Author: Paul, with Silvanus and Timothy
Audience: Christians in Thessalonica
Subjects/Main Teachings: Continue to serve the living and true God, The will of God is for us to be holy, God didn't call us to impurity but holiness, Whoever rejects that God calls us to be holy is rejecting God, Jesus will come like a thief in the night, etc.
Paul introduces himself along with Silvanus and Timothy.
He expresses his gratitude for the faith of the Thessalonian Christians, recounting how they came to believe through the word and power of God. He notes how they turned from worshiping idols to "serve a living and true God." (1 Thessalonians 1:9)
Paul reminds his audience how he was mistreated in Philippi (by non-believers, since Philippians is a letter of mostly praise and thanksgiving to the Christians in Philippi), yet he was encouraged by God to proclaim the gospel to them.
When Paul speaks to the Thessalonians, he is referring to himself and those who were proclaiming the gospel with him when he says "we."
Paul also reminds them that he did not proclaim the gospel with wrong or selfish intentions. Instead, they were cared for as if they were children.
Paul continues to remind them how he and his associates worked while they were with the Thessalonians, so that they did not burden them financially while they were teaching about Christ.
He summarizes by saying, "You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers." (1 Thessalonians 2:10) Paul tells them that he has hoped to visit them, but has been unable to visit.
Paul then recalls how he sent Timothy to them to encourage them and to get a report as to how they are doing. He explains that it is because of persecutions that he was concerned, and he reminds them that he told them beforehand that persecution would happen.
Paul then says that Timothy has returned with a good report on their well-being and faith, which is encouraging for him. He writes a prayer and tells them, "may [Jesus] so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints." (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
Paul reminds his audience of the teachings they were given, saying, "you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing)" (1 Thessalonians 4:1) and "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness..." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
Paul reminds them of other teachings as well, including to love each other, not wronging anyone.
He reminds them, "For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness." (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Paul is very bluntly saying to not sin, and to be righteous. Paul says that "whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God." (1 Thessalonians 4:8)
Paul also encourages his audience regarding those who have been killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, saying that we will one day be raised from the dead to be with Jesus.
Paul then reminds them that Jesus "will come like a thief in the night." (1 Thessalonians 5:2; also see 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 16:15, Matthew 24:43-44)
He uses the metaphor of keeping awake vs being asleep in reference to being righteous vs sinning. (Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:43-48; Ephesians 5:10-18; Revelation 16:15)
Paul also uses the metaphor of the armor of God (also in Ephesians 6). The point Paul is making is not the actual armor, but the qualities themselves.
Paul gives some final instructions to conclude his letter.
Paul writes to the Thessalonian Christians, telling them that he had sent Timothy because we was worried about them due to persecutions. He informs them that Timothy has returned with a good report about their faith, despite the persecutions. Paul also says that he had warned them about persecutions and sufferings that would come.
He reminds them that he was not a burden to them, saying, "You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers." (1 Thessalonians 2:10)
He also reminds them that, "For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God." (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)
And he says Jesus "will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2), so they need to not worry about the times, but instead they need to be ready by being holy as he says in 1 Thessalonians 4.
The main teachings that Paul covers in 1 Thessalonians are: Continue to serve the living and true God, The will of God is for us to be holy, God didn't call us to impurity but holiness, Whoever rejects that God calls us to be holy is rejecting God, Jesus will come like a thief in the night, etc.
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