Thessalonica was the proud capital of the Roman province of Macedonia and had a population of over 100,000. Its natural harbour and placement on the busy east-west Egnatian Way as well as key north-south trade routes meant that it was a flourishing centre of trade and philosophy. It was a free city and was governed by local officials called politarchs.
Religiously, the city was committed to the Greco-Roman pantheon and the imperial cult; Egyptian cults were also prominent. There was a sizable population of Jews in Thessalonica.
Paul, Timothy and Silas preached in the Thessalonian synagogue over three Sabbaths, and a number of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles believed. First Thessalonians 1:9–10 suggests that Paul subsequently spent some weeks ministering fruitfully to pagan Gentiles. However, rioters instigated by Jewish opponents dragged Jason, Paul’s host, and some other Christians before the politarchs and charged them with sedition against Caesar, forcing the missionaries to leave Thessalonica prematurely.
Paul was concerned for the new Christians, and therefore a few months later he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica. Catching up with Paul in Corinth, Timothy updated him on the Thessalonian church.
Most scholars today date 1 Thessalonians to AD49–51, early in Paul’s 18-month stay in Corinth during his second missionary journey.
The most prominent theme in 1 Thessalonians is the second coming of Jesus. It is mentioned in every chapter of the book. At Jesus’ future coming, the dead in Christ will rise and will be caught up along with the living to meet the Lord in the air. Unbelievers will be subject to his wrath, but Christians will be delivered from this, inheriting salvation instead.
|Introduction||Watch||12 June 14|
|Chapter One||Watch||14 June 14|
|Chapter Two||Watch||21 June 14|
|Chapter Three||Watch||23 June 14|
|Chapter Four||Watch||27 June 14|
|Chapter Five||Watch||02 July 14|
|Summary||Watch||03 December 15|