“October 21–27. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: ‘Be Not Soon Shaken in Mind, or Be Troubled’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“October 21–27. 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Give class members a few minutes to quickly look over 1 and 2 Thessalonians and find a verse that impresses them. Invite them to share their verses with someone else in the class, and then ask a few of the pairs to share what they learned from each other.
Paul began his Epistle to the Thessalonians by reminding the Saints of the manner in which he and others had shared the gospel with them. This may be a good opportunity for your class members to evaluate how they are doing at teaching and learning from one another. You could invite class members to read 1 Thessalonians 1:5–8; 2:1–13 and identify principles related to sharing the gospel effectively. They could then write questions based on these verses that will help them evaluate their efforts to teach the gospel to others. For instance, one question might be “Am I an example of the things I know?” (see 1 Thessalonians 1:7). How can following the principles in this passage help us better minister to those we teach?
Reading 1 Thessalonians 1:5–8; 2:1–13 might remind class members of Christlike teachers who have positively influenced them “as a father doth his children” (1 Thessalonians 2:11). Invite class members to search these passages to find a characteristic of a sincere minister and think of a teacher they know who exemplifies that characteristic. You might ask class members to write a letter or create an award certificate for the teacher they are thinking of. Encourage them to include in the letter or award a verse from 1 Thessalonians and an explanation of how the teacher exemplifies that verse. They may even feel inspired to give the letter or award to the person they wrote about.
Paul taught the Thessalonian Saints that “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). To begin a discussion about holiness, your class or an individual could sing “More Holiness Give Me” (Hymns, no. 131). Ask class members to discuss the characteristics of holiness mentioned in the hymn that stand out to them. Write on the board More holiness give me, more … , and invite class members to look for words or phrases from 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13; 4:1–12 to complete the sentence. How can we develop these characteristics?
For some, the invitation to be holy might seem daunting. It might help if class members understand that developing holiness is a gradual process that requires us to “increase more and more” over time (1 Thessalonians 4:10). To illustrate this process, you could invite a class member to talk about a talent or accomplishment that took consistent effort over time, such as making a quilt or playing a musical instrument. How is this similar to the process of becoming holy? Invite class members to review 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13; 4:1–12 and share insights about the effort it takes to become holy in the ways Paul describes. What has helped us progress toward holiness?
Questions like the following could inspire a discussion about Paul’s counsel regarding work: What are the consequences of idleness? What do you think Paul meant by the words “quiet” and “quietness”? (1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:12). You might want to write questions like these on the board for class members to ponder as they read 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:7–13. Invite them to discuss these questions in pairs, in small groups, or as a class. What other scriptures help us understand the importance of work and the perils of idleness? (see the suggestions in “Additional Resources”).
Understanding the Great Apostasy can strengthen your class members’ testimonies of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families includes several resources about the Apostasy. You could invite a few class members to come prepared to share insights from their study of these resources, or you could study and discuss them together in class. There are also several videos about the Apostasy in “Additional Resources” that might add to your discussion.
It might be helpful to discuss some of the metaphors prophets have used to describe the Apostasy, such as a falling away (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3), a famine (see Amos 8:11–12), grievous wolves entering a flock (see Acts 20:28–30), and itching ears (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4). Consider dividing class members into pairs and asking them to read one or more of these scriptures (or others that you choose) and describe what the verses teach about the Great Apostasy. What did prophets teach about the Apostasy and the effect it would have?
To help class members learn more about the Great Apostasy, invite them to imagine that they have a friend who doesn’t understand the need for a restoration of the gospel. Create a two-column chart on the board labeled Causes of the Apostasy and Effects of the Apostasy. Invite class members to search the section titled “The Great Apostasy” in Preach My Gospel (pages 35–36) in pairs or small groups, looking for causes and effects of the Apostasy to write on the board. What insights from this chart could they use to help their friend understand the need for the Restoration?
Would your class benefit from discussing how to keep ourselves from “falling away”? You might invite them to search 2 Thessalonians 2 and look for advice they could give a friend that would help him or her avoid personal apostasy.
To inspire class members to read 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon this week, invite them to imagine that they received a personal letter from an Apostle containing advice about how to fulfill their Church callings. Suggest that they think about their callings as they read these personal letters from Paul to early Church leaders.
“The Great Apostasy”
“The Apostasy and the Restoration—What the Restoration Means for Me”