AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF FIRST THESSALONIANS
Paul and his companions had to leave the city of Thessalonica hastily early in the summer of A.D. 50, after making a number of converts and planting a congregation there. Today, Salonica (Thessalonica) is the capitol of Greek Macedonia (Ac.17v1-20). Thessalonica was the first place where Paul's preaching achieved a numerous and socially-prominent following (Ac.17v4). Thessalonica remained a triumphant crown to his efforts (1Th.1v8).
The sudden departure of Paul and his companions from Thessalonica left the newly-founded congregation exposed to great persecution for which they were not prepared (see Ac.17v5-9). Paul simply did not have time to teach them adequately beforehand. At Paul's earliest opportunity, he sent Timothy back to see how the Thessalonian Christians were faring. When Timothy returned to Paul in Corinth (Ac.18v5), he brought good news about their steadfastness and zeal in propagating the Gospel, but reported that they had certain problems, some ethical (with special reference to sexual relations, see 1Th.4v4-7) and some eschatological. They were concerned that those who had died would be at a disadvantage, not being alive when the coming (GSN3952 - parousia) of the Lord would be realized. Consequently, Paul writes about the coming of the Lord as the result of this concern that existed among the Thessalonians. He wanted to assure them that those who had already died would not miss any of the glory that those who would be alive at the coming of the Lord (1Th.4v13-18) would experience.
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