Today we begin the book of 1 Thessalonians on the podcast. But before we go further, I have a confession to make.
In my prepping for this book, I learned that 1 Thessalonians is probably the earliest letter we have from Paul. He wrote it just a few months after leaving the city in about AD 51. As I recall, I said the letter to the Galatians was probably the first and now I realize that I misread our timeline.
I suppose this would be a good time to encourage you to always trust but verify! It keeps me accountable to know you’re checking my work. But I do apologize, and I hope I didn’t lead anyone astray in their studies. Okay…let’s get started with our new book.
Grace Under Pressure
We actually read about the beginning of the church in Thessalonica in the book of Acts, as we did for most of the churches to which Paul wrote letters. The Thessalonians were drawn to Paul’s preaching and they believed hard. But the church suffered much persecution about that time. So much so that Paul and Silas and Timothy had to run for their lives. (Those Thessalonians did love their idols. They weren’t nice to anyone who suggested getting rid of them.)
You’ll recall reading in Acts chapter 17 that Paul resisted leaving and it broke his heart to have to do it. So, he was thrilled to get a report from Timothy that the new – albeit persecuted – church was not only doing well, but thriving! Paul immediately sat down to write this letter of love and encouragement to the church in Thessalonica.
Probably the most intriguing in this letter is the time Paul spends touching on end times. Apparently, some of the Thessalonian believers had died. Those who remained needed assurance that those loved ones had not missed the Day of the Lord. Paul gives them that assurance and we’ll talk more about that when we come to those chapters.
This little book is a gem when it comes to teaching us about maintaining our faith in the face of persecution. If you struggle with standing firm while others around you are tearing you down for your belief in Christ, you will find much encouragement here. Let me know what you’re looking forward to most as we read this letter to one of Paul’s first churches. You can contact me at Lifting Her Voice, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.