The letter of 1 Thessalonians begins by introducing the reader to the founders of the church, namely, Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus, also known as Silas. In this regard, Richard D. Phillips writes, “It is noteworthy that Paul’s salutation includes the names of his two assistants, both of whom had helped to plant the Thessalonian church.” These young men helped Paul in the service of the Lord to disciple believers.
The author of 1 Thessalonians is the Apostle Paul. Most theologians and Bible scholars attribute Paul as the author, as well as early church history. “The writings of many early church fathers (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria), as well as numerous ancient canons of Scripture, confirm Paul’s claim to be the author of this epistle” (Believers Study Bible). Paul’s 1 Thessalonians letter is deeply personal, and even familial. For example, he uses the terms “brothers” and other familial language, in addition to his strong affections for the church. He loved the Thessalonica church and desired for their deep growth in Christ. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 Paul encourages them by letting them know he is thankful for them and praying for them. He knows the faithful love they have for God and wants to encourage them in their walk with Christ.
After Paul’s initial address in 1Thessalonians, Paul addresses the specific purposes of his letter. For instance, in Thessalonians, Timothy informs Paul of some issues arising in the church. In response to some of the issues, Paul addresses these important things. Second, Paul writes to encourage believers in their faith and walk with Christ. John Sailhamer writes, “Paul was writing to this early church, which had suffered much for the sake of the Gospel. He knew that they had weathered the persecution well, but he wanted to encourage them further.”
Later in 1 Thessalonians, Paul directs his letter and attention to another topic, namely, the Lord’s return. 1 Thessalonians is a letter that helps readers better understand the doctrine of last things, known as eschatology. John Sailhamer reminds us, “The central focus of the book is the eager expectation of churches everywhere for the return of the Lord.” Moreover, Paul also addresses the timing of the Lord’s return and accompanying events. Historically and contemporarily, people desire to know when the Lord Jesus will return. It is one of those things that we just desire to know and understand. That topic has spurred much debate among believers, even causing much division. Warren Wiersbe states, “Paul did not write these letters to stir up a debate. His desire was that these letters bless our lives and our churches. The doctrine of the Lord’s return is not a toy to play with or a weapon to fight with, but a tool to build with. Believers may disagree on some of the fine points of Bible prophecy, but we all believe that Jesus Christ is coming again to reward believers and judge the lost. And we must all live in light of His coming.” Wiersbe reminds us that, regardless of when the event happens, God wants followers to be living and ministering for Him. God’s Word helps us to stay focused on that goal, which is, understanding the gospel and living it out in our lives. 1 Thessalonians helps followers live to that means in light of the Lord’s return.
In conclusion, 1 Thessalonians is a great letter that Paul wrote to the church. He begins by extending his thankfulness for them, and their work for Christ. Furthermore, he lets them know that he is praying for them and remembering their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Believer’s Study Bible (NKJV) Nelson Publishers
1 & 2 Thessalonians (Reformed Expository Commentary) Richard D. Phillips
NIV Compact Bible Commentary John Sailhamer
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament (Warren Wiersbe)