1 Thessalonians

Authorship and Audience

Paul to the church in Thessalonica which, at the time this book was written, may have had a population around a couple hundred thousand.

Date and Context

This letter was more than likely written after Timothy returned to Paul in Corinth after visiting Thessalonica (see 3:2 and Acts 18:5). From Acts 18:12-17, we know that while Paul was in Corinth, he went before the "proconsul of Achaia" named Gallio (Acts 18:12) and left shortly there after (Acts 18:18). Based on an inscription known as the "Delphi Inscription" or the "Gallio Inscription", we know that Gallio was the proconsul between 51 and 52 AD. Thus, assuming the first letter to the Thessalonians was written before Paul went before Gallio and left Corinth, it must have also been written before 52 AD. Thus, it is safe to say that this letter was likely written around 50-51 AD.


  • Eschatology (the study of the end times). Both the first and second letter to the Thessalonians deal with the issue of Eschatology. In this book, Paul describes what happens to those who have died before Christ returns. In both letters, we also get a good picture of how Christians ought to be living in light of Christ's immanent return (5:1-11).
  • A Picture of a Healthy Church. While it may be a stretch to call this a theme, we get a good feel for what a relatively healthy church ought to look like and be doing from this book. Paul time and time again commends them for their faith (1:6 and 9-10), love (4:9), testimony (1:7-10), and encouragement (5:11).


0. Introduction and Greeting [1:1-10]

I. Paul's Relationship with the Thessalonians [2 - 3]

II. Paul's Teaching for the Thessalonians [4 - 5:22]

III. Conclusion [5:23-28]

A. Benediction [5:23-24]

B. Final Instructions [5:25-28]


  • This is a very personal, encouraging letter that shows Paul's pastoral heart.
  • There are no direct, Old Testament quotes throughout this entire letter.

† There is a copy of the Delphi inscription available here and a translation here

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