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1 and 2 Thessalonians

Flight Plan:


In our fifty-fifth flight over the Bible from 30,000 Feet, Pastor Skip will take us on a tour over the books of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Both books are written as an encouragement to the church in Thessalonica, exhorting them in the word, warning them against pagan immorality, and urging them to remain steadfast in the truth of the Lord. The key chapters to review are 1 Thessalonians 1-5 and 2 Thessalonians 1-3.

Detailed Notes:

DESTINATION: 1 Thessalonians


The letter of First Thessalonians had several purposes behind it: (1) to encourage and confirm the new believers in the things of Christ; (2) to answer false charges made against Paul and his ministry; (3) to explain that the Christian dead would participate in the second coming of Christ; (4) to warn the Christians against pagan immorality; (5) to remind the church members to honor and follow their spiritual leaders; and (6) to warn believers who had given up their jobs and were idle because they thought Christ would soon return.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS:


c. 50 A.D.

Paul writes the letter of 1 Thessalonians, probably from Corinth


TRIP PLANNER:


The occasion of the writing was the return of Timothy from Macedonia, bearing tidings from Thessalonica regarding the state of the church there (Acts 18:1-5; 1 Thess. 3:6). While Timothy's report was mostly encouraging, it also showed that errors and misunderstandings about Paul's teaching had crept in. Paul addresses these things in this letter to correct the errors, and to exhort the Thessalonians to purity of life, reminding them that their sanctification was the great end desired by God.


Themes in 1 Thessalonians


1. The coming of Christ in the air for the church

2. The present age of grace

3. The Spirit's working in the church

4. Reminder of what Paul had taught


PLACES OF INTEREST:


Thessalonica - The capital of ancient Macedonia, and the site of an important church established by Paul.


Macedonia - The northern region of ancient Greece, as divided by the Romans.


Achaia - The southern region of ancient Greece.


PEOPLE OF INTEREST:


Paul - The apostle to the gentiles, and the author of nearly one-half of the books in the New Testament.


Timothy - A half-Greek, half-Jewish convert to Christianity who traveled with Paul on some of his missionary journeys.


Silvanus - A traveling companion of Paul who conveyed the letter of 1 Peter to the churches; may be the same person as Silas.


FUN FACTS:


Located on the great road (Via Egnatia) that connected Rome with the whole region north of the Aegean Sea, Thessalonica was an invaluable center for the spread of the gospel.


Thessalonica was the capital city of ancient Macedonia, and was nearly on the same level as Corinth and Ephesus as a center of commerce.


The remains of the ancient agora (marketplace) are visible in the center of modern Thessalonica.


 


DESTINATION: 2 Thessalonians


The epistle of Second Thessalonians was written because the persecutions against the church were getting worse and the people needed encouragement. The "idlers" in the church had not gone back to work. To make matters worse, the people were confused about the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation), thinking that they were already in it. It is possible that the church had received a counterfeit epistle, claiming to be from Paul and teaching that the Day of the Lord had already begun. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians to: (1) encourage the church to persevere in spite of testing; (2) explain the events leading up to the Day of the Lord; (3) warn the busybodies to get back to work. In 2 Thes. 3:17-18, Paul gives his personal "trademark" so that the people could easily detect any forged letters in the future.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS:


c. 50 A.D.

Paul writes 2 Thessalonians, probably from Corinth


TRIP PLANNER:


The occasion of the writing of this epistle was the arrival of tidings that the tenor of the first epistle had been misunderstood, especially with reference to the second advent of Christ. The Thessalonians had embraced the idea that Paul had taught that "the day of Christ was at hand", that Christ's coming was just about to happen. This error is corrected (2 Thess. 2:1-12), and the apostle prophetically announces what first must take place. "The apostasy" was first to arise. Various explanations of this expression have been given, but that which is most satisfactory refers it to the Church of Rome.


Themes in 2 Thessalonians


1. The coming of Christ to the earth with His church

2. The future day of the Lord

3. Satan's working in the world ("mystery of iniquity")

4. Correction of false teachings they had heard


 


PLACES OF INTEREST:


Thessalonica - The capital of ancient Macedonia, and the site of an important church established by Paul.


PEOPLE OF INTEREST:


Paul - The apostle to the gentiles, and the author of nearly one-half of the books in the New Testament.


Timothy - A half-Greek, half-Jewish convert to Christianity who traveled with Paul on some of his missionary journeys.


Silvanus - A traveling companion of Paul who conveyed the letter of 1 Peter to the churches; may be the same person as Silas.


FUN FACTS:


2 Thessalonians was written only a few months after 1 Thessalonians.


The city of Thessalonica was originally called Therma, because of some hot springs in the area.


The city was renamed Thessalonica about 300 years B.C., to honor the sister of Alexander the Great.