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Thessalonians (Part 2)

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