to silence him. These are some of the same people for whom Paul said he would have given up his own place in heaven if by doing so they would accept Christ (see Romans 8:1-5).
Paul could have easily been discouraged because of the opposition he faced, but instead he focused on those who accepted Christ, which encouraged him. They had a shared faith and were looking forward to the coming of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:19). The embracing of the Gospel by some motivated Paul to keep moving forward, staying focused on his mission.
Reaching people with the Gospel brings great joy and reward in both the present and the future. For the present, we gain relationships with people who share our faith and spur us on to be more Christ-like in our lives. For the future, we gain the commendation of our Savior welcoming us as His faithful servants, standing before Him with others who stand there because of us. We can focus on the opposition and miss out on the joy that awaits us.
The Thessalonians were also facing opposition and could have been easily discouraged. But Paul set an example, reminding us to move past our fear of failure (a form of loss) and focus on the wins. We can learn from the losses, but the wins move us forward in obedience to our Savior.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/ExploreTheBible.