Comments on 1st Thessalonians
Corinth A.D. 51
Paul (with Silas, Timothy, and Luke) visited the capital city of the Roman province of Macedonia on his second missionary journey. After spending three weeks preaching at the synagogue, he established a church there with some Jewish and many Greek converts. Paul was forced to leave the city by a riotous mob incited by jealous local Jewish leaders (Acts 17:1-10). Rejoined by Timothy in Corinth, he hears of the continued great faith, love and hope of the Thessalonian believers in spite of local opposition (1 Thes 1:3). His letter encourages them to continue to be the model of Christianity they had become in expectation of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Chapters 1-3 Continue to Live for the Lord
Seeing the evidence of their election by God, Paul encourages the Thessalonian believers to continue their godly living in anticipation of Christ’s return by reciting their joyous reception of the word he preached to them, and their witness of the word to others. They should continue to model their faith by imitating the good example Paul set forth when he was among them.
Chapter 4:1-12 Continue to Please God with Certain Behavior
Paul instructs them in specific godly living in anticipation of Christ’s return. Their reputation is good, but Paul encourages them to live to please God even more by separating from moral impurity (4:3-8), by loving one another even more (4:9-10), and even though Christ’s return in imminent, by continuing to live quiet, responsible, and productive lives (4:11-12).
Chapters 4:13 - 5:28 Continue to be Hopeful for the Future Reunion
Paul encourages the Thessalonian believers by explaining that they should not be concerned for those who have died before Christ’s return, for upon the command, the dead believers shall rise first, to be united in the clouds with believers still living, who together meet Christ in the air (4:13-18). They are reminded that unbelievers remain behind to suffer the day of God’s wrath (5:1-10). They are to encourage others with these words of comfort, living in expectation of that moment (5:11-28).
Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 3:13
“So that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”