1 Thessalonians 1:1

In 1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul begins his letter to the church at Thessalonica. G. Campbell Morgan explains “This letter is full of interest because it is certainly among the first of those which have been preserved for us from the pen of Paul. It was the first he wrote to European Christians, and in it the fundamental things of the Christian life are very clearly set forth.” One thing we know about Paul is that he usually did not do ministry alone, but worked with a team. That is the case as he begins his letter. “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.”

Guzik gives us their pedigrees this way: “Silvanus (also known as Silas) was a long and experienced companion of Paul. He traveled with Paul on his second missionary journey and was imprisoned and set free with Paul in the Philippian jail. When Paul first came to Thessalonica, Silas came with him. Timothy was a resident of Lystra, a city in the province of Galatia. He was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother named Eunice. From his youth learned the Scriptures from his mother and grandmother. Timothy was a trusted companion and associate of Paul, and he accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journeys. Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians on a previous occasion.” There were trusted and close ministry partners to Paul.

Remember that Paul himself founded the church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9). Thessalonica was the prosperous capital of the province of Macedonia (northern Greece), located on the famous Egnatian Way. Paul was only in the city a short time (actually three successful weekend of ministry) because he was forced out by enemies of the Gospel or basically a Thessalonican mob. Yet the church of the Thessalonians continued to be alive and active. Though Paul had to suddenly leave this young church, his deep concern for them prompted this letter.

Guzik further explains “While in Corinth, it is likely that Paul was greatly concerned about the churches he had just founded, and he wondered about their state. While at Corinth, Silas and Timothy came to him from Thessalonica with great news: the church there was strong. Paul became so excited that he dashed off this letter to the Thessalonians, probably his first letter to any church. He wrote it just a few months after he had first established the church in Thessalonica. Paul thought it important, (even essential) to organize these young converts in the Thessalonian church into a community of mutual interest, care, and fellowship.”  That is the purpose of the Body of Christ. When a church does that, it can survive and thrive!

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