Smith's Bible Dictionary: First Thessalonians

was written by the apostle Paul at Corinth, a few months after he had founded the church at Thessalonica, at the close of the year A.D. 62 or the beginning of 63. The Epistles to the Thessalonians, then (for the second followed the first after no long interval), are the earliest of St. Paulís writings --perhaps the earliest written records of Christianity. It is interesting, therefore, to compare the Thessalonian epistles with the later letters, and to note the points of These differences are mainly

 

  1. In the general style of these earlier letters there is greater simplicity and less exuberance of language.

  2. The antagonism to St. Paul is not the same. Here the opposition comes from Jews. A period of five years changes the aspect of the controversy. The opponents of St. Paul are then no longer Jews so much as Judaizing Christians .

  3. Many of the distinctive doctrines of Christianity were yet not evolved and distinctly enunciated till the needs of the Church drew them out into prominence at a later date. It has often been observed, for instance, that there is in the Epistles to the Thessalonians no mention of the characteristic contrast of "faith and works;" that the word "justification" does not once occur; that the idea of dying with Christ and living with Christ, so frequent in St. Paulís later writings, is absent in these. In the Epistles to the Thessalonians, the gospel preached is that of the coming of Christ, rather than of the cross of Christ. The occasion of this epistle was as follows: St. Paul had twice attempted to re-visit Thessalonica, and both times had been disappointed. Thus prevented from seeing them in person, he had sent Timothy to inquire and report to him as to their condition. (1 Thessalonians 3:1-6) Timothy returned with more favorable tidings, reporting not only their progress in Christian faith and practice, but also their strong attachment to their old teacher. (1 Thessalonians 3:6-10) The First Epistle to the Thessalonians is the outpouring of the apostleís gratitude on receiving this welcome news. At the same time there report of Timothy was not unmixed with alloy. There were certain features in the condition of the Thessalonian church which called for St. Paulís interference and to which he addresses himself in his letter.

  4. The very intensity of their Christian faith, dwelling too exclusively on the day of the Lordís coming, had been attended with evil consequences. On the other hand, a theoretical difficulty had been felt. Certain members of the church had died, and there was great anxiety lest they should be excluded from any share in the glories of the Lordís advent. ch. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

  5. The Thessalonians needed consolation and encouragement under persecution. ch. (1 Thessalonians 2:14; 3:2-4)

  6. An unhealthy state of feeling with regard to spiritual gifts was manifesting itself. ch. (1 Thessalonians 6:19,20)

  7. There was the danger of relapsing into their old heathen profligacy. ch. (1 Thessalonians 4:4-8) Yet notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the condition of the Thessalonian church was highly satisfactory, and the most cordial relations existed between St. Paul and his converts there. This honorable distinction it shares with the other great church of Macedonia, that of Philippi. The epistle is rather practical than doctrinal. The external evidence in favor of the genuineness of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians is chiefly negative, but this is important enough. There is no trace that it was ever disputed at any age or in any section of the Church, or even by any individual till the present century. Toward the close of the second century from Irenaeus downward. we find this epistle directly quoted and ascribed to Paul. The evidence derived from the character of the epistle itself is so strong that it may fairly be called irresistible.

 

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Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Thessaloínians, First Epistle to the,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". 1901.


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New Testament Books and Authors The Book of Matthew The Book of Mark The Book of Luke The Book of John The Book of Acts The Book of Romans The Book of 1 Corinthians The Book of 2 Corinthians The Book of Galatians The Book of Ephesians The Book of Philippians The Book of Colossians The Book of 1 Thessalonians The Book of 2 Thessalonians The Book of 1 Timothy The Book of 2 Timothy The Book of Titus The Book of Philemon The Book of Hebrews The Book of James The Book of 1 Peter The Book of 2 Peter The Book of 1 John The Book of 2 John The Book of 3 John The Book of Jude The Book of Revelation Books of the New Testament The New Testament

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb. 8:6 (The Book of Hebrews)

 

image\bible_persp9.gif The New Testament is the most wonderful book. It reveals how God has kept every promise that He made to the nation Israel and ultimately fulfilled His covenant with them in One Man, Jesus Christ. It contains an accurate account of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His history on earth, His Words, and His plan for all nations including Israel. It reveals how God used a single man, a Jew, who courageously went out to the farthest parts of the known world, to preach the gospel, and would eventually die for his faith in Jesus Christ. It reveals the end of the world, and how Jesus Christ would receive the kingdom that God had promised Him from the beginning.

 

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