The Apostle Paul: An Introduction to the Epistle to the Thessalonians.

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.” (1 Thessalonians 1:1)

While the Apostle Paul was in Corinth, he not only ministered to those within that Grecian city, but also took the opportunity, by the work of the Holy Spirit, to write his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. For the next several days, we will briefly look at the structure and the content of I Thessalonians.

In the Greek NT, 1 Thessalonians is listed literally as “To the Thessalonians.” This represents the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in the city of Thessalonica (cf. 1:1).

Paul identified himself twice as the author of this letter (1:1; 2:18). Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy (3:2, 6), Paul’s traveling companions on the second missionary journey when the church was founded (Acts 17:1–9), were also mentioned in Paul’s greeting (1 Thess. 1:1).

Although the apostle was the author, most of the first person plural pronouns (we, us, our) refer to him and his two companions. However, during Timothy’s visit back to Thessalonica, they refer only to Paul and Silvanus (3:1–2, 6). Paul’s epistles came with the full support of his companions.

Paul’s authorship is further supported by (1) the direct assertions of Paul’s authorship (1:1; 2:18); (2) the letter’s harmony with Paul’s travels in Acts 16–18; (3) the multitude of intimate details regarding Paul; and (4) the confirmation by multiple, early historical verifications beginning with Marcion’s canon in A.D. 140.

The first of Paul’s two letters written from Corinth to the church at Thessalonica is dated c. A.D. 51. This date has been archeologically verified by an inscription in the temple of Apollos at Delphi (near Corinth), which dates Gallio’s service as proconsul in Achaia to A.D. 51–52 (Acts 18:12–17). Since Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia was probably written c. A.D. 49–50, this was his second Holy Spirit inspired epistle.

Take the opportunity today to read the first chapter of I Thessalonians. I Thessalonians 1:2-3 appeals to me as the kind of reputation I desire to have as a believer in Christ. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Merry Christmas.

Soli deo Gloria!  

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