1 Thessalonians

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1 Thessalonians
Book Number 52
Testament New
Number of Chapters 5
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Literary Genre Pauline Epistle
References Used Bibliography: 1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians is widely considered to be the first book of the New Testament to be written down, while Paul was on his second missionary journey, merely months after leaving the Thessalonians in the first place. Depending on the dating of Paul’s missionary journey’s, this letter is thought to have been written either in 50-51 CE (traditional) or 41-43 CE (revisionist) (Brown 457). 1 Thessalonians is one of the books of the Bible with the most certain pedigree as even secular scholars generally agree that Paul wrote it.

It seems odd that Paul would have need to write a letter to a church that he had just left unless there was a major problem with the church, and 1 Thessalonians is generally a positive letter which disproves this. One possibility is that Paul got run off by crowds roused by Jews against what Paul was teaching Acts 17:5-10. This means that Paul’s teaching was probably unfinished and so he would have had reason to send a letter soon. We don’t know how long Paul was in Thessalonica, either. Acts 17 only mentions three Sabbaths teaching, but Philippians 4:16 mentions them sending Paul several gifts during his time there (Brown 457).

This letter was written when Timothy, who had stayed in Thessalonica when Paul left, and then returned once since then, came back from Thessalonica to Paul in Corinth (Gundry 255). It was almost certainly the information that Timothy gave Paul that inspired him to write this letter to the church.

Thessalonica was the capital city of Macedonia, and law on the main highway connecting Rome to the East (Gundry 254). 1 Thessalonians is mostly a personal letter of Paul giving his greetings and thanking the Thessalonians for staying faithful and for all the good things Timothy has to say about them. What reminders Paul does have for them are ones that make sense for a church experiencing early persecution. Stay faithful in love, stay true to your morals, and do not worry because Christ is coming again.



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