Al read the nagamonti prayer of Paul.Paul talks about not depending on the people he is visiting, but maybe there is a hint of arrogance and braggedadocia.Paul has to assert his credentials. But Paul was making policies for the churches. The story of the problem Paul had in Phillipi is told in Acts 16:13-19. There were many competing gods, idols, ideologies, and Paul had to preach the difference between Christ’s teachings and these other religious teachings. Many of them were more developed and possibly more organized and it would have been more difficult to distinguish from these other groups.
earliest writer from the early church. thessalonica was in Macedonia. the letter shows pauls relationship with the church he had established. they still thought jesus would come any day. people have served many gods but we believe in jesus as true God. distinguish between a conversio and a call. the differencef between jewish christion and jewish beliefs. look at bishop tsendall. calls and conversion. paul was with the disciples in Damascus and learned about the church. the early years they just fragments, but by 150 there were whole letters. paul congratulates them on getting new members and living their faith. when the jews conquered territories the people linving there might become jews and the major distinction was that such jewish women couldnt marry priests. verse 5 suggesta that the oral tradition was what the people believed. did they actually reference the gospels in other books. when did the jews settle on what their scriptures are? is it just the pentateuch?
Paul ends this letter talking about the second coming of Christ. He says that the people of the Thessalonian church don’t need to be told when Jesus will come again. They are prepared no matter what. This may be a ploy on Paul’s part to convince them that they need to be strong in their faith. He says the second coming will come as a thief in the night or just totally unexpected, but they need to be prepared. He has a nice phrase for the preparedness he desires of them. He says that they should put on the breastplate of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation. He makes them to be soldiers that have armor to protect them until Jesus returns. Then he goes on to tell them how they should live their lives. He urges them to encourage one another and to treat each other with respect and encouragement. Do not repay anyone evil for evil but always seek to do good to everyone. He urged them to pray and give thanks in all circumstances. Test everything, but hold fast to what is good. Matthew Henry in his commentary says that a truly religious life is a life of constant joy. I think that people should focus on this aspect and the charge to do good to others and put a positive spin on life even in times of difficulties. We must be careful not to quench the holy spirit. We could do this by indulging carnal lusts and affections and minding only earthly things. He says believers hinder their growth in grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. He concludes by urging the people to read the scriptures and that they should strive to insure that there will be versions of the Bible that are accessible to everyone in their language. This must have been what Martin Luther was reading when he got upset with the Catholic church.
Mark announced the sad news about Frank and Mary Scamman’s daughter’s death. We then started reading I Thessalonians 4 and we focused on several verses that were interesting. A question was raised about verse 3 where Paul cautions against sexual immorality. The verse in Greek is pornias which is the root of pornography. I think the key is verse 4 that believers should know how to control their own body and this is stated in singular first person as opposed to most of the rest of the verses here which seem to be plural versions of the pronoun. We discussed why Paul was cautioning against sexual immorality. Was it because there were so many influences like the pagan sex worship all around, or was it because there were people among The Way who were doing this? John R. W. Stott is quoted at the link https://bible.org/seriespage/sanctification-sex-and-love-1-thessalonians-41-12 that it is such a basic human urge, but also because of the promiscuity of the Graeco-Roman world. Also both Corinth, where Paul was writing, and Thessalonica, where the people who he was writing to lived, were infamous for their immorality. I was quite likely that some of the women who were in the church had been temple prostitutes. In Corinth, Aphrodite sent her servants out as prostitutes to roam the streets by night and Thessalonica was associated with the worship of dieties called Cabiri in whose rites gross immorality was promoted in the name of religion. It was fairly accepted at that time that men either could not or would not limit themselves to their wife as their only partner.
We then talked about V 13 where some versions have people asleep in Jesus awaiting the second coming when they will go to heaven, whereas other versions have people dying in Jesus and then being taken to heaven at the second coming. Paul was preaching the believers would be taken to be with Jesus at the right time. People at that time were wondering when the second coming would happen. This is the scripture that is associated with the ‘rapture.’ The Holy Spirit here could be interpreted as life giving breath. In looking at the Greek for this passage, the stem is ‘than’ for death, but ‘quinono’ for asleep and the believers are associated with quinono or sleep and Jesus was associated with than or death. So Jesus died in order to overcome death and we are asleep in Jesus to be taken to Him at the second coming. Paul’s words became so dominant in the early church because he was writing to all the churches away from Jerusalem, whereas the disciples like Peter and James didn’t need to write so much. There probably isn’t much to say that what Paul was writing didn’t disagree with what Peter and James were teaching. The one big dispute is on the issue of whether Gentiles needed to be circumcised. Paul talked about Kairos or wonderful as apposed to the chronos or time of something happening.
We talked some about the beginning of Thessalonica, and a link to Wikopedia says The city was founded around 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and twenty-six other local villages. King Cassander of Macedon named the new city after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great. She gained her name (“victory of Thessalians”, from Greek: nikē “victory”) from her father, Philip II, to commemorate her birth on the day of his gaining a victory over the Phocians, who were defeated with the help of Thessalian horsemen, the best in Greece at that time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Thessaloniki
Out thoughts and prayers are with the Mary and Frank and their family at this time of sadness.
