Monthly Archives: May 2012

Summary: 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 1

To sum up:

Paul has introduced a number of concepts:

  • Jesus was/is the Christ, which is a translation of ‘messiah’.
  • He is referred to as ‘lord,’ which, given the history of ‘adonnai’ in Hebrew literature,  likely elevates him to divine status.
  • Paul talks about a ‘spirit’, In fact, some of the manuscripts refer to this as a/the ‘holy spirit’, while others omit ‘holy.’
  • Therefore, we cannot conclude he is talking about The Holy Spirit, a separate ‘person’ as the later Trinitarian doctrine will stipulate. Despite this, many translations do indeed use “The Holy Spirit.” This is likely to be an anachronism, reading back into Paul a meaning that simply was not intended.
  • Paul believes he preaches the Good News with power, source unspecified.
  • Jesus is called the son of God.
  • The son of God will return from the sky, imagery that will be repeated in Revelations.
  • Paul refers to the living and true god, which continues on a Jewish tradition.

From a pastoral point of view:

  • This is a congregation that Paul nurtured, even if he didn’t start it from the beginning.
  • The Thessalonians converted directly from paganism. They were not Jews, as were most of the followers of Jesus in Judea.
  • The Thessalonians are noted for works of faith.
  • We are told God is a ‘loving’ God.

Perhaps some could be switched between categories, but that is, I believe, a minor quibble.