Introduction to First Thessalonians
© 2006 Steve Lewis - contact@SpiritAndTruth.org
Paul's first missionary journey (Acts 13-14)
- Paul established the churches in Galatia.
- Upon his return to Antioch in Syria, Paul debated with the Judaizing teachers and wrote the letter to the Galatians to deal with similar issues.
Claudius as emperor of Rome
- He was the uncle of the previous emperor, Caligula (who had been assassinated).
- He was physically handicapped, but a scholar and student of history, philosophy, and government.
- He dealt firmly with political intrigue and various rebellions throughout the empire.
Chronology of Early Church Activity and Historical Events
||Claudius is the emperor of the Roman Empire|
||Paul's first missionary journey to Galatia (Acts 13-14)|
||Paul's letter to the Galatians -- written from Antioch in Syria|
||First Church council in Jerusalem (Acts 15)|
||The Jews are expelled from Rome by Claudius|
||Paul's second missionary journey through Asia Minor to Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 16-17)|
||Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1-17)|
||Paul's letters to the Thessalonians -- written from Corinth|
How Did the Gospel Reach the Thessalonians?
- The gospel had been preached in Rome very early in Church history.
- The church council in Jerusalem decided that the Gentiles do not need to obey the Law of Moses in order to be part of the Church. Paul returned to Antioch to share this good news.
- Because of a disturbance concerning one called "Crestus," Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome.
- Paul and Barnabus had a disagreement concerning their upcoming missionary trip. Barnabus took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, while Paul took Silas and traveled by land to the north and west.
The early phase of Paul's second missionary journey
- Paul traveled through Syria and Cilicia then on into Galatia, sharing the decree of the Jerusalem Council.
- The Holy Spirit was guiding their steps, and He prevented the missionary team from going into Asia.
The next phase of Paul's second missionary journey
- They traveled north, but the Holy Spirit would not let them enter Bithynia. Instead He led them to Troas.
- At Troas Paul received a clear revelation from God with directions to go into Macedonia.
Paul in Philippi
- God hastened their journey to Macedonia, and Paul traveled to Philippi. There was no Jewish synogogue, so Paul shared the gospel at a meeting place outside the city.
- Paul ran afoul of the commercial interests of the city, spent a night in jail, and afterward left Philippi to travel west to Thessalonica.
Where is Thessalonica and What is it Like?
- A major city of the old Greek empire -- independently governed.
- The largest city in the region of Macedonia -- a major seaport and on the major highway through the Roman empire.
- A wealthy commercial center and an administrative power center of the region.
What happened to Paul in Thessalonica?
- Paul reasoned in the synogogue for three Sabbaths.
- The non-believing Jews caused a riot in the city which led to Paul's expulsion.