Archive for the ‘1 Thessalonians’ Category



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.  2  We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;  3  constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,  4  knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.


5  For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  6  You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,  7  so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  8  For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.  9  For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,  10  and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.  2:1  For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2  but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

C    3  For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;  4  but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.

D    5  For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed God is witness — 6  nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.  7  But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

E    8  Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased:

a   to impart to you not only the gospel of God

b   but also our own lives,


b’  9  For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you,

a’  we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

D’   10  You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;  11  just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children12  so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

C’   13  And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted itnot as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.


14  For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,  15  who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out.  They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men,  16  hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.


17  But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while– in person, not in spirit– were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.  18  For we wanted to come to you– I, Paul, more than once– and yet Satan thwarted us.  19  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  20  FOR YOU ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY!




–  1 Thessalonians is generally thought to be the first N.T. and Pauline writing.  It’s interesting that the first N.T. writing may have begun with a chiasmus.

–  In this chiasmus Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy (henceforth PST) use what I like to call ‘triple lists’.  That is, they group some of their ideas into three’s.  I believe they do this eight (or nine) times throughout this chiasmus.  The eight occasions can be found above.  They are in italicized and underlined

–  The triple lists seem to be absent following the chiasmus for a couple of chapters or so.  They do seem to reappear near the end of 1 Thessalonians. 

–  It seems as though the triple lists are an intended and integral part of the chiasmus.  They seem to be part of the author’s artistry.

–  The presence of triple lists in 1 Thess. 1-2 help to delineate the chiasmus.  That is, throughout the chiasmus, PST use triple lists.  When the chiasmus ends, the triple lists essentially end.  This helps us to see where the chiasmus lies:  beginning to end.  It’s where the triple lists exist.

–  The way the chiasmus begins and ends also helps to delineate where the chiasmus lies.  It begins with greetings.  A natural way to open.  It ends by referring to Jesus’ 2nd coming – looking to the future – the end game, if you will, in Christian thought, hope, and history.  The chiasmus ends well – in a reasonable way.


–  A/A’:


–  These sections are all about PST trying to connect with the Thessalonians.  A contains a fairly typical greeting:  ‘grace … peace … thanks … prayers’.  Here the connection between PST and the Thessalonians is being made by letter.  But this connection was not ideal.  Ideally, PST (or at least Paul) would have liked to connect in person – as mentioned in A’.  Because the ‘in person’ connecting was thwarted by Satan, a letter eventually became the ‘connecting’ reality.

–  The idea of connecting is continued in A’.  Ultimately an in-person connection will be made at Jesus’ second coming. 

–  In summary, we have  3 forms of connecting in A/A’:  attempts to connect in person in the past;  a connection by letter in the present; and the hope of an ultimate connection in the future.

–  It should be noted though A is not actually about connecting.  Here PST notes 3 important aspects of the Thessalonians’ life and experience:  faith, hope, and love (a triple list!).  In my opinion, these 3 items are of primary concern for PST, and will form the subject matter for the central portion of 1 Thessalonians.  In other words, PST tells us right up front what to expect later in their letter. 


Word matches:

–  Both A and A’ mention Paul.   In A, Paul is mentioned first, while in A’, Paul is singled out. 

–  Both sections have a triple list that includes the word ‘hope’.  A has “… faith, … love, … hope“, while A’ has  “hope … joy … crown of exultation” (is there a chiastic relationship here?). 

–  Both sections use the word ‘presence‘.  In A, ‘presence’ is related to “God the Father” while in A’, ‘presence’ is connected to the “Lord Jesus Christ”.  

–  The word ‘presence’ is used 4 times in 1 Thessalonians (7 times overall in Paul’s writings).  Besides A and A’, ‘presence’ is also used twice in 3:9-13 – both times in a very similar way as they are used in A/A’.  I would say that in 3:9-13, PST have combined the ideas in A/A’.  Perhaps confirming the intended A/A’ connection?

–  Both sections use the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ”  (A:  1:1, 1:3;  A’:  2:9).  In A it is used twice .   The phrase is not used elsewhere in the chiasmus. 

–  Interestingly, as with the word ‘presence’ above, the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” also appears twice in 3:9-13, again, perhaps confirming PST’s the A/A’ connection (“Lord Jesus Christ” also appears 3 times near the end of 1 Thessalonians (5:9, 23, 28).  There’s a sense in which the phrase is used at the beginning and end within 1 Thessalonians – e.g., of the chiasmus, and the letter overall.

–  It’s interesting then to see these 2 sections end with a flurry of similarities (triple lists, hope, presence, Lord Jesus Christ):

–  A: “… constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father …”

–  A’:  “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”





To be contined …



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