Sabbath: Thessalonica in Paul’s Day

Read for This Week’s StudyJohn 11:48-501 John 2:15-171 Cor. 9:19-27John 3:3-81 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.

This material is important for two reasons. First, it helps us to understand how Paul’s original hearers and readers would have understood him. In so doing, it clarifies the meaning of what he wrote and the impact it had back then on both church and society.

Second, the more we know about the ideas and beliefs of the Thessalonians, the better we can understand that against which Paul was reacting. In order to promote the gospel, Paul would also have to correct wrong ideas. So, while this lesson is not directly focused on the Bible, it sets the stage for our reading of the biblical text of 1 and 2 Thessalonians during the rest of this quarter’s lessons.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 21.



Sabbath: Thessalonica in Paul’s Day — 7 Comments

  1. History, science and all disciplines, etc., properly used, are useful to help us understand God and the scriptures better. It's good to know we will use them this week. God bless His children!

  2. This week lessons is a wonderful one because it will tell us how about the thessalonicans demeanour during Paul's time. The memory text tells us that Paul, though been free and unslave for sin, still yet he made himself a slave in order to win souls as many as possible to Christ, what is he telling us, to belittle ourselves, make ourselves slaves to unbelievers in order to draw their souls to Christ, if so, to what limit or extent will it be?

  3. I appreciate the course this quarter's lessons take. I have always thought that context is vitally important and knowing the background of the church and culture of the area to which Paul is writing is definitely part of that context.

    While I do agree that Thessalonica presented some peculiar challenges to Paul we must remind ourselves that Macedonia, of which Thessalonica was a part, was involved in centuries of Hellenism (Greek thinking) which overflowed into the Roman Empire in many ways and even found itself in some Jewish thinking around Jerusalem. So while there certainly were local traditions in the same way that there was at Ephesus and Jerusalem there was also a general culture throughout the entire Mediterranean region to which Paul had to address himself.

    On top of that I believe we should realize that the church was born out of Paul's preaching in the synagogue concerning the Jewish concepts of the Messiah. Therefore the base of the church was Judaism not local custom and tradition. However, people will be people and with a pagan background the Gentiles often resorted to pagan thinking and ways of doing things which they would have naturally brought into the church.

    Certainly some problems were more prominent in some churches and less in others but I feel that they were probably visible at least to some extent in all of the churches. That may be one of the reasons why Paul's letters were of interest to Christians everywhere and were circulated as widely as they were ("The Pauline epistles were circulating, perhaps in collected forms, by the end of the 1st century AD" [Wikipedia article, "Development of the New Testament canon"] this also could be why Peter said what he did in 2 Pet 3:15-16).

  4. Its nice to know that as Seventh-day Adventists we can publish something like this to help us study. Because the quarterly for this quarter was short.

  5. The study is wonderful, I got this little in my mind still we need to have true love to our friends of ours. They want to experience innermost love they lack from this world. Paul gives us a way for this on how to win souls.

  6. There will be no future without the past. Inspiration says, prophets wrote more for our time and less for their time. Scriptures affirms that whatever is written therein, is for examples. God, the all knowing, knew what condition will be prevailing in latter days-which are these we find ourselves in. The world is every second, minute, hour, day bringing new things that leaves our minds with wonder - the very existence of our creator. Beloved lets lift our heads up for there is our salvation. Solomon in his day explored in his wisdom what he thought could bring happiness and comfort, but today he is telling us that is vanity. Lord help us!

    • So true as long as we don't make all prophesy applicable only to the end times. Some are of course, but not all.


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