Where – written from Corinth to the church in Thessalonica
Why – Encourage the church in Thessalonica to stand firm and help them endure the persecution.
Key Verse: Ch 3:12-13, Ch 4:3 and 4:16
1 st Thessalonians - Who
Founded church during 2 nd Missionary Journey Paul, Silas, Timothy
Spent three weeks preaching – founded a church
Created a “stir”
Enemies accused Paul of turning world upside down (Acts 17:6)
Believers sent Paul away to Berea
1 st Thessalonians - What
Church founded in three week of preaching
1 Thessalonians written from Corinth, sent by Timothy
Church composed mostly of gentiles
A very intimate letter
Heart to heart
Word “brothers” used 14 times
Paul constantly prayed for them.
This church was held up as a model for others
1 Thessalonians Metropolis of Macedonia
Background in Paul's time
Thessalonica was a very large, populous, and flourishing city, it was "liberae conditionis", as Pliny says (a), a free city, and the metropolis of Macedonia; it was formerly called Halis (b), and had the name of Thessalonica given it by Philip king of Macedon, on account of his conquest of Thessalia,
The city was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, and Jews. It adored many gods, but particularly Jupiter, as the father of Hercules, the alleged founder of its ancient royal family. It had a celebrated amphitheater, where gladiatorial shows were exhibited for the amusement of the citizens, and a circus for public games .
The Via Egnatia was built beginning in 145 B.C. and at its greatest extent connected Byzantium with the Adriatic ports. This route was Rome's primary artery to the east The Egnatian Way made it easier for Rome to move troops throughout the empire and it was the route that Paul traveled on from Neapolis to Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica.
Thessalonica was located at the intersection of two major Roman roads, one leading from Italy eastward (Ignatia Way) and the other from the Danube to the Aegean.
1 st Thessalonians - Time
TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING: First Thessalonians is considered one of Paul's earliest epistles, if not the first. From the letter itself ( 3:1-6 ), and the record of Paul's travels in Acts ( Ac 17:10-18:11 ), it appears that Paul wrote this letter soon after arriving in Corinth on his second journey. This would put it somewhere around 52 A.D.
1 st Thessalonians - Purpose
Purpose in writing was:
To praise them for their steadfastness under persecution
To instruct them concerning holy living
To correct any misunderstanding, especially about the second coming of Christ
This book is unique in that every chapter ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ ( 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:23 ). With an emphasis on steadfastness and holy living.
1 st Thessalonians INTRODUCTION (1:1-4)
Salutation ( 1 ) Thanksgiving for their faith, hope, and love ( 2-4 )
Paul’s Personal Reflections (1:5-3:13)
. THEIR CONDITION (1:5-10)
1. Their reception of the gospel ( 1:5-7 )
2. Their reputation in every place ( 1:8-10 )
. HIS CONDUCT (2:1-12)
1. The manner of his preaching ( 2:1-8 )
2. The manner of his life ( 2:9-12 )
. HIS CONCERN (2:13-3:13)
1. For their faithfulness ( 2:13-3:10 )
2. For their continued growth ( 3:11-13 )
1 Thess Ch 2
CONDUCT - Paul reminded them of his and his fellow laborer conduct when they first preached the gospel at Thessalonica; 1Th_2:1-12 .
Relates to their problems - That he and his fellow-laborers had been mistreated at Philippi, and had encountered opposition at Thessalonica; 1Th_2:1-2 .
Used Truth - that in their efforts to convert the Thessalonians they had used no deceit, or corruption 1Th_2:3-4 .
Humility - that they had not sought the praise of people, and had not used the authority which they might have done as the apostles of Christ; 1Th_2:6 .
Gentleness - that they had been gentle and mild in all their conversation with them; 1Th_2:7-8 .
In order not to be burdensome, they had supported themselves by laboring night and day; 1Th_2:9 .
Holiness - that the Thessalonians themselves were witnesses in what a holy and pure manner they had lived when there, and how they had exhorted them to a holy life; 1Th_2:10-12 .
1 Thess Ch 2
The apostle refers to the manner in which the Thessalonians had received the truth at first, as the word of God, and not words of people; 1Th_2:13 .
He reminds them of the fact that they had met with the same opposition from the Jews everywhere. 1Th_2:14-16 .
Conclusion of the chapter, Paul wants to visit them, and explains why he had not done it. He has an earnest and sincere wish was that he might be permitted to see them - for they were his hope, and joy, and crown; 1Th_2:17-20 .
Thess Ch 3
Paul continues to re-assure them that he wants to return but has been prevented by enemies (Satan).
He had sent Timothy to them at great personal inconvenience, when he could not go himself: 1Th_3:1-5 .
he had been greatly comforted by the report which Timothy had brought of their steadfastness in the faith; 1Th_3:6-8 . Their faith and love had been to him in his trials the source of great consolation. His very life depended, on their staying faithful, and he says he should live and be happy if they stood firm in the Lord; 1Th_3:8 .
he expresses again the strong desire which he had to see them; says that it had been to him the focus of unceasing prayer night and day, and petitions God again now that he would be pleased to got to them again; 1Th_3:9-11 .
as a proof of affection, the chapter is closed with a passionate prayer that God would cause them to abound more and more in love, and would establish their hearts without blame before him; 1Th_3:12-13 .
II. APOSTOLIC INSTRUCTIONS (4:1-5:28)
. HOLINESS (4:1-8)
1. To please God ( 4:1-2 )
2. To abstain from sexual immorality ( 4:3-8 )
. LOVE (4:9-10)
1. As they are taught by God to love one another ( 4:9 )
2. To increase more and more ( 4:10 )
. DILIGENCE (4:11-12)
1. To work with their hands ( 4:11 )
2. To walk properly toward those who are outside ( 4:12 )
. HOPE (4:13-18)
1. With no sorrow concerning those who have died ( 4:13-14 )
2. For we will be rejoined with them when Christ returns ( 4: 15-18 )
. LIGHT (5:1-11)
1. For the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ( 5: 1-4 )
2. For we are sons of light and sons of the day ( 5:5-8 )
3. For God has appointed us to salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ ( 5:9-11 )
. OBEDIENCE (5:12-22)
1. With respect toward those over us ( 5:12-13 )
2. With concern for one another ( 5:14-15 )
3. With joy, prayer and thanksgiving ( 5:16-18 )
4. Don't quench the Spirit or despise prophecies, but don't be gullible either ( 5:19-22 )
1 st Thessalonians CONCLUDING REMARKS (5:23-28)
. A prayer for their sanctification and preservation ( 5:23-24 )
. A request for prayer in his behalf ( 5:25 )
. A charge to greet one another with a holy kiss, and to read the epistle to others ( 5:26-27 )
. A benediction of grace from the Lord Jesus Christ ( 5:28 )
Significant Words – Alive = zaō
A primary verb; to live (literally or figuratively): - life (-time), (a-) live (-ly), quick.
1Th 3:8 for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
Significant Words – Caught Up = harpazō
From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): - catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
1Th 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.