1 & 2 Thessalonians · Book Overviews

1 & 2 Thessalonians Overview

Happy Thanksgiving ūü¶É

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

We are reading 2 books tomorrow!¬† We read briefly about Paul visiting Thessalonica on his second mission trip. (look at the map; when he stayed at Jason’s house).¬† He left after 3 short weeks and intended on going back but did not.¬† Paul feels terrible that he left so quickly and did not return.

Quick History: The city was founded in 316 BC.  The king of Macedonia named it after his wife, Thessaloniki, the half-sister to Alexander the Great.  The city became a hub for government and commerce.  After the captivity, many of the Jews dispersed and relocated in the Macedonia area. The city was the 2nd largest, the first being Athens.  About 200,000 lived there.

This is a time of great persecution to the believers. The Roman Emporer Cladius in power but soon his son Nero will be ūüėĘ.¬† Paul was very aware of the growing practice of persecution since he was ONE OF THEM once!¬† He now stood on the other side of the Cross.

This letter was to encourage the believers of Thessalonica AND to assure them of Christ’s return (eschatology).  Actually, Christ’s return will be mentioned over 20 times in these books.  Paul gives us a way of living that will prepare us for the Second coming of Christ.  As persecution grows,  they need to hold on to Hope that a final judgment will occur for those persecuting them.

12. 1 and 2 Thessalonians | Jehovah Sabaoth

 

Acts

Acts 17-18:18

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

As you read, follow your map. Paul spent 3 weeks in Thessalonica.¬† In a short time, they caused quite the stir!¬† The report was: They are all defying Caesar‚Äôs decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.¬†¬†When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.”¬† Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I have caused come turmoil clarifying some doctrine.¬† But notice Paul “reasoned” with them from the Scriptures.¬† It is the ONLY way.

Paul does his job and moves on for safety reasons.  BUT if you looked at the schedule we are about to read two letters to them after he leaves. (I hope it is a better tone than the one to the Galatians)


Next on the map is Berea.

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 

Yasss!!!!  Love that!

BUT those horrible men from Thesselia followed him and messed things up!  Good Grief!


Next stop- Athens!

When Paul got to Athens, he was shocked to see about 30,000 statues of the Greek gods.  Immediately he came upon two schools of teaching (Just like Jesus faced the Pharisees and Sadducees) Paul faces the Epicururian and Stoics philosophers.

Epicureanism taught that the highest state a person could attain was¬†ataraxia‚ÄĒabsolute peace‚ÄĒand¬†aponia‚ÄĒa complete absence of mental, emotional, and physical distress or need.¬† (sounds like Tom Cruise if you ask me) They taught people to relax and enjoy life without worrying so much. To Epicurus, the gods did exist, but they lived so far away from the affairs of man, in a permanent state of ataraxia, that they didn‚Äôt interfere with humanity‚ÄĒin fact, they weren‚Äôt even aware of humanity.¬† Ultimately, what Epicureanism was a ‚Äúfulfilled‚ÄĚ life free from pain, hunger, distress, worry‚ÄĒand God.

Stoicism, which emphasizes rationalism and logic, is the opposite of Epicureanism. Stoicism is all about rejecting pleasure.   Stoics believed that we need to endure pain and hardship to developed self-control to overcome feeling emotions so that we can be unbiased and clear-minded.


So Paul went to Areopagus. See the picture below.¬† It is the rocky hill – called Mars Hill.¬† It’s the greek version of a Synagogue where they just sat around all day and talked Philipohy. (I know people like that)

‚ÄúPeople of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious (that was sarcasm).¬†23¬†For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:¬†to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship‚ÄĒand this is what I am going to proclaim to you.Paul's Speech to the Athenians ¬∑ Blog from Author & Methodist Minister Adam Hamilton ¬∑ Paul's Speech to the Athenians ¬∑ Adam Hamilton

This unknown God:

  • made the world and everything in it
  • does not live in temples built by human hands
  • he is not served by human hands
  • He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else
  • he made all the nations
  • he is not far from any one of us
  • he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.

The next stop is Corinth-“what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth”

This is a major port city that controlled the canal so that boats did not have to sail around the peninsula.

Tour in Greece

Corinthians were very pleasurable people that legalized prostitution.  Their favorite god was Aphrodite if that tells you anything!

Emperor Claudius had expelled all Jews from Rome, and Aquila and Priscilla found their way to Corinth and settled there, pursuing their trade as tentmakers. When Paul, a tentmaker himself, came to Corinth, Paul lived and worked with them while founding the Corinthian church.

As I follow Paul I see a group of prominent people becoming Christ-followers.  This will be important as he continues to travel. Crispus was the Synagogue Leader!  (His replacement, however, was an idiot)

Paul was brought in front of the governor Gallio, a Roman Officer who could care less about Jewish Law (Sounds like Pontius Pilot) and handed him back over to the Jews.  The new Synagogue leader beat him in front of Gallio and he could care less! (This all sounds very familiar)


When Paul and his 2 new besties leave he cuts his hair.  He must have taken a Nazarite Vow somewhere along the way.    If you were not with us when we were reading Numbers I will summarize it:

The Nazarite Vow: – a dedication to set yourself apart and rely completely on God.

  • it was voluntary
  • both men and woman can take the vow
  • a certain time frame was given
  • Restrictions:
    • no fermented drink (I just heard someone say “I’m out”!)
    • could not go near a dead body (they would be considered unclean)
    • could not cut their hair

Paul cuts his har signifying the vow time frame was over.


The next 2 reads are:

Nov 27: 1 & 2 Thessaloninas
Nov 28: Acts 18:19-19:41