1 Thessalonians 1
The Passion Translation
Paul Gives Thanks for the Thessalonians
1 From Paul, Silas,[a] and Timothy.[b] We send our greetings to you, the congregation[c] of believers in Thessalonica,[d] which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.[e] May God’s delightful grace[f] and peace rest upon you.[g]
2 We are grateful to God for your lives[h] and we always pray for you. 3 For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love motivates you to serve others, and how unrelenting is your hope-filled patience in our Lord Jesus Christ.[i]
4 Dear brothers and sisters,[j] you are dearly loved by God and we know that he has chosen you to be his very own.[k] 5 For our gospel came to you not merely in the form of words but in mighty power infused with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.[l] Surely you remember how we lived our lives transparently before you to encourage you.[m]
6 And you became followers[n] of my example and the Lord’s when you received the word with the joy of the Holy Spirit, even though it resulted in tremendous trials and persecution.[o] 7 Now you have become an example for all the believers to follow throughout the provinces of Greece.[p]
8 The message of the Lord has sounded out from you not only in Greece, but its echo has been heard in every place where people are hearing about your strong faith. We don’t need to brag on you, 9 for everyone tells the story of the kind of welcome you showed us when we first came to you. And everyone knows how wonderfully you turned to God from idols to serve the true and living God. 10 And now you eagerly expect his Son from heaven—Jesus, the deliverer, whom he raised from the dead and who rescues us from the coming wrath.[q]
- 1:1 Or “Silvanus,” whom most scholars believe is the Silas mentioned as a prophet in the Jerusalem church and Paul’s coworker in Macedonia (Acts 15:22–40; 16:19–40; 17:1–16). The name Silas is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew name Saul. Both Silas and Timothy had been with Paul when he first visited Thessalonica (Acts 17:4, 14). There are only four of Paul’s letters in the New Testament in which he does not call himself an apostle (1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon), most likely because of the deep relationship he already had with them.
- 1:1 Ministry requires teamwork. Paul saw himself as part of a church-planting team made up of three men with wonderful giftings: Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
- 1:1 The Greek word ekklēsia is best translated in this context as “congregation.” It means “called-out ones.” In Greek culture the ekklēsia were members of society who were given the duties of legislating on behalf of a city, similar to a city council. They were both “called out” and “called together” to function as those who have the responsibilities of shaping societal norms and the morality of culture.
- 1:1 Thessalonica was the largest city in Macedonia and may have had a population of 200,000 when Paul wrote this letter.
- 1:1 The church is both “in” God the Father and “in” Jesus Christ. The Trinity is making room for the bride.
- 1:1 The usage of charis (grace) in ancient classical Greek carries the connotation of something that awakens joy and pleasure. The Greek concept of grace imparts delight, often attached to a strong emotional element. Paul uses the term grace as a joyous delight that rests upon the people of God (Thomas F. Torrance, The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers, 1–2).
- 1:1 Some manuscripts add “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 1:2 Starting with v. 2 Paul begins one long and complicated Greek sentence that ends with v. 10.
- 1:3 Paul mentions the three invaluable qualities of a believer’s life: faith, love, and hope. The Thessalonians put their faith into practice by turning away from all that was false (v. 9). They demonstrated their motive of love by serving God and others (v. 9). And they lived with undying hope that was centered upon the future appearing of Christ (v. 10).
- 1:4 Although the Greek uses the term brothers (adelphoi), it is intended to express the group identity of those who follow Christ and not meant to be gender exclusive. Paul uses the term eighteen times in five chapters. First Thessalonians could be called Paul’s friendliest letter. He describes himself as a “father” and “mother” to them (2:7, 11) and calls them his “joy” and “trophy” (2:19).
- 1:4 The perfect tense of the verb implies that God loved them in the past and continues to love them in the same way.
- 1:5 True gospel ministry will be expressed by the word of God and characterized by mighty power, releasing the unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit, and through sincere conviction of truth will be found in those who present it.
- 1:5 Or “for your sakes” (benefit).
- 1:6 Or “imitators.”
- 1:6 True conversion delivers us from many things, but is not an assurance that we will never face painful trials or persecution for our faith.
- 1:7 Or “Macedonia and Achaia.” Greece was divided into two provinces: the northern region known as Macedonia and the southern one, Achaia. Thessalonica was located in Macedonia, and Corinth, where Paul wrote this letter, was the leading city of Achaia. Although the believers of Thessalonica were novices, their testimony had spread throughout the region.
- 1:10 The gospel of power will change lives. The Thessalonians had renounced the worship of false gods and turned wholeheartedly to the true God and become faithful servants. Every time true conversion (repentance) takes place, a life is changed. The Thessalonians were famous for these four things: (1) They turned wholeheartedly to God. (2) They abandoned worshiping false gods (idols). (3) They became passionate servants of Christ. (4) They were eagerly anticipating the heavenly Son, Jesus.