2016-04-26 - 1 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Verse One
- Context (Cont'd)
First, we note that while this letter was written by and represents the inspired words of Paul, it comes from Silvanus and Timothy as well. It was the report of these men that had led to the writing of the letter, and by including their names, they are demonstrating their agreement with it. This would eliminate any danger of individuals saying, "what does Paul know, he hasn't been around lately?"
The basis of the letter is not grounded in Paul's independent views, but those formed under the leading of the Holy Spirit. The salutation is firmly tied to the reality of who God is, “God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. The language combines the two names under one proposition, therefore equating the two and teaching the deity of Christ. All that Paul says comes from the Lord - not from himself. This must be understood, because there is a real tendency today, among certain groups, to try to discount teachings of Paul, where they are disagreed with.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV).
Paul greets the believers with what is a common greeting for him, “Grace to you and peace.” This relates to the concepts of salvation in both the Greek (Charis) and Hebrew (Shalom). Grace, for Paul, relates directly back to God's gift of undeserved salvation. Peace is a concept that ties back to Paul's Hebrew background, related to the concept in Shalom of peace with God, as well as a wholeness, both physical and spiritual, a product of that relationship. Peace with God only comes through salvation. True Grace and Peace can only be available to the child of God, the one who has accepted Christ as Lord (that is God) and Savior.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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CFD | April 2016
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