The First Epistle to the Thessalonians
- Recipients, Author and Time of Writing
- Subject and purpose of writing
- Contents (overview)
Starting 146 BC, Thessalonica (today: Thessaloniki, Salonika) had been the capital of the Roman province Macedonia. The city was situated on the Via Egnatia, an important east-west-feeder road and additionally had a port in a bay of the Aegean Sea. In the Antiquity this city reportedly had more than 200,000 inhabitants. As in many cities of trade there was a Jewish community and a synagogue in Thessalonica.
When the Apostle Paul during his second journey (around 51 to 54 AC) with Silas and Timothy came from Philippi to Thessalonica he - as was his custom - first of all went to the synagogue and preached the gospel of the salvation in Christ to the Jews (Acts 17:1-4; compare 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Some of the Jews, a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and of the chief women not a few believed the message preached. But the Jews which believed not put the whole city in an uproar against the servants of Christ. Paul and Silas were immediately sent away and had to leave by night (Acts 17:5-10). Their stay had probably lasted three weeks only. During this short period the believers of Philippi had already sent unto the apostle's necessity (Phil. 4:16).
When Paul came to Berea the angry Jews of Thessalonica came to persecute him there also and he had to flee again. This time he left Silas and Timothy behind and continued to Athens on his own.
In his thoughts Paul often was with the believers in Thessalonica which he had to leave so abruptly and whom he wished to see again soon. 1 Thess. 2:18 tells us that Satan hindered them to go back to the Thessalonians. This is why Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to establish the assembly in her faith and to comfort her. Timothy probably accompanied the Apostle to Athens, as Paul had wished so, and from there returned to Thessalonica, again, as Paul wished (see Acts 17:15-16; 1 Thess. 3:1-5).
Paul himself travelled on to Corinth after his stay in Athens. There he later met with Timothy and Silas again (Acts 18:5; 1. Thess. 3:6). Timothy and Silas brought mostly good news from Thessalonica and Paul was inspired by the Holy Ghost to write the First Epistle to the Thessalonians. Based on the