In the first century, being Christian wasn't easy. There was a ton of pressure to just conform already and worship Greek and Roman gods like everyone else. Your neighbors didn't want to hear you talking about some guy named Jesus who was gonna come back and end the whole world. It was sort of social suicide. So it took a lot of guts to believe in the face of all that opposition. And Paul is pretty darn proud of the way his little community of believers keeps on keeping on.
Questions About Perseverance
How does the fact that Paul is also being persecuted help his case? Does it make him more of an authority on perseverance?
Do you think Paul's vision of the end of the world is encouraging? Why do you think reading about this would have helped Christians keep going?
Why does Paul single out the Thessalonians for so much praise? Are they really doing that awesome of a job? Or is he just trying to flatter them a little?