THE BOOK OF 1 THESSALONIANS
Chapter 1:1, Salutation

The Study

 

J. Deering, AncientPath.net

 


1 THESSALONIANS
Chapter 1, Verse 1


1:1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

PAUL AND SILVANUS AND TIMOTHY,

1.     Who is Paul?
A.     Jesus' hand picked apostle and missionary to the Gentiles

2.     When is this written - (these three are together)
A.     circa 51 A.D. (end of 2nd Missionary Journey of Paul, Silas and Timothy)

3.     Where is Paul at this time
A.     Corinth, Macedonia

4.     Who is Silvanus, by what other name is he known by
A.     Silas (Aramaic name for Paul) and is a contraction of the name Sylvanus, a Roman citizen, a Hellenistic Jew from Jerusalem, traveled with Paul on the 2nd missionary journey, and was beaten and imprisoned with Paul in Philippi

5.     Why is he with Paul
A.     He was chosen by Paul to accompany the 2nd missionary journey upon the separation of Barnabas

6.     Who is Timothy
A.     His father a Greek, his mother a Jew. Trained by his mother and grandmother and was converted to Christianity by Paul, probably in Lystra. He was a young and faithful companion of Paul's on the second missionary journey and stayed behind at Philippi to help the young church there grow.

7.     Why is he with Paul
A.     One of a number of companions of Paul on the 2nd missionary journey which included the city of Corinth

8.     What else do you know about Timothy
A.    Timothy became a very active young Pastor and Paul wrote at least two letters directly to Timothy that became scripture.

9.     Who is the writing of 1 Thessalonians attributed to
A.     Paul (Silvanus and Timothy are also listed but they are companions but not co-authors)

10.    Why is Paul writing on this occasion
A.     1. Express thankfulness to the Church at Thessalonica
        2. Present a campaign against slander toward his ministry (that he preached for profit)
        3. Encourage new believers to stand against persecution
        4. Answers specific questions as to the death of Christians before Christ's return
        5. Bring correction to some church related problems

11.    Why include Silvanus and Timothy
A.     They were fellow laborers on the 2nd missionary journey (including Luke) who had first visited Thessalonica early in that missionary journey


TO THE CHURCH OF THE THESSALONIANS

1.     Where is the letter addressed
A.     Thessalonica, Macedonia

2.     To whom is the letter addressed
A.     To the Church "assembly" at Thessalonica, Macedonia

3.     Where is Thessalonica
A.     Northeast Macedonia, between Berea and Philippi

4.     What are the characteristics of the city
A.     On the Egnatia Road between Rome and the middle east, a substantial Jewish presence and synagogue were there

5.     The Greek word used for "church" here is ekklasia (ek-lay-see-a), what does it mean
A.     Unger: a term in use among the Greeks from the time of Thucydides for an assemblage of the people for the purpose of deliberating.


IN GOD THE FATHER

1.     Who is this
A.     The first member of the Trinity, God presenting Himself as Father in a family relationship

2.     Why mention Him
A.     It is Paul's purpose to Identify himself with the God whom He and his audience believes upon

3.     Why God the Father
A.     I has been important from the very first words of scripture that Elohim, I AM, wishes to be known to humanity as being the Father, head of the household, leader of the family, etc., in His revelation to us.

4.     In what manner is He "Father"
A.     His place in the Trinity (Godhead) is best communicated to men and women as a "father" object. There could have been may ways He could reveal Himself, but He chose "Father" and all that represents when understood in a "perfect" way - not the bad father, but the good father.

5.     Comment on "IN," being "In the sphere of"
A.     The word "In" is a preposition and prepositions are words of "place." "In" communicates the place of being "in" something, inside, within. Therefore we should visualize the meaning of this word as being INSIDE a relationship as opposed to being OUTSIDE. The thing or relationship that one "In" is best described as a "sphere of relationship or operation."

5.     Who is "in God the Father" here
A.     The First member of the Trinity

6.     What does it mean to be "in" God the Father
A.     We are IN the sphere of relationship with God the Father. Like being IN the INNER circle of another person.

7.     What does it mean to be "IN God the Father"
A.     Paul is making certain that the sphere of relationship that we have with this named person is the very person of God, known as the Father. We are not in this kind of relationship with any other if we belong to Him

8.     Comment on Philippians 3:20-21,  "Citizenship in Heaven" VS "In God the Father"
A.     Since we just finished Philippians we should remember that Paul reminds us that we are "citizens of Heaven," therefore since God rules (owns!) heaven we are citizens of His and no longer citizens of this world


AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:

1.     What does the word "and" mean
A.     And is a connective word and ties two things (or more) together.

2.     Why does Paul include "The Lord Jesus Christ"
A.     Paul is reminding us that Jesus Christ, the Lord, is God as the Father is God. Some theologians even say that Paul is making a statement about the equality of Jesus and the Father.

