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First Thessalonians 1:1-10

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter (epistle) in accordance with the information that God and the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to him.

I Thessalonians 1:1:

1:1Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of (the) Thessalonians in God (the) Father and (the) Lord Jesus Christ; grace to you and peace.

Paul begins by writing that this letter was from himself and Silvanus (also called "Silas") and Timothy, and that it was written to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This Thessalonian church would have known who Paul and Silvanus and Timothy were because they had spent time with them previously. Paul did not need to explain (refer to Acts 15:22 and 32-34, 16:1-3, chapter 17; I Timothy 1:2; II Timothy 1:2).

Who or what was the "church of the Thessalonians"? The word "church" comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which comes from two other words meaning "out-from" and "called," so together it means "called out-from." A "church" is an assembly of people called out from other people for any specific reason. This word does not refer to a particular type of building or a house, even though the church may meet in a particular type of building or in a house. This letter was written to the assembly of people called out from other people in Thessalonica.

How or why were these people called out from the other people living in Thessalonica? Paul writes that they were "…in God (the) Father and (the) Lord Jesus Christ…" To be "in" God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ means that they had received holy spirit-life from God by means of the Lord Jesus Christ and they were now living within the realm of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rereading verse 1 of I Thessalonians, it says: "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of (the) Thessalonians in God (the) Father and (the) Lord Jesus Christ; grace to you and peace."

Paul's greeting to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ was: "grace to you and peace." This was not some 'nice-phrase' that Paul made-up in his own mind thinking that it sounds good or it might "bless them" - no! Paul was writing by revelation from God and/or the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is what is freely bestowed without any merit on the recipient's part; it includes reference to the attitude and quality of the one giving something favorable to another. Grace is not bestowed because somebody deserves a wage that is owed for something they said or did, nor because they begged so hard, nor because they forced the giver to give! Grace is bestowed because the giver wants to give by his own freedom of will to the recipient - it is completely unmerited favor from the giver to the recipient. Here in this context, grace is being given to the holy-people of the Thessalonian church from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

And peace! Oh, how everybody talks about peace and of wanting peace and striving for peace and fighting on behalf of peace, etc! Peace is a tranquil harmony without strife. We may think of peace as the opposite of war, the opposite of conflict, the opposite of being at odds with the other party. Who are the other parties as far as the holy-people are concerned? God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Some Greek texts include the words "from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ" after the word "peace" in this first verse.

As we continue, we should realize that in the oldest texts which we have today there are no punctuation or chapter/verse divisions as we have them in our "modern" Bibles - therefore even though they may be helpful for us to find specific verses, etc, we need to read for thought-content and study the context of the scriptures to gain a better understanding of the truth of God's Word.

I Thessalonians 1:2 and 3:

.2We thank God always concerning all of you making remembrance to-ourselves on our prayers .3unceasingly remembering your work of the belief, and labor of the love1, and patient-endurance of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, in-front-of our God and Father,

The verb "to thank" in the Greek comes from the same root word as the word "grace" plus the word "well" or "well-off." Therefore to thank somebody is done by the freedom of will of the recipient expressing well his gratitude to the giver of the grace (the bestowed unmerited or undeserved favor) given to and received by the recipient. It is not a forced or obligated "thank you"!

Paul writes: we (myself and Silvanus and Timothy) thank God constantly about all of you Thessalonian holy-people making remembrance to ourselves on our prayers (bringing to our own minds, our memory, and so making mention of you during or on the occasion of our communications to and with God, the general speaking towards/with God) without ceasing (assiduously) remembering:

  1. your work of the belief (your deeds being viewed together as one deed; your work pertaining-to and proceeding-from the belief which God gives you to believe) – “work” is that-which is wrought, the effect-produced having acted expending energy; this work was done or carried-out by these Christians by believing what God and/or the Lord Jesus Christ had given direction or instruction about, either via the already revealed and written Word of God which they had access to in the scrolls/writings of the old covenant (sometimes referred to as the old testament), or via the Word of God which Paul and those with him had taught them, or via their holy spirit-life regarding specific situations or circumstances; and
  2. labor of the love1 (your labor pertaining-to and proceeding-from God’s love) – the word "labor" literally means "a beating" but in the context here it means "exerting wearisome effort"; these holy-people exerted a lot of effort, as if beating themselves out physically by what they were doing, and they carried-out this labor knowing the love that God had for them, and they loved God, and they evidenced God’s love forth towards others; and
  3. patient-endurance of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ (your patient endurance pertaining-to and proceeding-from the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ) – “patient-endurance” is a bearing-up, holding-out, enduring, remaining upwards or upright under any obstacles; this patient-endurance is relative-to the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all holy-people and the hope is pertaining and connected to/with him)….

We thank God always concerning all of you making remembrance to-ourselves on our prayers unceasingly remembering your work of the belief, and labor of the love1, and patient-endurance of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, in front of our God and Father (before God Who is the Father of all of us holy-people).

The word "love1" or the verb "to love1" comes from the Greek word agape which is God's kind of love. To love with His love means to love the same way as God loves, to manifest God's love towards another, whether it is towards God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, yourself, your Christian neighbor, or towards anyone else. God tells His children today (all who have the spirit of Christ within us) how to Godly-love by means of His previously-revealed written Word and also via our holy spirit-life whereby we receive information from Him regarding how to love in different specific situations. It is the carrying out of God's commandments, His Word, which is the correct usage or way to manifest God's kind of love according to His will (refer to I Corinthians chapter 13 and I John 5:1-3). It is not the same as the brotherly or friendly kind of love, nor is it the same as the emotional/feelings/sexual kind of love.

What is the hope of the Lord Jesus Christ? Briefly: it is the expectation of a definite still-future event promised to all holy-people that the Lord Jesus Christ will come to be present to gather all of us together with him, and then he will continue to carry-out all of what God wants him to do, which includes the resurrection of dead-people, judgments, causing satan (the devil) and his followers to be destroyed, etc, and then putting everything under God's authority. Paul teaches on the hope throughout this letter and also in his second letter to the Thessalonians.

 

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