1 Thessalonians

Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia (North of Greece). The Apostle Paul established a "church" (assembly of Christians) there during his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 17). Having arrived from Philippi, he first began preaching in the Jewish synagogue.

Some local people became Christians but the Jews stirred up trouble for Paul and his friends. Paul had to leave because there was a riot.

Paul was worried because he had not been with the Thessalonian believers long enough to see them really well established. Being so worried, he sent Timothy back to see how they were getting on.

Paul had arrived at Corinth when Timothy returned from Thessalonica with good news (3:6). The church at Thessalonica had not turned back to their old idol worship. They were enthusiastic and had been preaching in all the regions around (1:7-8). They were excited about Jesus coming back - an event they expected very soon.

The coming back to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the main teachings of the New Testament. It is mentioned more than 300 times in the 260 chapters! Paul makes many references to this teaching in the letter to the Thessalonians.

One thing bothered the believers. Supposing they died before Christ returned? Some had already died - what would happen about them?

Paul gives the answer in chapter 4:13-18. The dead believers will be raised from their graves first, at the coming of Jesus. They will be joined by the living believers and together they will meet Christ as he descends to earth. Afterwards, they will always be with Christ - on the earth, helping him to rule (Revelation 5:9-10).

Three vital things were needed then - and now! They are Faith, Hope and Love. They are mentioned several times in this letter.




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