3.     What is a Lord
A.     1. In Hebrew, when it appears to replace the tetragramation (yahweh) it is the word that is substituted for the very name of God, and is a proper name.
        2. In Hebrew, when it appears to replace the word Adon it is the word that denotes ownership. It is the equivalent of governor (in this sense).
        3. In Hebrew, when it appears as Adoni, it is the manner in which men and women address God.
        4. In Greek, it is a person to whom things (or persons) belong to. It is also a title of Honor (teacher, master), Undoubtedly the word does not indicate possession of a tyrant but of a father. 

4.     What is meant by "The Lord"
A.     Paul has already introduced Almighty God as Father, and now Jesus as Lord - in reference to The Lord God of the Old testament as in 3.1 above. It is His Name and Title.

5.     In what manner is He Lord
A.     Explore your own Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the Doctrine of God, then search your heart. Lordship issues are "hot items" these days because some nationally known bible teachers have made it so. As I have said, search your heart while comparing God's Grace, Salvation, and Care towards the believer.

6.     Who is "The Lord Jesus Christ"
A.     Holy second person of the Trinity, who became man in order to provide salvation for those who would believe.

7.     What is the significance of the word order in "Jesus Christ"
A.     When Jesus appears first in word order the weight of meaning should be upon His humanity first and then His deity. When Christ appears first in word order then the weight of meaning should be upon his Deity first (His office) and then His humanity.

8.     Why state, "The Father," and "The Lord"
A.     Titles are important in understanding what places and positions individuals stand in. If we did not know God as Father then we would not look to Him in that relationship. If we did not know Jesus as "The Lord

9.     What does it mean to be "IN" The Lord Jesus Christ
A.     Similar to being "In the Father," Paul reminds us that we are IN a state of relationship with Jesus Christ. That state is known as "believing by faith," resulting in Justification, gaining the reckoning of Righteousness, and the position of Salvation - all because of the finished work of Christ. We are IN HIM. Further there are the benefits and responsibilities of being IN the SPHERE of Jesus Christ.

10.    What does the colon indicate
A.     That which follows is going to be a list (items separated by commas and/or the word "and") or that which follows will be in "Apposition" to that which came before it. In this case that which follows the colon is a short 2 item list: grace and peace.


GRACE AND PEACE.

1.     Define grace
A.     One of the best acrostics for the word "grace" is "God's Riches at Christ's Expense." However this doesn't really cover the grace of God and is certainly only a way of looking at God's grace from a narrow Christian viewpoint. Here is a Statement by Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology VII, p. 178, "Grace is what God may be free to do, and indeed what he does, accordingly, for the lost after Christ has died on behalf of them." God is graceful and all His character demonstrates that grace. Calling upon Christ to suffer and die on behalf of the World is the culmination of God's graceful disposition.

2.     Why extend "grace" toward the Thessalonian assembly
A.     It is the wishes and prayers of Paul and his companions that the beloved Thessalonians share in the Grace of God. It is the grace of God that will bring them to maturity and deliver them faultless before the Father in the Heavenlies.

3.     Define peace
A.     While the Thessalonians were in a culture of persecution against this new Christian movement and being at peace with their opposers would be a blessing to them - it is not the message which Paul brings. Peace for Paul is the richness and fullness of Peace with God which is far better than any earthly peace. Peace is the RESTORED relations of harmony with God, and in the context of the believer, the continuing restored relations of harmony with God. The Thessalonians were in need of growth in this kind of harmony.

4.     How does the grace of God toward His children differ from ordinary grace
A.     The term "general grace" is most often used in relation to the world. God, because He is graceful, sheds grace freely to all (unbelievers and believers) - according to His will. The term "specific, or special grace" is used only of God's graceful relationship to His family members. The believer is under the "specific, or special grace" of God. The way He deals with His family is far superior - even to the granting of justification and righteousness, based upon simple faith.

5.     How does the peace of God differ from ordinary peace
A.     Ordinary peace is a temporal experience. It is the absence of war. It applies to the relationships between man and man. The peace of God is a different matter. The peace of God comes only after attaining "Peace with God," and that only through faith in the Son of God and His works for our peace.

6.     Why extend "peace" toward the Thessalonian assembly (context of the Thessalonians)
A.     The book will bring out that the Thessalonians were lacking "peace" in the matters of "What happens to our deceased loved ones when Christ returns?" Paul is introducing the subject to them at this time.

7.     Is this salutation unusual or customary
A.     The form of the salutation is customary in that for the time and culture letters began with a salutation that praised the receiver. However, this salutation is also unusual for the times and culture in that it specifically brings forth God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.


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