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Riddle 1Kelly RiddleProfessor JenningsPerspectives Section 17November 4, 2010Colloquium: 1 ThessaloniansThe First Letter of Paul to the Thessaloniansconveys a warm and friendly relationship between Paul and the Christians at Thessalonica, Greece. Written sometime between 41-51 CE, the three authors are Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, however; Paul is considered the leading writer of the letter. Throughout its entirety, the letter expresses words of encouragement and towards the Thessalonians for keeping alive their faith towards the Lord. Paul focuses on the mutual affection he and the Thessalonians have, and he urges them to continue believing. The text also reassures the people that the return of Christ is imminent. The text has several themes, but the main three sections of it include Paul’s thanksgiving and encouragement; past interactions with the church and Timothy’s visit; and information about the church and additional instruction on how to behave to the Thessalonians.True to his standard form, Paul’s letter begins with a salutation and thanksgiving. He, Silvanus and Timothy are continually giving thanks to the Thessalonians and mentioning them in their prayers (Fee 18). The first chapter of 1 Thessaloniansshows how happy and gracious Paul is to the people. He recalls that they turned to Christ in faith, served Him out of love, and endured troubles patiently because of the hope they had (Constable 13). By declaring this right away, Paul is able to not only state what the Thessalonians have done, but remind them “of their beginnings in order to strengthen their sense of identity” (Johnson 262). The continual praise of the Thessalonians is deserved, because they were “imitators of [the authors] and of the Lord” as stated
Riddle 2in 1:6. They are willing to suffer and receive insults from others just like the Lord and the apostles did (Ambrosiaster 102). Continuing on that thought, it is clear from 1:2-10 that God is pleased to “adopt them as children, at the same time helping them to put up with all suffering so that they might become worthier” (Ambrosiaster 101). This thanksgiving creates a solid introduction to the Thessalonians, and presents the fact that all good things come from God. Paul also compares the Thessalonians to other people from Macedonia and Archaia in 1:7, and in this comparison shows their worthiness. “This is high praise, for in the first place Paul calls no other church a pattern, and in the second he thinks of them as examples, not only to the heathen, but to Christians throughout Greece" (Constable 23). Even during an apostles’ absence, the Thessalonians were devoted to living a Christian life. The first chapter of 1 Thessalonians expresses a heart of deep gratitude to the Lord for the Thessalonians believers, and thanksgiving for the people as well.