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Saint Paul

THE WRITERS:

This letter is from Paul, Silas and Timothy. From these three, the apostle Paul was the main author. We do not know how much of the letter Silas and Timothy wrote, but all three of them were in agreement with what the letter contains.

TIME OF WRITING:

This letter may be the earliest of the letters of Paul that we have. Paul and his friends wrote it between AD 50 and AD 53. That is about twenty years after Jesus rose into eternal life.

Paul was on his second main journey in which he spread the good news about Jesus. He and his friends were in the city of Corinth when they wrote the letter. We can be sure of this, and about the date, from the letter and the book of Acts.

  • Paul had to leave Thessalonica and went to the city of Beroea. From there he went to the city of Athens (Acts 17). From Athens he went to Corinth (Acts 18:1). Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia and were with Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1-5). Then Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to see what was happening with that church (1 Thessalonians 3-5). They wrote this letter soon after Timothy had come back to join Paul and Silas in Corinth (1 Thessalonians 3:6).
  • Silas and Timothy were with Paul when they wrote the letter (1 Thessalonians 1:1). Only Silas accompanied Paul on his second journey. So, we know that they wrote the letter during that journey.
  • The ruler in Corinth during that time was a man called Gallio. The Jews there, who were against Paul, brought him in front of Gallio (Acts 18:12-17). They accused him of breaking the law. Gallio was ruler for one or two years, and that was between AD 51 and AD 53. As Paul was in Corinth for about 18 months, the date of the letter must have been between AD 50 and AD 53.

PURPOSE OF THE LETTER:

Timothy came back to Corinth with news about the church at Thessalonica. He told Paul and Silas that the church was strong but there was much persecution. Some people were saying bad things about Paul and his friends. These people claimed that Paul’s teachings were false. Then the Christian had many questions and were in need of more teaching. So the purpose of the letter included:

  • To express the joy that the writers felt and to give thanks to God for the good news that Timothy brought.
  • To tell the Thessalonians how much they loved them and to tell them they cared about them. The writers wanted to encourage them as they tried to live for the Lord Jesus
  • To answer the false things that the Jews and other people had said about Paul and his friends. These people said that Paul had come to make a profit from those who believed his message. They said that the message was not from God, but that Paul had made it up. They said that the fact that Paul had not come back showed that he really did not care for the Christians.
  • There were some more questions about the Christian who had died. They wanted to know what would happen to those Christians when Jesus came to earth again. And so the authors wrote about this (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and then taught some more about the return of the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
  • To teach those who trust in God, that they must not be guilty in matters to do with sex (1 Thessalonians 4:4-8). Such sins were common in the city in which they lived.

Understanding the value of the letter, we can surmise what is going on. Without getting into the whole letter, so let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13:

“For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaim to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner  worthy of God who calls you into His kingdom and glory. For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 NASB)

 

 

So what is the Message here?

  • I think it’s not so much as what Paul is saying, but why
    • This is what is known as Apostolic Ministry

Remember, Paul went to Thessalonica to teach the gentiles, (non-Jews) the gospel of God. When Paul and his friends left, the gentiles were persecuted. The Jews even bad mouthed Paul and his friends. What Paul and his friends did in Thessalonica was a good example of Apostolic Ministry. An Apostle teaches others, (believers and non-believers alike) to become disciples by their own works and by spreading the gospel of God by living a life of holiness.

 

 

How can we apply this Letter to ourselves?

  • We learn from the letter that Paul follows up with his teachings, almost mentors the gentiles to salvation.
    • We need to follow up with those we teach, to help them achieve holiness

How can you be an Apostle?

 

  • I can be an apostle by teaching people I meet how to live in Christ.
    •  I can be an apostle by sharing the gospel of God.
      • I can be an apostle by example, living my life in Christ.

 

There are accompanying articles I used in my Study. Are There Apostles Today, and Apostolic Succession. Please contact me if you wish an Emailed Copy of these articles. Thanks  

Paul Tanner

Paul@thecatholicword.com

 

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