1:1 Thessalonians. It is possible that this is the first epistle written by Paul. Paul had taken Silas (same as Silvanus) and Timothy with him on his first missionary venture into Greece (see Acts 15:40–16:3; 16:10). After preaching the gospel in Philippi, the leading city of Macedonia (Acts 16:12), they came to another important seaport, Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), remaining at least several weeks and winning both Jews and Greeks to Christ. These people evidently formed a church, and Paul wrote this first epistle to them a short time later, after he had gone on to Corinth (Acts 18:1,11). Since both Silas and Timothy had been with him at Thessalonica, he included them in his salutation to the church.

1:1 the Lord Jesus Christ. It is significant that in the first verse of what may have been his first epistle, Paul acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord (note Acts 2:36). He frequently used this full name and title in his preaching (e.g., Acts 16:31) as well as his writing, and finally in the very last verse written before his death (II Timothy 4:22). He also frequently wrote of “Jesus Christ” (e.g., Galatians 1:1, his earliest letter except possibly for the Thessalonian epistles) but, for some reason, never to the Thessalonians. To the Thessalonians, he wrote about “Christ Jesus” (e.g., I Thessalonians 2:15), as well as simply “Christ” and “the Lord” (e.g., I Thessalonians 2:6; 1:6). Once, in Colossians 3:24, he mentioned “the Lord Christ.” But it is significant that never in any of his epistles did he speak simply of “Jesus,” except when he was specifically referring to Him in His human life on earth. Paul speaks of Him as “the Lord Jesus Christ” at least nineteen times in the two Thessalonian epistles.


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