More effusive intro. Some have persecutions in verse 3 rather than affliction. Gene asked about vs 1 and what was it he could bear no longer. Why was he alone? We sent Timothy to you to establish and exhort you in your faith. What about our witness? What is our persecution? Mark says there is a social lid on our witness. We imagine there will be an adverse reaction to our witness. Al talked about a medusa on their front door, an indication of welcome and good will. Vs 8 Paul delighted in knowing that the people at Thessalonica were still faithful because of the report from Timothy. In Athens where Paul was at this time, the Christian witness was difficult because the people were caught up in the the cult of Rome. It was the government established religion. Paul is encouraged by the continued faith of the Thessalonians. Frank brought up the difficulty because of the distance involved as it was over 300 miles from Athens to Thessalinica. But yet, the mail in the Roman empire was delivered in 30 days between any two points in the empire.
We then got into a discussion about Satan. Satan stopped him in 2:18, but Jesus got them thru in 3:11. Erasmus said Christians are superstitious and there is little difference between the pagans and Christians in that regard. John said the whole idea of Satan is superstitious. Does God or Satan punish or reward us? Don’t we try to see God as being responsible for good things in our lives, while satan is responsible for those times when we fail or bad things happen to us. Satan must be very powerful!
Paul thought his experience meeting the spirit of Christ on the road to Damascus could happen to anyone and it is glorious if it happens to you. How do we maintain relationships and what causes them to go awry. Maybe August: Osage County is an example of relationship problems. Does cancer take something away that will overcome problems in a relationship? Who is the enemy? We have gotten so used to profanity or vulgarity that we can’t distinguish what the role of language is for us. People in that time were dying without Christ and Christians having doubts about their faith because they had been taught to expect Jesus’ return at some near term time. They faced the same problem we have to this day of not knowing when Jesus will come again. How do we maintain our faith in light of this?
As Paul writes to the Thessalonians he is realizing that his thoughts about the future with Jesus returning soon were not happening. He has to adjust his thoughts to the way this affects how people should live in the hope of Jesus. In this chapter Paul expresses the most anti-Jewish sentiments of any of his writings. In 2:14-16, he accuses the Jews of persecuting the Christians in Jerusalem and also says they were responsible for the death of Christ. Some think this section wasn’t written by Paul, because he doesn’t include anything like this in his other letters. However, some say the Jews were just playing a role that God intended for them, because Jesus was intended to die. Some thought that these were the words of Paul in his younger days and that he may have repented of them as he grew older. Was Paul being arrogant because of his practice of reciting his accomplishments or was he just trying to provide the people with authority for his words?
We got onto a discussion of Luther’s three uses of the law because of the views that the Gentiles had to understand about the laws that Jews had followed for years. The first use of the law is to keep sin in check, while the second use of the law is to mirror sin in believer’s hearts to lead them to see their sins and in that way prepare them for the gospel. The third use which some think came from Philip Melanchthon is to serve as a means of sanctification of the believers. This was an attempt to explain the use of the law, because Jesus shows us God as being defined by the good news of the gospel, whereas just seeing the law presents God as a hard taskmaster who can never be satisfied.
We talked some about the background for this letter. This was Paul’s first letter and was probably written by the end of 52 AD. Here is a link to a site that suggests a time line for Paul’s journeys and the epistles he wrote. http://www.matthewmcgee.org/paultime.html It was the first written book in the New Testament. Bible scholars think Paul wrote this letter from Corinth after Timothy rad returned from Macedonia with news of the state of the church in Thessalonica. Paul was encouraging the people there, but the last two chapters addresses issues of doctrine. Paul urges them to go on working quietly while waiting in hope for the return of Christ. The letter was an affirmation for some of the converts in Thessalonica. Verse 8 probably refers to Paul and Silas (Silvanus) and he indicated that because of his earlier work there and the way they were evangelizing that he and Silas need not do further evangelizing there. We got into questions about how much people traveled in those days and how long Paul’s journeys took and how he traveled. There is a map below giving Paul’s second missionary trip which was the one on which he visited Thessalonica. While he was on the trip he received a message from God to visit Thessalonica. Here is a link that describes his second trip. http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_02.htm
For some background on Paul and this letter to the people at Thessalonica. Paul’s conversion took place not long after Christ’s time on earth in 33-36. Paul visited Thessalonica with Timothy and Silas (Silvanius) on his second missionary journey. He visited one of the chief Jewish synagogues in the area and for 3 Sabbaths explains why Jesus is the prophesied Savior. It is suspected that some of the Jews were envious of the Gospel’s success formed a mob and started a riot. The crowd went to the house of Jason where it was reported that Paul was staying and forced Jason to go to the local magistrate to defend himself. Jason was soon released, but Paul and Silas were sent by the brethren of Jason out of the city to Berea. Thessalonica became part of the Roman empire in 168 B.C. There were a lot of gentiles that attended the Jewish synagogue. Here is the link to the above info: http://www.biblestudy.org/biblepic/thessalonica-apostle-paul-missionary-journeys.html
Pharaisaic Judaizers went to Antioch (Acts 15:1-5) in the late summer of 49 A.D. and taught that circumcision is necessary before a person can be saved. Paul, Barnabas, and others (Galatians 2:1-2) are sent to Jerusalem to confer with other apostles , elders and brethren concerning the relationship between circumcision and salvation. This gathering has been called the Jerusalem Conference. Paul and others had a private meeting with James, Peter, and John about this question and they agreed that circumcision is not required for Gentiles to be saved. James wrote a letter to this effect that Paul and Silas then took to Antioch to deliver this letter to the people there. This was the beginning of Paul’s second missionary journey. The link to this material is http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/apostle-paul-second-missionary-journey-map.html
There is a map of Paul’s second missionary journey below: