1 Thessalonians in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

thes-a-lo'-ni-anz I. IMPORTANCE OF THE EPISTLE II. CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH 1. Luke's Narrative in Acts 2. Confirmation of Luke's Narrative in the Epistle III. CONDITIONS IN THE THESSALONIAN CHURCH AS INDICATED IN THE LETTER IV. ANALYSIS WIENER, ORIGIN OF THE PENTATEUCH THE EPISTLE 1. Paul's Past and Present Relations with the Thessalonians and His Love for Them 2. Exhortations against Vice, and Comfort and Warning in View of the Coming of Christ V. DOCTRINAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE EPISTLE VI. THE EPISTLE'S REVELATIONS OF PAUL'S CHARACTERISTICS LITERATURE I. The Importance of the Epistle. The letter is especially important as a witness to the content of the earliest Gospel, on account of its date and its well-nigh unchallenged authenticity. According to Harnack it was written in the year 48 AD; according to Zahn, in the year 53. It is likely that these two dates represent the extreme limits. We are thus justified in saying with confidence that we have before us a document that could not have been written more than 24 years, and may very easily have been written but 19 years, after the ascension of our Lord. This is a fact of great interest in view of the contention that the Jesus of the four Gospels is a product of the legend-making propensity of devout souls in the latter part of the 1st century. When we remember that Paul was converted more than 14 years before the writing of the Epistles, and that he tells us that his conversion was of such an overwhelming nature as to impel him in a straight course from which he never varied, and when we note that at the end of 14 years Peter and John, having fully heard the gospel which he preached, had no corrections to offer (Gal 1:11 through 2:10, especially 2:6-10), we see that the view of Christ and His message given in this Epistle traces itself back into the very presence of the most intimate friends of Jesus. It is not meant by this that the words of Paul or the forms of his teaching are reproductions of things Jesus said in the days of His flesh, but rather that the conception which is embodied in the Epistle of the person of Christ and of His relation to the Father, and of His relation also to the church and to human destiny, is rooted in Christ's own self-revelation. II. Circumstances of the Founding of the Church. 1. Luke's Narrative in Acts: For the founding of the church we have two sources...

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