1 Thessalonians 5:26-27 – Read This Letter


1 Thessalonians 5:26-27


Paul extends greetings to all of the Thessalonian believers and expresses his desire that the letter be read to all of them.


These brief commands may seem insignificant and easy to pass over, but they indicate something about how Paul wanted his letter to influence the Christian community in Thessalonica. By saying that he wants the letter to be read to all the believers in Thessalonica, Paul expresses a desire to have a pastoral voice within the entire community. He could have directed the letter only to the people who were literate (which would have been precious few, perhaps only ten percent of the population). He could have directed it only to those who were recognized as leaders in the church (although the letter gives no indication of a formal leadership structure or ecclesial hierarchy in place). Instead, he wanted to address the entire church with the letter. It seems Paul, although absent from Thessalonica, thought of himself as still exercising a pastoral role within the community, as opposed to being something like a modern-day leadership consultant.

The serious command that “this letter be read to all of” the Thessalonian believers is a reminder that Paul used written correspondence to allow him to have an authoritative presence—to encourage, to instruct, to influence, or to protect—within communities he founded. That says something about Paul’s motives and priorities, but it also says something about his willingness to use the modes of communication available to him in order to preach, teach, and correct others. Paul appears not to have had reservations about using common technologies to talk about holy topics.