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New Testament Notes
The First Epistle to the Thessalonians
The following notes are intended to supplement, not replace, the readings from the Bible and the text book.
Comments or questions should be sent to: Dr. Rollinson.
Thessalonica (now called Thessaloniki) is situated on the coast of Macedonia, to the north of Greece. It was founded in 316 BC by one of Alexander the Great's generals, who married Alexander's half-sister Thessalonikeia and named the city in her honor. Macedonia was taken over by the Romans in 146 BC, and was made a Roman province with Thessalonica as its capital. The city was on the main Roman road to the East, the Egnatian Way, and became one of the major cities on that road. Archaeological work in Thessalonica shows that not only were there temples to many Roman gods and goddesses (and even to Julius Caesar and to Augustus), but also to some of the Egyptian and other eastern gods and goddesses, as well as Jewish and Samaritan synagogues.
Paul and his companions came to Thessalonica after having been imprisoned in Philippi, but opposition by the non-believing Jews drove them out after several weeks (Acts 17:1-10). Again, Paul traveled through Macedonia, including Philippi, on his third missionary journey (Acts 20:1-6)
Paul probably wrote the first letter to the Thessalonians while he was at Athens, ca. AD 50 (I Thess. 3:1)- the earliest of any of the books of the New Testament. The Epistle names Timothy and Silvanus as co-authors with Paul - Paul had sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to see how the Christians were doing, and Timothy had returned with news that they were confused about what happened to people who died before Christ returned at the end of time.
- I Thessalonians 1:1-3 : Greetings and Thanksgiving
- I Thessalonians 1:4 - 2:20 : Paul's ministry and teaching at Thessalonica.
- I Thessalonians, chapter 3 : Timothy's mission.
- I Thessalonians, chapter 4:1 - 5:24 : Exhortation to a holy life.
- I Thessalonians 5:25-28 : Farewell greetings.
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Last Updated : July 12, 2014