Thessalonians Thessalonians is based on two different letters that was written to the Christian community in Thessalonica. The purpose of the first letter was to clear up some of the misunderstandings about the return of Christ. The second letters purpose was to still clear up some of the misunderstandings about the Day of the Lord for they thought the day had already come. The first letter to the Christian community was sent from Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, though Paul was the main author. Paul was writing to them to clear up their misunderstandings about the return of Christ, also considers it as instructions in holy living.
Paul wrote about his longing to visit the church in Thessalonica but he couldn’t because Satan had stopped them (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Though some believe the second letter to the Christian community is wrote by Paul others do not. Many scholars point out how the writing style, vocabulary, and structure of the 2 Thessalonians are too similar to the 1 Thessalonians. They suggest that it was written by an anonymous author 50 years after Paul’s death, using the 1 Thessalonians as their guideline. The early witnesses for the belief that Paul is not the author are strong and include Igantius, Justin, and Polycarp.
Although there seems to be different beliefs on who wrote the 2 Thessalonians, no one will really know. Paul’s reasoning for both letters seems to be along the same point to clear up the misunderstanding of the return of Christ and how the Christian community of Thessalonica was being persecuted for they believed that the Day of the Lord had already come. The first book of Thessalonians was suspected to have been written in 49-51 CE when Paul was on his Corinthian mission. (Acts 17-18) records Paul’s visits to Thessalonica and then to Athens, and to Corinth, which is how they correspond the date of the letter.
It has been read that Paul did not starting writing his letters until he started traveling to the various places. Therefore they based these dates on traveling companions and cross referenced between 1 Thessalonians and Acts. There are many arguments about when the 2 Thessalonians was written, because they believe that Paul did not write the letter. Depending on the actual authorship of the letter would be what the date of it was written would depend on. Stating that if the letter was written by someone else but in Paul’s name, it is said that it may have been wrote in the late first or perhaps the early second CE.
With that being said it is not sure on the exact date or time frame that the 2 Thessalonians was wrote. With many opinions about the date and who wrote the 2 Thessalonians it will not be known until the authorship of the letter is cleared up. There is enough evidence on when 1 Thessalonians was written. How they correspond the dates to when he was traveling and that he was on his mission in Corinthian, which would be around the 49-51 CE. Paul was writing the letter to the churches of Thessalonica which is the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia.
His purpose of writing was to praise them on their “faith and love” that Timothy had brought and to focus on the instruction on how to live their Christian lives. Paul was writing this letter while he was on his mission in Corinthian where he was farther south in the province of Achaia. He wants the letter to be read aloud “to all his brothers” which means all his believers in Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 it is confirmed of the conclusion that the churches of Thessalonica was mostly composed of gentile believers.
Unlike Jews the Roman gentiles was notorious for being sexually immoral which is what Paul wanted the Thessalonians to keep them from. Both of the letters is written to the same audience the Christians of the Thessalonica churches. Without knowing who the true author of the second letter is it, there isn’t a for sure location on where the letter was written although it is believed to be in Corinth if Paul did write the letter. Paul’s purpose of the first letter was to correct a misunderstanding about the return of Christ. To also urge his readers to respect their leaders, his could suggest that there was some tension among the people in the churches. He expressed his satisfaction over the progress that the community had made and his joy. His Jewish opponents apparently had made accusations about his cowardice and self-seeking charges brought against him. He points out the importance of Christian morality, to safeguard them from attempts to make new converts to Christianity and to revert to their old standards. Paul’s purpose of the second letter was to clear up any misunderstandings that came in the first letter.
For he talked about the second coming of Christ, so those people believed in the Thessalonica churches that the coming of Christ was soon. Some quite their jobs, refused to work, and become idle busybodies and gossips, so Paul wrote to them also to encourage them to go back to work. The Christians were being persecuted by the Jews for they were hardened by the hearts and jealous of their success. He was telling them that when Christ returned for judgment the ones that was afflicting pain upon them would be punished for their doings.
The purpose of both letters is nearly the same, wanting to tell them of the second coming of Christ and live their lives the way that he has instructed them too. The only difference was to clear things up that many had misread in the second letter for they misbelieved that the coming of Christ was soon. For Paul did not know when the actual coming would be but he was warning them of it so they would be ready for judgment day. The first letter from Paul is unique because through most of the letter it is devoted to his prayer and thanksgiving for their faith in Christ.
He writes to them concerned for his people and thankful for the time that he has spent with them. In his letter he uses “You know” and “You Remember” repeatedly to remind them of the teaching he did to them. This shows how much of a personal relationship he had with the Thessalonian churches. He makes it clear in his letter that he is speaking to the ones that are followers of Jesus Christ. The second letter from Paul is unique as well. He still praises them for their faith in him and in Christ. He tells them of importance of letting their faith and love to continue to grow to be of examples for other churches.
Despite all the suffering and pain they have been going through to not let their lives drift away from Christ. Explains the importance of getting prepared for the second coming of Christ and how gives them information about the apostle’s beliefs in when the second coming could be. Both of letters show Paul’s faith and love in the Thessalonians churches. He proves to those that he is very expectant of these churches to be examples for other churches through these letters. That despite the difficulties and pain that some go through that believing in Christ he will help you find your way out as long as you have faith and love in him.
Throughout doing this paper I have learned many different opinions of whether Paul actually wrote the second letter or that he didn’t. I have been able to read about how Paul outpours his love and faith for the Thessalonian churches and that he wants them to live their lives for Christ. One of the key points that I have learned is that although you may struggle with difficulties and pain that if you have faith and love in Christ that he will help you find the way to survive these obstacles.
Works Cited Coogan, Michael D. , et al. , eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford: New York, 2010. Print. The Providence Forum. Resource. Philadelphia National Bible City. The National Bible Association: Encouraging Everyone to Read the Bible. 2009. 25 Nov. 2012. Guthrie, Donald. New Testament Introduction: The Pauline Epistles. The Tyndale Press, 1960. Print. Holmes, Michael W. , et al. , eds. 1 & 2 Thessalonians NIV Application Commentary, Minnesota, 1998. Print.
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