1 Thessalonians

FIRST LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS. It is this clash with Gallio that enables us to date First Thessalonians and Paul’s coming to Corinth so definitely. It was early in his stay at Corinth that Paul wrote this letter, and most likely, after Timothy came to Corinth and gave his report.

“We” occurs 62 times in this letter and indicating that Silas and Timothy contributed to its writing. The purpose of the letter was to encourage the Thessalonian church. Paul wrote this letter out of the gratitude of his heart. It reveals the affectionate nature of the apostle and portrays the intimate relations that he had with his converts.

First Thessalonians: Christ is Coming Again!

Writers: Paul, Silas (Silvanus) and Timothy since “we” occurs 62 times in this letter.

Addressee: To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, founded by the writers on Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9). The Greek city of Thessalonica was a large and prosperous seaport on the famous Egnatian Way as well as a “free city.” The large number of “God-fearing Greeks” indicates a large Jewish influence in the city. Unbelieving Jew, who jealously watched Paul’s success, launched an attack on the work which drove Paul from the city (Act 17:4-5).

Date and Place Written: City of Corinth in the early summer of A.D. 52.

Occasion and Purpose: When Timothy returned to Paul from his visit to the church (1 Thessalonians 3:6-7), this letter was written to encourage a church under severe testing of persecution. This letter contains:

1. Commendation, 3:7-9
2. Vindication, 2:1-12
3. Admonition, 5:12-14
4. Revelation, 4:13-18

Key Verses: 5:23; 4:13-18

Key Phrases: “Lord Jesus Christ” (5 times)

Key Words: We (62 times); Lord (24); Brothers (20); Jesus (16); Christ (10); Faith (8); Love (8); Gospel (6); Day (6); Holy (6); Hope (4); Coming (3).

Themes:

A. Thematic Theme: What Christian Hope Is—the Second Advent of Christ (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:14-17; 5:23)

B. Primary Themes:
1. To express thanks to God for the healthy condition of this church
2. To confirm young converts in the foundational truths
3. To make a strong case against the false insinuations against the writers
4. To exhort them to a life of personal holiness, which pleases the Lord
5. To comfort them concerning those who already died
6. To instruct them concerning their own hope of the Lord’s coming

C. Subordinate Themes:
Doctrines:

1. Trinity, cf. 1:1, 5-6, 9; 4:8; 5:19
2. Holy Spirit, 1:5-6; 4:8; 5:19
3. Satan, 2:18; 3:5
4. Sin 1:9; 2:15
5. The Day of the Lord, 5:1-3
6. Conviction, 1:5
7. Conversion, 1:9
8. Election, 1:4
9. Death of Christ, 1:1; 1:10; 2:15; 5:9-10
10. Resurrection, 4:14-18
11. Sanctification, 4:3; 5:23
12. Christian Behavior, 2:12; 4:1
13. Vocational Diligence, 4:11-12; 5:12-15
14. Inspiration and Authority of Scripture, 2:13
15. Prayer, 3:11-13; 5:23-24

Ministry:

1. Paul’s Past Ministry, 1:1-10-2:16
2. Present Ministry of the Thessalonians, 2:17-5:11
3. Future Ministry by the Thessalonians, 5:12-28

Style: It is personal, as well as practical, based on sound doctrine. There is not one single direct quote from the OT.

Key Teaching: The Christian experience is made up not only of the work of faith and the labor of love, but also of the patience of hope.

The Outline:

1thessaloniansoutline

The First Letter to Thessalonians contains:

1. Commendation of the Thessalonian church
2. Vindication of the apostle’s ministry from certain slanders and insinuations
3. Admonition to remain moral in light of temptations they faced
4. Revelation concerning the rapture and timing of the Day of the Lord

Here Paul teaches that the Christian experience is made up not only of the work of faith and the labor of love, but also of the patience of hope. The letter is personal as well as practical based on sound doctrine. It does not contain a single direct quote from the OT.

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