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Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation - Lesson 7

Thessalonians

The return of Christ is a central theme in the letters to the Thessalonians.

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation
Lesson 7
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Thessalonians

Letters of Paul

Part 2

II. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Balanced View of Christ's Return

A. Background to 1 Thessalonians

1. Acts 17:1-9

a. Paul's short time in town

b. Significant persecution by Jewish townspeople

2. Acts 17:10, 15; 18:5, 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 6

a. Coworkers' movements

b. Results in 50 or 51 in Corinth

B. 1 Thessalonians – Christ Will Return Soon

1. Greetings and thanksgiving (1:1-10)

2. Paul's ministry in Thessalonica (2:1-16)

3. Paul's concern since leaving (2:17-3:13)

4. Exhortations (4:1-5:22)

5. Conclusion (5:23-28)

C. Thessalonians and Christ's Return

1. Concern that Christ's return was delayed

2. 1 Thessalonians – "He is still coming soon"

3. Concern that Christ had already come (spiritually)

4. 2 Thessalonians – There are signs which must still occur

D. Exegetical Highlights in 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4:12

1. Sustained praise (cf. extra thanks in 2:13, 3:9)

a. Rationale (2:13)

b. Theme (4:10)

2. Motives for ministry – parental affection (2:7, 11)

3. Compare/Contrast popular philosophy and theme of imitation (e.g., 2:3, 4, 5, 6)

4. Will of God (as consistently in Scripture) = holiness/moral living (4:3-4)

5. Twofold reason for work, with godliness (4:11-12)

6. Eschatology (4:13-5:11)

a. Apant sis and posttribulationism

b. (Matthew 25:6, Acts 28:15 are other 2 New Testament uses of term)

c. Encouragement vs. grief

7. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

a. Context of testing prophecies

b. "Appearance" (eidos) = "kind"

E. 3 Views of the Rapture

1. "Pre-trib"

a. Church Age

b. Rapture

c. Tribulation

d. Second Coming

2. "Mid-trib"

a. Church Age

b. 3.5 years of Tribulation

c. Rapture

d. 3.5 years of Tribulation

e. Second Coming

3. "Post-trib"

a. Church Age

b. Tribulation

c. Rapture/Second Coming

F. 2 Thessalonians – "But Not That Soon!"

1. Intro and thanksgiving (1:1-12)

2. Signs still to come (2:1-17)

3. Exhortations and Conclusion (3:1-18)

G. Background to 2 Thessalonians

1. If Pauline and after 1 Thessalonians

a. A short time after 1 Thessalonians

b. Increased persecution

c. Increased problem with the idle

2. Irrespective of authorship and order

a. Also from Corinth (or meant to appear that way)

b. Disruptions described in 2:2

i. Commonly seen as due to a forged letter

ii. But perhaps a misinterpretation of first letter

H. Exegetical Highlights of 2 Thessalonians

1. Literal translation of 2:2, 2:15 for background

2. 1:9 (and judgment more generally)

a. Regarding nature of hell

b. Regarding annihilationism

c. God's love comforting the oppressed

3. Chapter 2 – Identity of man of lawlessness restrainer

a. Problems with a rebuilt temple

b. But again meant to encourage

4. Chapter 3 (especially v. 10) – Winter, Jewett and a sociological reconstruction


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Class Resources
  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • A key theme in the book of Galatians is how the Law and the Gospel are related.

  • A key theme in the book of Galatians is how the Law and the Gospel are related.

  • A key theme in the book of Galatians is how the Law and the Gospel are related.

  • The return of Christ is a central theme in the letters to the Thessalonians.

  • The return of Christ is a central theme in the letters to the Thessalonians.

  • Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.

  • Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.

  • Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.

  • Paul responds to specific situations in the Corinthian church including emphasizing a correct perspective on giving and encouragement to see God's redemptive purpose in our suffering.

  • Paul responds to specific situations in the Corinthian church including emphasizing a correct perspective on giving and encouragement to see God's redemptive purpose in our suffering.

  • Paul wrote Romans as a systematic exposition of the gospel.

  • Paul wrote Romans as a systematic exposition of the gospel.

  • In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ. Philemon was written to a gentlema Paul knows to encourage him to welcome back Onesimus, his runaway slave, who became a disciple of Christ and was returning.

  • In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ. Philemon was written to a gentlema Paul knows to encourage him to welcome back Onesimus, his runaway slave, who became a disciple of Christ and was returning.

  • Paul describes to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus, who they are in Christ, and the ethical implications for how they should live their daily lives.

  • Paul describes to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus, who they are in Christ, and the ethical implications for how they should live their daily lives.

  • Paul contrasts the condescention and the exaltation of Christ, and addresses specific situations in the Philippian church.

  • Paul writes to encourage and instruct Timothy and Titus, both of whom are young pastors.

  • Paul writes to encourage and instruct Timothy and Titus, both of whom are young pastors.

  • Both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians contain key passages addressing the roles of men and women in the local church.

  • Both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians contain key passages addressing the roles of men and women in the local church.

  • The book of James emphasizes that people demonstrate that they have true faith in Christ by their good works.

  • The book of James emphasizes that people demonstrate that they have true faith in Christ by their good works.

  • Hebrews is written to Hebrew Christians to demonstrate how Christ fulfilled the Mosaic covenant.

  • Hebrews is written to Hebrew Christians to demonstrate how Christ fulfilled the Mosaic covenant.

  • 1 Peter encourages followers of Christ to persevere even though they face persecution.

  • 1 Peter encourages followers of Christ to persevere even though they face persecution.

  • Jude and 2 Peter both emphasize refuting false teachers.

  • Major themes in John's epistles are sin, the love of God, the humanity and deity of Jesus, and the importance of obedience.

  • Major themes in John's epistles are sin, the love of God, the humanity and deity of Jesus, and the importance of obedience.

  • Revelation focuses on God's plan for cosmic history and the importance of perseverance during difficult circumstances.

  • Revelation focuses on God's plan for cosmic history and the importance of perseverance during difficult circumstances.

  • Revelation focuses on God's plan for cosmic history and the importance of perseverance during difficult circumstances.

  • Revelation focuses on God's plan for cosmic history and the importance of perseverance during difficult circumstances.

Using the English New Testament, this course surveys the New Testament epistles and the apocalypse. Issues of introduction and content receive emphasis as well as a continual focus on the theology of evangelism and on the contemporary relevance of the variety of issues these documents raise for contemporary life.