Paul begins the letter with the customary greeting, identifying himself along with Silas and Timothy as its source. I highly doubt that the three of them co-wrote the letter; however, Silas and Timothy had actually spent more time in Thessalonica than Paul had, and by mentioning them here, he probably intended to convey that they all stood as one in the things he was writing about.
Verses 2-10 contain the balance of Paul’s greeting in the form of thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians themselves. This is not quite as perfunctory as it might seem at first, for in these few verses, Paul tells the brief history of the church, and begins to reveal why he has written this letter to them.
Very quickly Paul mentions that they, apparently more than many other churches, jumped right into the work of the gospel, as a response to the love of Christ. Notice verse 5 in which Paul says the gospel came to them with more than words, but with power and the Spirit since they immediately became imitators of Paul, and thus of Christ. Wouldn’t it be something if our churches today were more prone to this! They knew how Paul lived among them, and they copied Paul’s way of living, right off the bat. As they did this, they encountered opposition in the community in the form of persecution, but they kept at it, and in so doing the church in Thessalonica became the model for all of the churches in the region; quite a success story.
It would seem that they had so completely turned from Pagan worship to being followers of Jesus Christ that news of this spread far and wide, beyond their own provinces, so Paul makes it clear that he is not writing to correct the way they have responded to the gospel; there is something else on his mind. Paul will have more to say about the Thessalonians as he continues into the next chapter, and we will pick up his narrative in the next installment…
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