Summary of 1 Thessalonians
The Apostle Paul and two of his associates, Silvanus (SilasChristian missionary who was imprisoned with Paul at Philippi More) and TimothyThe companion on Paul's later journeys for whom two pastoral epistles are named More, write a tender pastoral letter to believers in Thessalonica to reaffirm their strong faith, strengthen their ground for hope, encourage them in holy living, and reassure them concerning their expectation of the Lord Jesus’ future return to the world. The letter affords glimpses into the most affectionate aspects of Paul’s pastoral and theological guidance to a church he helped found. The themes of future hope and expectant anticipation of Christ’s reappearance are conspicuous in this letter.
This letter offers an intimate view into Paul’s concern for a young and distressed community of faith in a prosperous city. The theological guidance PaulA Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More gives consistently calls the Thessalonian believers to live in a distinctive way and to cultivate a fellowship of faith, hope, and love. Devotion to JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More does not compel people to ignore or forsake the social contexts in which they dwell; instead it calls them to live within them while expressing a distinctively Christian hope.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians is the thirteenth book in the New Testament. It is situated in the midst of the “Pauline corpusThe Pauline corpus is the body of New Testament letters known to have been written by the apostle Paul. The seven epistles generally accepted as being by Paul are 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, Philemon, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Romans. The authorship of the remaining... More,” the collection of letters attributed to the ApostleDerived from a Greek word meaning "one who is sent," an apostle is a person who embraces and advocates another person's idea or beliefs. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus called twelve apostles to follow and serve him. Paul became an apostle of Jesus... More Paul (the books of Romans through Philemon).
WHO WROTE IT?
The opening words of 1 Thessalonians identify the authors as the coworkers Paul, Silvanus (identified as Silas in the book of Acts), and Timothy. The Apostle Paul appears to have been the principal writer, but it is noteworthy that the letter almost always speaks in the voice of multiple authors (using pronouns such as “we,” “us,” and “our”).
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
Of all the surviving letters written by the Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians is very likely the first to have been written. This also makes 1 Thessalonians the oldest book in the New Testament, although some propose that the book of James was penned slightly earlier. This letter was written in the early 50s, probably in 51 or 52 C.E.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Apostle Paul and two of his associates write a tender pastoral letter to believers in Thessalonica to reaffirm their strong faith, strengthen their ground for hope, encourage them in holyHoly is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine More living, and reassure them concerning their expectation of the Lord Jesus’ future return to the world.
HOW DO I READ IT?
As with any other New Testament 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, to read 1 Thessalonians is to read someone else’s mail. Paul and his coworkers had a preexisting relationship with the believers in Thessalonica, and this letter is only one piece of their ongoing communications over a span of time. The letter itself yields clues about the circumstances that prompted Paul and the others to write it, and the content of the letter addresses certain “hot-button” issues that were probably pressing concerns for the members of the Christian community in Thessalonica.