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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Day 328: The Thessalonian letters

Trying saying that without lisping!

Exhortations to love and purity
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Comfort concerning those who have died
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The Lord’s return
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Other instructions and conclusion
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Second Thessalonian letter: Comfort in persecution
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
The coming of Christ
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Instruction in conduct
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, 3:1-15
Final prayer
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
End of Paul’s second journey
Acts 18:18-22

Paul had to leave Thessalonica in a hurry, and perhaps there were things he never had a chance to tell them. They do seem to be worried about what happens to people when they die, and so Paul wants to offer them some reassurance about that. He also has something to say to them about Jesus’ return - it could be any day, but as Jesus said, it will be a surprise. The rest of his first letter is general encouragement: chin up! keep going! you’re doing fine! sort of stuff.
His second letter opens by encouraging them to hang on in the face of persecution. Then he goes back to the second coming - they’re still fretting about it, thinking that Paul had said something like Jesus has already come. What?? Have we missed it?
Paul’s also heard that some people in Thessalonian church were being idle and disruptive, so he ticks them off, and warns them to earn the food they eat. But on the whole, he is well pleased with this little church - they are getting on fine.
Returning from Acts, Paul moves on from Corinth, pays his respects to Jerusalem, and then visits many of the other churches that he established. His role now is not simply that of evangelist, he is concerned that the churches he has started should go on in their faith.

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