1 Thess 1:1 – Greeting

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1 Thess 1:1

  1. Paul (c. 5 AD – c. 67 AD) was a Benjamite (Rom. 11:1) from the Greek city of Tarsus (Acts 21:39).
    1. The Roman name “Paul” means “the little one” and his former Hebrew name “Saul” means “in demand”.
    1. Initially called “Saul”, Paul was a strict Pharisee who persecuted Christians in their zeal for God (Acts 22:4).
    1. On the road to Damascus, Saul met Jesus (Acts 9) and then became an apostle missionary to the Gentiles (Gal 2:8).
    1. Paul made three missionary journeys, wrote (at least) 13 letters and was martyred in Rome.
  2. Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians on his second missionary journey, around the year 52, making it probably the first in the New Testament.
  3. Although Paul was a hard worker, he was not a lone worker. Paul always wanted a team around him.
    1. Jesus sent out the disciples two by two (Mark 6:7).
    1. In the same way, Christian workers today should work together with others.
  4. Silvanus is the Roman variant of the name “Silas”.
    1. Silvanus was one of Paul’s closest associates on Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 15:40) and accompanied Paul to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9).
    1. Silvanus is also mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament (1 Peter 5:12, 2 Corinthians 1:19).
  5. Timothy was a young man whom Paul had led to faith in Jesus during his first missionary journey (1 Tim 1:2).
    1. The name “Timothy” means “honour God” or “honoured by God”, a name he probably got because his mother and grandmother were believers (2 Tim 1:5).
    1. Timothy’s father was Greek (Acts 16:3) and his mother was Jewish.
    1. Timothy was probably Paul’s closest and most trusted associate. Paul wrote six letters together with Timothy and sent two to him.
  6. In short, the church is the collection of people who believe in Jesus. God has called believers out of the world, born them anew, and then sent them back into the world to bear witness to Jesus.
    1. Thessalonica was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia.
    1. It was Paul himself who had founded the church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9) but had to leave in a hurry because of unrest (Acts 17:10).
  7. Here Paul links the two words commonly used to refer to God: “God” and “Lord”, thus showing the unity of the Father and the Son (John 10:30).
  8. It was common in New Testament times to begin letters with similar greetings.
  9. It is no coincidence that Paul writes “grace” before “peace”. For it is God’s grace that gives man peace. If man has received grace and forgiveness from his old sins, he can look forward to a life of peace.
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