Just this morning, I got to work on my Bible study for tonight. After a quick read of the passage, I thought, "There's not much here." I've thought that before after a superficial look at other passages, but when I have taken the time to really study the text, I've had to repent - quite happily, I might add. There is always a treasure in God's Word. You'd think I'd learn!
We're looking at 1 Thessalonians 3, which deals mostly with news of a visit that Timothy paid to the church. Paul and his companions had to get out of town quickly after they first preached the gospel there, and Paul longed to get back there. He had to settle for a report from Timothy, and the report contained good news - the church was well, it had thrived in the midst of adversity.
What really gripped me as I looked more closely at these verses was Paul's love for these saints - a love that delighted in the growing faith of his brothers and sisters in Thessalonica. Paul was facing his own adversity - opposition and affliction on every front, in fact. However, what he lived for was the joy that came through seeing others grow in faith and love (compare Philippians 1:21-26).
In these verses, we see how faith works in the power of the gospel. Faith results in love, joy, holiness and contentment in the face of suffering. Joy is the engine that makes this thing fly.
I think I am better at seeing how faith relates to personal holiness (and that's important), but I was really convicted by the picture of deep Christian love and exuberant joy that is modeled in this chapter.
I have some work to do as I seek to "supply what is lacking in (my) faith" together with the saints here. I need a bigger vision of the love and joy of my Saviour in the transformation of sinners.
So then, I encourage you to study your Bible on a regular basis. Ask questions of the text. Slow down, compare translations, look for connecting words and pray for God's help in seeing what's in the passage and applying it to your life. You will be surprised and blessed at the riches and depth of God's Word.