In the opening words of 1 Thessalonians, we catch a glimpse of the selflessness of Paul. While he was clearly the author of this letter (1 Thess. 2:18, 3:5, 5:27), he gives recognition to his coworkers Silas and Timothy.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3. For what things are Paul, Silas, and Timothy giving thanks? What do these things mean in a practical sense? That is, how would they be manifested in daily life? For example, how is the “work of faith” expressed in how we live?
The opening [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Thess. 1:1-10, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Tim. 1:15, Gal. 5:19-23, Dan. 12:2.
Memory Text: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”(1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3, ESV).
Key Thought: Paul has many good things to say to the Thessalonians, at least when he begins writing to them in the first letter. What he praises [...]
“Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. . .
“At this time the systems of heathenism were losing their hold upon the people. Men were weary of pageant and fable. They longed for a religion that could satisfy the heart.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 32.
“Outside of the Jewish nation there were men who foretold the appearance of a divine instructor. [...]
Most Adventist churches in Haiti hold evangelistic meetings in January. Etienne’s host family invited her to attend the meetings in their church. Etienne went to please her hosts, but she paid little attention to the speaker.
Then on January 12, 2010, the earth shook furiously. Etienne staggered out of the house just moments before it collapsed. She stared in disbelief at the rubble around her. Once again she was homeless. Then she realized, God has saved me again. “Lord,” she prayed, [...]
Read Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; and Philemon 1, 2. What do all these texts have in common?
In the Roman world there were two main types of residences. There was the domus, a large, single-family home built around a courtyard, typical of the wealthy. Such a home could provide a meeting place for 30-100 people. The other type of residence was the insula, with shops and workplaces on the ground floor facing the street and apartments (flats) on the floors above. This was the primary [...]
The first-century Greco-Roman context experienced a proliferation of popular philosophers who, in public forums, sought to influence individuals and groups-similar to what street preachers might do today.
Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com
These philosophers believed that people had an inner capacity to change their lives (a form of conversion). Philosophers would use public speech and private conversation in order, they hoped, to produce change in their students. They sought to create in their listeners doubts regarding their current ideas and [...]
Given what we learned yesterday, it is not difficult to see why-when the gospel came to Thessalonica-many non-Jews of the city responded positively. Whether or not Paul was aware of the Cabirus cult before arriving in the city, his Messianic approach in the synagogue resonated with the unique spiritual longings of the local pagans.
Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com
When the gospel came to Thessalonica, the working classes of the city were ready for it, and they responded in large [...]
The pagan response to the powerlessness many Thessalonians felt was a spiritual movement scholars call the Cabirus cult. The cult was grounded in a man named Cabirus who spoke up for the disenfranchised and was eventually murdered by his two brothers. He was buried along with symbols of royalty, and the cult came to treat him as a martyred hero.
Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com
The lower classes believed that Cabirus had exhibited miraculous powers while alive. They also believed [...]
Read John 11:48-50. How were the political and religious decisions regarding the ministry of Jesus impacted by the arrival of the Romans in first-century Palestine and Jerusalem? Think through the logic expressed here. In what frightening ways does it make sense?
Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com
In the context of a civil war among the Greek city-states, the Thessalonians invited the Romans to take over their city and protect it from local enemies around 168 b.c. The Romans rewarded Thessalonica for [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: John 11:48-50, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Cor. 9:19-27, John 3:3-8, 1 Cor. 16:19.
Memory Text: “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Corinthians 9:19, NIV).
Key Thought: A short study of the context of ancient Thessalonica demonstrates that Paul’s approach to the citizens of Thessalonica was unique and carefully crafted.
The primary focus of this lesson will be a summary of what history, literature, and archaeology tells us about Thessalonica.