One way to get more enjoyment from reading the Bible is to take Scriptures and put them together to help us form a picture of the events it talks about. For example, in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he refers to when he first visited Thessalonica.

We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.

1 Thessalonians 2:2 (NIV)

Here, Paul is referring to Acts 16. In Acts 16:18-19, Paul and his companions encountered a woman possessed by a spirit that could (allegedly) foretell the future. The woman followed Paul around for days: “shouting, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved” (Acts 16:17 NIV), so Paul finally got annoyed and cast the spirit out (cf. Acts 16:18). Paul’s action caused a slew of events starting here in Acts 16:19.

When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.

Acts 16:19 (NIV)

After this, Paul and Silas were thrown into prison after being severely beaten and flogged (cf. Acts 16:22-23). In this prison, we read that Paul and Silas sang hymns until midnight when the prison was shaken by an earthquake that opened all of the doors and loosened everyone’s chains.

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Acts 16:26-30 (NIV)

After these events, Paul and Silas head into Thessalonica in Acts 17:1-9. What I find interesting is what is said about the Thessalonians in Acts 17:11.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Acts 17:11 (NIV)

After reading the events in Acts 16 and 17, when we continue reading 1 Thessalonians, we have a better image of how this church was formed.

That’s all I have for today. I pray this day finds you well. Thanks for stopping by!