THE relationship Paul (& his fellow ministers) with the Thessalonian believers commenced with a faithful & humble presentation of the gospel (vs. 1-9). Paul & his fellows proclaimed the truth of God's saving grace, & the Thessalonians believed it. This common ground certainly provided for a firm foundation for that which followed. Once the Thessalonians were in the family of God, Paul & his companions discipled them patiently & faithfully. This process began with an excellent lead-by-example strategy (vs. 10-11). It continued with strong teaching. Notice the excellence of this particular part of their relationship. Paul recognized God's activity in this process (vs. 12). He preached the word of God, not his own contrivances. And, this audience accepted the teaching readily, giving it deserved weightiness. The result was abiding spiritual fruit. Paul’s ministry of the word was effective (vs. 13). Holiness & unity became a reality there (vs. 14).
Now, the sweetness of all that was going on between the Pauline missionary team & these national believers did not negate the negative circumstances that were also present in Paul's ministry & in the lives of those new believers. Jews & Gentiles who were not regenerated did indeed tirelessly persecute the churches of God during the days of Paul's ministry (vs. 14-16). It was Satan at work then, even as he works now (vs. 18). But Paul didn’t allow these distractions to cool the spiritual passion of his heart. He loved these believers & communicated as much (vs. 17). He understood the deep significance of their relationship & fellowship (vs. 19-20).