1st Thessalonians is the oldest book we have in all of the New Testament. It was most likely the first letter Paul ever wrote, and he wrote it only 25 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is roughly 20 years earlier than the oldest Gospel, Mark. Thessalonica was a thoroughly Roman city on the cost of the Aegean Sea which was heavily influenced by the imperial cult. This was the required belief and practice for all Roman cities at the time where the Roman emperor was to be worshiped as the chief god. This practice was so heavily followed in Thessalonica, when Paul, Silvans, aka Silas, and Timothy originally tried to start a church here, they were thrown out of town. Eventually, they were able to get a church started, but unlike other churches of theirs, this church had few, if any, Jewish-Christians in it. With this being the case, Paul focuses primarily on the struggles these Gentile-Christians are having in accepting these new beliefs and practices which would have been much more unfamiliar to them than would have been the case for their Jewish-Christian counterparts.
As you journey through 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, listen for the message that Paul gives on how to face the challenges a follower of Jesus Christ can face in an unwelcoming environment.