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1 & 2 Thessalonians - 1 & 2 Timothy -
Titus - Philemon


New Believers Study
An Overview of the New Testament
by Pastor Ron Beckham

Seventh Study:
1 & 2 Thessalonians - 1 & 2 Timothy - Titus - Philemon

You are encouraged to test yourself after the completion of this Seventh Study in the Friday Study Ministries' New Believers Study, using an essay (written) format.  Go to the section entitled “Questions” and it is suggested that you may 1) answer the questions in that section, and 2) send your answers to Ron@FridayStudy.orgIf you would like, your answers will be “graded” and responses given. 

1st Thessalonians

The Book of 1st Thessalonians was completely accepted as a Pauline Epistle by the Christian theological world until the 19th Century, when scholars challenged authorship on the ground of doctrinal content.  However, the internal evidence is strong that that this letter was written by the Apostle Paul, who wrote mainly in this letter about Christ's return.  The city was named after the half-sister of Alexander the Great.  The Romans conquered the place in 168 BC and organized it into a single province.  Thessalonica was the capital city and it became a "free city" during the reign of Caesar Augustus.  The city had a population of 200,000 at the time of Paul, and survives today under the name, Salonika.  There were a large number of Jews in Thessalonica, and a lot of Gentiles who had become tired of Greek paganism, had become Jews (God-fearers) themselves.  In Acts 17:10 and context, we find that Paul had won a lot of converts from the God-fearers, and the Jews responded with a mob that dragged Jason, Paul and Silas before the officials, accusing them of hiding traitors to Rome.  Paul and the others were forced to leave for Athens that night.  This letter was written in 51 AD, in response to information from Timothy.

2 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians 1:1 and 3:17, shout that Paul the Apostle is the author of this epistle.  The external evidence from the Early Church is even stronger than 1st Thessalonians, that he is the author of 2nd Thessalonians.  The time of writing was just a few months after the first letter to Thessalonica was sent.  The return of Christ to this earth is a major part of chapters 1 and 2 of this letter.  The third chapter is an encouragement for them to wait patiently for the Lord's return.  Some in the church had tended toward idleness, thinking the Lord would soon return.  Paul urged them to replace this idleness with holiness and work for the glory of the Lord.

I Timothy

The Timothy letters and the epistle sent to Titus are "pastoral epistles" - sent from an older pastor (Paul the Apostle) to younger pastors who were struggling somewhat in their ministries.  Timothy, who was admittedly very young for the job, had the heavy burden of being the pastor of the large work that was continuing in the city and area of Ephesus.  Recent "scholarship" has insisted that the pastoral epistles were written a century or so later, by someone who only pretended to be Paul.  However, the Early Church was very alert to forgeries, having been "burned" by them In the past.  Verses such as 1 Timothy 1:13 and 1:15 are not likely to have been written by a forger - they are the authentic confessions of Paul the Apostle, the author of these letters.  Paul wrote 1st Timothy from Macedonia, in 62-63 AD.  The direct purpose in writing was to encourage the younger pastor to appoint elders, fight false teachings, and properly supervise the church.  Timothy was encouraged to do these things.

II Timothy

Paul was in prison at the time he wrote this letter, and he likely wrote it in 67 AD.  The insane Emperor Nero had been on the throne of the Empire since 54 AD, and he had blamed Christians for the fires that burned half of Rome in 64 AD.  The evidence suggested that Nero himself was at fault for the fires, but many believed his story, and Christianity had become very unpopular at the time.  Paul was in a cold Roman cell at the time of this writing, and he was thought of as an "evildoer" (2:9).  Paul hoped that Timothy would soon visit him, for many "forsook" him (4:16), and he wanted the younger man to bring his "cloak" (4:13) for it would soon be very cold.  From such a place, Paul ENCOURAGED the younger man with this letter.


This letter was written to another young pastor, and was originally called "Pros Titon," To Titus.  Paul encourages the man to help those he encounters toward a practical working out of salvation in their daily lives.  Sheer faith would save them, but then we must all live the lives that God enables us to live.  Paul had left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5) to continue the work that Paul had begun (Acts 27:7 & forward).  Titus is not named in Acts, but he must have been among those who were with Paul, and was named several times in 2 Corinthians.  He was with Paul when the Apostle was in prison, but left for Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10), and we see that Paul thought of him as "my true son in our common faith" (Titus 1:4).  This letter was written in 63 AD.  Titus, though young like Timothy, was to exercise his authority over the church given to him, refuting false teachers and immorality; replacing all with good deeds.  You can learn how to live by 1) trusting in the Lord, and 2) living by the teachings of these letters.


This letter was addressed this way: "Pros Philemona," To Philemon, who was the owner of Onesimus, a slave who had run away from service to Philemon.  Onesimus had come to Christ through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, who had also brought Philemon to the Lord.  Here is a real opportunity for brotherly love to be seen in action.  Onesimus was to carry the letter to Philemon himself, and Paul encouraged him to receive his slave with the same love he would have for Paul, who promises that any debt owed by Onesimus, would be made good by the Apostle himself.  Slavery was an accepted practice in the Roman Empire and few questioned it, with the exception of certain notable slave uprisings.  This letter was written in that context, which flies in the face of the customs of the time, as well as the law of the land.  This is truly a revolutionary document.  Jerome and Chrysostom defended the Pauline authorship of this letter, but others in the 4th century attacked it, on the ground that it lacked doctrinal content.  However, what greater doctrine could we address, than our Lord's command that we love one another? (John 13:34 & 1 Cor. 13).  The letter was written in 60 or 61 AD, and was sent at the same time as Colossians, via Onesimus and Tychicus (Colossians 4:7-9, Philemon 12).


