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  • John Lenschow

Background to 1 Thessalonians


Paul's journey to Thessalonica is found in Acts 17.

The city of Thessalonica had a rich history even before Paul and his companions every arrived. Here are a few key facts: 1. It was established by Cassander, the King of Macedonia in 316-315 B.C. and named after his wife Thessalonike. She was the daughter of Philip II and the half-sister of Alexander the Great.

2. It was located near the Via Egnatia a major east-west highway.

3. It was also a seaport.

4. It developed a strong economy.

5. It was the capital of Macedonia and the provincial governor lived there.

6. It had a Jewish synagogue and various pagan temples.

7. It is the site of modern-day Thessaloniki in Greece.




What about the letter of 1 Thessalonians? Here is what we know.

1. Paul was identified as the author (1:1, 2:18).

2. It was written after his visit to Thessalonica, probably from Corinth, since he spent a year and a half there after being in Thessalonica (Acts 18:12).

3. This letter was probably written around A.D. 50-52, since Emperor Claudius was mentioned in Acts 18:2 (Claudius’ reign A.D. 41-54), and Gallio the proconsul of Achaia was mentioned in Acts 18:12, 17 (A.D. 50-52).

4. The letter was written to encourage the Thessalonian church and to address some issues that had arisen after he left the city.


Enjoy your journey through 1 Thessalonians with me!



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