Today’s reading: 1 Thes 3
In today’s passage, we read that Paul had sent Timothy back to the Thessalonians. To Paul’s great joy, Timothy has returned with a report that the Thessalonians have stayed faithful and increased in virtue.
However, notice that even though the Thessalonians are doing well, Paul wishes to return to them:
For what thanksgiving can we render to God for you, …. , praying earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
The Thessalonians were instructed directly by Paul and Timothy has just reported that their virtue has grown. What could be lacking in their faith? Here Paul is not speaking of faith as in “belief in God” but rather as in “theology”. What he’s saying to the Thessalonians is that he wants to teach them things that they have not yet learned. This is important because it shows that Christianity cannot be distilled down to a just few core teaching in which the rest of the substance is unimportant or fungible. To the contrary, Paul wants the Thessalonians to learn all that he has to teach them. They have learned enough to begin their journey but as they grow in virtue they must continue to grow in understanding.
Tomorrow: 1 Thes 4