There are excellent websites where you may visit and copy or print the writings of some truly remarkable theologians, from past centuries.  A good, simple to use “search engine” for that purpose is called “Google,” where you can enter words like “Bible Commentaries” and “Search” for some really great Bible commentaries from the past, including the following suggested locations:

bullet Bible Studies of Friday Study Ministries:
  1 Thessalonians
  2 Thessalonians
  1 Timothy
bullet A suggested address is
bullet Another is
bullet And
bullet You might also try
bullet You might try our Bible Studies and sermons at

Matthew Henry, who wrote about 250 years ago (“Matthew Henry’s Commentary”), is strongly recommended, along with others of that time, such as John Calvin, John Wesley, and John Gill.  You will find wonderful material in those writings.  Also recommended is Dr. J. Vernon McGee (but there will be a small charge for his materials).

This study operates from the perspective that you, the student of the Bible, already have some understanding, or at least an awareness of the Books of the New Testament.  In this Seventh Study, we will take a solid look at six letters of the Apostle Paul.  The following are questions you might ask yourself when reading them, along with the supporting materials in relation to them (such as Bible commentaries).  In writing your answers to some or all of these questions, defend your answers with Scripture in every instance, and commit those Scriptures to memory, whenever possible.


  1. How did the gospel come to the Thessalonians? (Chap 1)
  2. What is the "election" by God? (1 Thess. 1:4)
  3. How do we please God instead of men? (1 Thess. 2)
  4. Discuss "giving" in the light of 1 Thess. 2
  5. How does Satan "hinder" Christians? (1 Thess 2:18)
  6. Discuss "prayer" in relation to 1 Thess. 3:10 & context
  7. How important is love? (1 Thess. 3)
  8. What is the will of God? (1 Thess. 4:3 & forward)
  9. What is "holiness" anyway? (1 Thess. 4:7 & context)
  10. Now that you're a Christian, should you quit your job?  (1 Thess. 4:11-12).  Why not?
  11. Discuss those who have died and the nature of the "rapture" of the church (1 Thess. 4:13 & forward)
  12. Talk about the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5)
  13. How can we be at peace with one another? (1 Thess. 5:13)
  14. How can we rejoice always? Pray without ceasing? Etc. (1 Thess 5:16 & forward)
  15. Is 2 Thess. 1:3 an answer to the prayers of 1 Thess. 3:10?  How does this work?
  16. Discuss "boasting" in the light of 2 Thess. 1:4
  17. What is the "everlasting destruction" of 2 Thess. 1:9?
  18. Discuss the Day of the Lord and the "rapture" in the light of 2 Thess. 2:1 & forward.
  19. What/Who is the "Restrainer" of 2 Thess. 2:7?  How will this work when it occurs?
  20. Did you choose God? Or did He choose you? (2 Thess. 2:13).  What is the role of "free choice" in this?
  21. What is "disorderly" conduct? (2 Thess. 4:6 & forward)
  22. Paul signed this letter in 2 Thess. 3:17.  Who wrote it?  How do Silvanus & Timothy fit into authorship of this letter? (2 Thess. 1:1)
  23. What is the purpose of the law? (1 Tim. 1:8 & context)
  24. Was Paul an open man? How? (1 Tim. 1:13, 15)
  25. Why do we pray for those in authority? (1 Tim. 2)
  26. Discuss women in public worship (1 Tim 2:9 & forward)
  27. Discuss the qualifications of bishops/pastors/deacons (1 Tim. 3)
  28. Why is this the "mystery" of godliness? (1 Tim. 3:16)
  29. How are we to treat people? (1 Tim. 5)
  30. Why do oxen have anything to do with giving?  (1 Tim. 5:18 & context; Deut. 25:4
  31. Is money bad? (1 Tim. 6:10)
  32. What should the "rich" do? (1 Tim. 6:17 & forward)
  33. How do we make 2 Tim. 1:7 real in our lives?
  34. Discuss "enduring hardship" - Why is it important? (2 Tim. 2:3)
  35. How can we be humble & strong at the same time? (2 Tim.  2:25 & context)
  36. Talk about the "Last Days" (2 Tim. 3:1 & forward).  How will people be at that time?  Are we in those days?
  37. What is Scripture to you? (2 Tim. 3:16)
  38. Are you an elder?  What kind of person should you be?  (Titus 1:5 & forward)
  39. What did Paul mean by, "Cretans are always liars"? (Titus 1:12 & context)
  40. How do we "exhort" people in the light of Titus 2:1 & forward?
  41. If we are saved by grace, what is the purpose of our "good works"? (Titus 3)
  42. How does the Book of Philemon teach us how we should live?

As stated before the Questions section, the preceding are some of the questions you might consider in relation to this preliminary study of these letters.  You should always ask questions and not simply agree with everything you hear.  If you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God is speaking to your heart and mind constantly.  By learning to ask, you are learning to ask HIM.  You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) just as you are, and the questions you ask honestly will be answered, for that is His plan for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask HIM – anything!  Actually, He ENCOURAGES you in this manner: “Until now, you have asked nothing in My Name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

Your assignment in these letters is to read each of them, with the above Questions in mind.  Go into the Internet at the places cited, and read the theologians offered, especially Matthew Henry-and you can find his excellent writings as “freeware” on the Internet.

The next New Believers Study will be in the Books of Hebrews and James.

Read the Word of God.

Study Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Pray about what you are studying

Write with any questions:
Pastor Ron Beckham



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