January 6 – Chapter 1
January 7 – Chapter 2
January 8 – Chapter 3
January 9 – Chapter 4
January 10 – Chapter 5
The story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the foundation of our faith. However, the stories as we know them from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not the first to be told if we read the New Testament as it was written chronologically. For that to happen we turned first to James and now we set our sights on the writings of Paul.
Who was Paul? He was a persecutor of the church, turned by God, from his evil ways to be a witness to the world of the Good News found in Christ. Much of his work is done by personally visiting many communalities and in his constant travels around the known world. Then, Paul would typically follow up with letters of support, encouragement, prayer, and sometimes admonishment. This is were we encounter Paul, as we read his letters back to the faith community.
So let’s set the clock at around 50 A.D. Some 20 years has passed since Jesus ascended to the right hand of God. Paul has visited with the people of Thessalonica. Their visit goes well. Many come to faith. However, their visit turns sour as Paul and Silas encounter pressure from the Roman Officials to the point that Paul and his companions flee for their lives. Now, of course Paul regrets that they were forced to flee, and is greatly concerned about the fate of these new believers. Timothy is asked to go back and visit, and he returns to Paul with amazing news. The church in Thessalonica is thriving!
All of this is needed to better understand the First Letter to the Thessalonians. It is a letter of praise and rejoicing, as much as it is a letter of encouragement and support. Take a look at the video description from thebibleproject.com to get a better understanding of everything that takes place in 1st Thessalonians.