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Strolling Through the Book of First Thessalonians April 5, 2013

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the First Epistle to the Thessalonians with the aid of a commentary by John Calvin. I should note that I’ve previously read through 1 Thessalonians. As in my recent stroll through the book of Galatians, I hope to comprehend 1 Thessalonians as a whole. In particular, I would like to know why this letter is regarded as one of Paul’s (relatively) cheerful epistles.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Calvin’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on 1 Thessalonians 1:1.

Summary: In this passage, Paul associates Silas and Timothy with himself as the authors of the letter; he wishes God’s unmerited favor – and its attendant blessings – on the Thessalonians, as they constitute a true and lawful church.

Thoughts: Paul’s greeting to the Thessalonians is quite interesting; Calvin offers some insights on this point:

The brevity of the inscription clearly shows that Paul’s teaching had been received with reverence among the Thessalonians, and that without controversy they all rendered to him the honor that he deserved. For when in other letters he designated himself an apostle, he did so for the purpose of claiming for himself authority.

Having just completed a stroll through Galatians, it is evident that this stroll through 1 Thessalonians will be relatively mild. While Paul used strong rhetoric to battle the false teachers who attempted to foist circumcision on the Galatians in his letter to them, I assume that this letter will have few, if any, sharp words. One can only speculate on the joy that Paul experienced while writing this letter – knowing that the Thessalonians accepted his teaching. This also leads the reader to compare the Galatians and the Thessalonians; perhaps it is appropriate to consider the Parable of the Sower in this case.

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