Antioch Community Church

I Thessalonians and Personal Growth

Jun 25, 2012 | by Coley Waataja

This coming Sunday, Pastor Andy is going to kick off our new sermon series through the book of I Thessalonians. I was reading I Thessalonians this morning and I realized I had done a project on the letter while I was a college student. After digging through a couple of files I found my project. The goal of the project was to synthesize the themes in Paul’s letter. While so often biblical study is focused on analyzing and breaking down the text into the smallest bits, my professor wanted us to bring it together; to look at the whole thing at once. I had a blast with this project because as much as I love to analyze I need to see the big picture for it to be worth the work.

But as I looked closer at this project, I started seeing a bunch of things I didn’t like. I drew some connections that don’t seem that important, and missed some more of the obvious points. I didn’t like how I broke down the segments. Why did I stop that section there, when Paul kept on the same theme in the next verse? Did I seriously misspell a three letter word? In a matter of minutes, this prized project became embarrassing.

Then I noticed the date on the cover page: December 12, 2002. I did this ten years ago?!? I did this project the first semester of my college career! Now I feel old. But, I also get to have grace for myself. While this was a mildly impressive display of biblical literacy when I was 18 (at least my prof thought so), I have changed in the last 10 years. I see things differently now.

Life with Christ is never stagnant. We never learn anything in finality. We are always growing and changing, and so our understanding of God and his Word must always be growing as well. The Bible is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and so are we! The gospel of Jesus never changes, but because of its infinite dimensions, we should always see it new.

I pray that I never see the Bible as something I have all figured out, or even any one book as something I’ve already studied enough. I pray these next 13 weeks through 1 Thessalonians will be a great rediscovery of the unchanging message of the gospel and that it would penetrate our lives in a brand new way.

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