Brief Studies in I Thessalonians (Introduction / Chapter 1)

I. Introduction to the Thessalonians

A.   The City – Established into Roman Authority 168 BC during the battle of Pydna
Thessalonica lost its independence and became the capital of the second division of four in Macedonia. In 49 and 48 BC there was a civil war. In this civil war the city sided against Julius Caesar. They became one of Pompey’s main bases. Then in 42 BC the city aligned with Marc Antony and Augustus Caesar , and because of the victorious alliance they became a free city.

B.  The City – Major center for import-export business
Located on the Egnatian highway (connecting Rome with all the area north of the Aegean Sea) and being a port and capital city for the area of the Adriatic and Black Seas they see many travelers giving the preaching of the Gospel a great stage for people to "take the message home". Today the city is known as Salonika. 

C.  The Church – Established on Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey with Silas and Timothy @ 49-52 AD
KJV Acts 17:1-13

    1. Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 

    2. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

    3. Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

    4. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. {Some Jews believed, many Gentiles, and many women of great importance – a mixed congregation}

    5. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 

    6. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;

    7. Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

    8. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.

    9. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

    10. And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

    11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    12. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

    13. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

D.   Purpose of the First Letter
The edification (lifting up) Paul offers in chapters 1-3, is followed by chapters 4-5 when he has to correct a false view that this Church was taking over the second coming of our Lord.

II. Outline of the Book
I. Paul’s Commendation and Statement of Remembrance of them in prayer 1:1-4

II. Reflection of work done in Thessalonica 1:5 – 3:13
A. Their Reception of the Gospel 1:5-10
B. Detail of the work done 2:1-16
C. Paul’s desire to return 2:17-18
D. Paul’s joy in their work 2:19-20
E. Timothy’s mission 3:1-7
F. Paul’s satisfaction and sentiments for the Church there 3:8-13

III. Paul’s appeal for good Christian Living 4:1-12 and 5:12-22
A. General Exhortation 4:1-2
B. Sexual Purity 4:3-8
C. Loving brother’s in Christ 4:9-10
D. Work ethic 4:11-2
E. To respect those in spiritual authority 5:12-13
F. Warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded, and support weak 5:14
G. A charge to do no evil 5:15
H. A charge to rejoice, pray and be thankful 5:16-18
I. Let the word live, prove all things, abstain from evil faithful 5:19-24

IV. Instruction on the Second Coming 4:13 – 5:11
V. Conclusion 5:23-28

III. Chapter 1

Verse 1 – Paul – Silas – Timothy greetings to the Church at Thessalonica "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Verse 2 – Paul let’s them know that they pray about them frequently "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers."

Verse 3 – This Church was one whom worked in faith, hope, and love. "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" These three components are what Paul told the Church at Corinth would last – outlasting spiritual gifts –(I Corinthians 13:13) "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

Verse 4 – They chose to serve God. "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."

Verse 5 – The Gospel was not only preached, but also confirmed by the Holy Spirit. "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." Note: (I Corinthians 2:4-5) "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power:

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

Verse 6 – This Church followed the **approved example of the Apostles. The time in which they received the word, and of course the affliction they would face in persecutions just being Christians is evident in what we read in Acts 17. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: **The example of the Apostles is one that is follow – able (Philippians 3:17)

"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." All following the example of Christ. (1 Peter 2:21) "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"

Verse 7 & 8 – They were letting their lights shine in that they were a pattern for those in the area to follow. "So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia." "8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing."

Verse 9 – Obviously they had a past of serving idols. Yet, they realized the *MUST of repentance* which is a change. "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;" (Acts 26:20) " But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."

Verse 10 – A hint to the correction that will be taking place as we read this letter – the second coming of Christ. 
"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

IV. Review of Chapter One and some analyzing thoughts

1. Paul wrote and encouraged them. Encouragement is a MUST! 
(Ephesians 4:15-16)

    15. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

2.  We see in this and all epistles how we must be concerned with our brethren around us being right. 
John summed up this point well:

(I John2:1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

3. The things we start, the lessons we teach others, we must go back to and make sure that the seeds have not be damaged. Speaking only truth.

Copyright 2001 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

Copyright 2000 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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