Summary 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2


This is out of order.  Should have gone before the post of Chapter 3.

To summarize Chapter 2:

The bulk of this chapter is actually Paul feeling the need to either justify or explain himself.  He comes across as maybe more than a bit unsure of himself,  maybe a bit defensive, maybe that he feels the need to flatter the Thessalonian community for whatever reason.

Here I should note that some of this may be rhetorical, a point I did not make in the individual notes because, IMO, it seems a bit more important to take things at face value rather than to look at the overall.  However, some of his defensiveness–defending himself against being greedy, as in 2:7–seems a little too specific to be anything but a legitimate defense against a charge that was directed at him.

In short, verses 1-10, and a large portion of 11-20 would best be considered as pastoral. Paul is building relationships, communicating his concern, rejoicing in their successes, defending himself when he feels the need. We have to remember this was probably one of the earliest letters he wrote.

Verses 11-20 also have some key doctrinal issues, such as:

  • the kingdom of God; as yet unexplained
  • Paul’s gospel is the true word of God
  • persecutions
  • the pre-existing communities in Judea, exact location unspecified
  • the idea that the behavior of the Judean community should be imitated; implies something at least approaching a moral code of conduct
  • Christ killers (I’m a bit uncomfortable even writing that, but there it is)
  • who was persecuting/opposing Paul for preaching to Gentiles?
  • salvation, through fulfillment of  sins
  • the wrath at the end–unspecified
  • the Parousia–presumably at the end
  • Satan

About James, brother of Jesus

I have a BA from the University of Toronto in Greek and Roman History. For this, I had to learn classical Greek and Latin. In seminar-style classes, we discussed both the meaning of the text and the language. U of T has a great Classics Dept. One of the professors I took a Senior Seminar with is now at Harvard. I started reading the New Testament as a way to brush up on my Greek, and the process grew into this. I plan to comment on as much of the NT as possible, starting with some of Paul's letters. After that, I'll start in on the Gospels, starting with Mark.

Posted on July 15, 2012, in 1 Thessalonians, epistles, Paul's Letters and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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