Background of 1 Thessalonians
The epistle itself provides the best evidence for constructing the background of this communication between the authors and the church in Thessalonica. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy write to the Thessalonian Christians after having been away from their city for an indeterminate amount of time. During a previous visit, some of the Thessalonian Gentiles had warmly welcomed PaulA Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More and the others and had “turned to God from idols” (1:9; see also 2:13). After leaving Thessalonica and being “made orphans by being separated from” the Thessalonians (2:17), Paul and his associates had somehow been unsuccessful in their attempts to return to the city (2:18). From Athens, they sent TimothyThe companion on Paul's later journeys for whom two pastoral epistles are named More to check on the Thessalonian church, perhaps to see how its members were withstanding persecution. Timothy returned to Athens pleased to report about the Thessalonian church’s continuing faithfulness (3:1-7). Timothy’s report concurred with the general reputation of the Thessalonians as people with a vibrant faith (1:7-9). This epistleAn epistle, simply, is a letter or message. As many as twenty-one of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are epistles, letters written to churches or persons for instruction, pastoral care, or discipline. More comes after Timothy had returned to Paul and Silas with the good news, allowing the authors to rejoice in the Thessalonians’ perseverance, to encourage them, and to give instruction on a few issues that may have been of particular concern among the believers in Thessalonica.