Read: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
You received the word of God . . . as what it really is. (v. 13)
In verse 13, Paul weaves together ideas about God’s word, his preaching, and the response of the Thessalonians. He makes the stunning claim that in receiving what they heard from his preaching, they were in fact receiving the Word of God. That is, Paul claims the message he received from Jesus, and preached to them, is God’s Word. The New Testament is given the same authority as the Old. The whole Bible is “breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). And the Thessalonians received it “as what it really is, the word of God” (v. 13). It’s not merely the “word of men” (v. 13). The Bible is the real deal.
And God’s Word worked in them! Paul affirms their response. They “became imitators of the churches of God . . . that are in Judea” (v. 14). They suffered the same things as the Jerusalem church, and they endured with God’s gracious help. They took God at his word and trusted him as if their life depended on it.
Last winter I spent five days at a retreat with a small group of American and Iranian believers. I asked the Americans what they learned from their persecuted brothers and sisters. Their overwhelming response was amazement at how well the Iranians knew the Bible and how ironclad their trust was in its promises. Over and over again, I learn from the persecuted church that they survive and thrive because they take God at his word. May you and I do the same. —Jon Opgenorth
As you pray, thank God for his Word.
About the Author
Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.