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Paul's Letter To The Thessalonians

The first of these letters is one of the earliest parts of the New Testament. It was probably written before any of the four Gospels, or the Acts of the Apostles. On his first visit to Thessalonica, Paul and his companions had journeyed from Philippi, where they had been shamefully treated, beaten with rods and imprisoned (2:2). The response to Paul's preaching in Thessalonica was remarkable, "Of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few", consorted with Paul and Silas (Acts 17:4). The Jews stirred up persecution, and after the uproar, Paul and Silas went by night to Beroea, and later to Athens and Corinth.

From Athens Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to comfort and assure the saints in their persecutions. The report brought back by Timothy had been a great cheer to the apostle. Presumably from Corinth Paul wrote this letter following receipt of the report from Timothy.

Amongst other things, the letter seeks to comfort the saints and to correct some misunderstandings which had arisen regarding those who had fallen asleep. The letter sheds a flood of light on the inspiring truth of the coming of the Lord for His saints.

It is thought that the second letter to the church of the Thessalonians was written during Paul's extended stay at Corinth. We know that he remained there for a year and six months (Acts 18:11). The main purpose of the letter was to correct some erroneous ideas which had arisen in the minds of some of the saints regarding the coming of the Lord. They had assumed that the day of the Lord had already arrived, and in consequence there was no purpose in continuing their daily employment.

Silas and Timothy were with the apostle in Corinth, and it may be assumed that the letter was dictated to one or other of them. However, Paul takes up the pen to write the closing salutation, "The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all" (3:17,18).