1 Thessalonians 1:1
(1) "The founders of the Church of Thessalonica, who have so recently left it, greet the Church in the common Father in whom they are united."

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus.--There was no need to add "Apostle" to the name of Paul, in writing to a Church with which his relations were so familiar and so cordial: it is probably omitted for the same reason in the Epistle to the Philippians and in that to Philemon. Some see in the omission a mark of the early date of the letter, before St. Paul had assumed the title; others think he omits it in courtesy to his companions, to whom it could not be given. Both theories are disproved by 1Thessalonians 2:6. Silas takes precedence of Timothy (comp. Acts 17:14-15; Acts 18:5; 2Thessalonians 1:1) as a man of higher standing. (See Acts 15:22, and 1Timothy 4:12.)

In God.--Other Thessalonians were "in the world," "in darkness," "in their sins." The distinctive mark of these was that they were re-united to the Father of all men; and more, re-united in Christ. The words following "peace" should be struck out, not being found in the best text.

Verse 1. - Paul. He does not call himself "an apostle," not because the Thessalonians were newly converted (Chrysostom), or from tenderness to Silvanus who was not an apostle (Estius), or because his apostolic authority was not yet recognized (Jowett), or because he had merely commenced his apostolic labors (Wordsworth); but because his apostleship had never been called in question by the Thessalonians. For the same reason he omits this title in the Epistle to the Philippians; whereas he strongly insists upon it in his Epistles to the Corinthians and Galatians, because among them there were many opposed to his authority. And Silvanus. The same as the Silas of the Acts. He is mentioned as a chief man among the brethren, and a prophet or inspired teacher (Acts 15:22, 32). His Latin name renders it probable that he was a Hellenistic Jew, and, like Paul, he was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37). He was sent with Judas Barsabas from Jerusalem, to convey the apostolic decrees to Antioch; and he accompanied Paul instead of Barnabas on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:40). He suffered imprisonment with Paul at Philippi; and was engaged with him in preaching the gospel in Thessalonica, Beraea, and Corinth. His ministry at Corinth is honorably mentioned by Paul in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:9). After this there is no more mention of Silvanus in the Acts, and it is doubtful whether he was the Silvanus by whom the First Epistle of Peter was conveyed to the Churches of Asia (1 Peter 5:12). Ancient tradition, erroneously supposing that Silas and Silvanus were different persons, makes Silas the Bishop of Corinth, and Silvanus the Bishop of Thessalonica. And Timotheus. The well-known disciple of Paul. He was a native of Lystra, having a Greek father and a Jewish mother (Acts 16:1). He joined Paul and Silas on their second missionary journey at Lystra, and was with them in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth. He was with Paul on his third missionary journey, and was sent by him on a mission to Macedonia and Corinth (Acts 19:22; 1 Corinthians 16:10), and accompanied him into Asia on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). He was also with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment, when he wrote the Epistles to the Philippians and Colossians (Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1). Afterwards he resided at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3); from which he was recalled to Rome by Paul shortly before his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:21). The last mention of Timothy is in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you" (Hebrews 13:23). According to ecclesiastical tradition, he became Bishop of Ephesus, and there suffered martyrdom. Silvanus and Timotheus are associated with Paul in his address to the Thessalonians, not to give weight and authority to his Epistle, but because they assisted him in the planting of the Church at Thessalonica, and were now with him at Corinth, when he was writing this Epistle. Silvanus is placed first, because he was the older and had been longer with the apostle, and, as is evident from the Acts, was at this time the more important of the two (Acts 16:19; Acts 17:4). By being included in the address, they are represented as joint authors of the Epistle with Paul, although they were only so in name. It is possible that Paul employed one of them as his amanuensis in writing the Epistle. Unto the Church. The word "Church" denotes a select assembly; here, Christians selected from the world. It does not denote in the New Testament, as with us, a building, but the congregation. In Paul's later Epistles, those addressed are called, not the Church, but saints. Of the Thessalonians. In other Epistles the address is to the city, as Rome, Philippi, Colosse; here it is to the inhabitants. The Church of the Thessalonians was chiefly composed of converted Gentiles, with a small number of converted Jews (see Introduction). Which is; to be omitted, as not being in the original. In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. The characteristic peculiarity of the Church: they are in God and Christ, that is, in fellowship with them, united to them. "In God the Father" characterizes them as not being heathens; "in the Lord Jesus Christ" characterizes them as not being Jews. Grace be unto you, and peace. The usual apostolic benediction. "Grace" is the Greek and" peace" is the Jewish form of salutation. The Greeks commenced their epistles with wishing grace for those to whom they wrote; and the usual form of salutation among the Jews was Shalom or "peace;" the apostle combines them, thus intimating that both Greeks and Jews are one in Christ Jesus. In the Pastoral Epistles and in the Second Epistle of John the form is "Grace, mercy, and peace" (2 John 1:3.), and in the Epistle of Jude it is "Mercy, peace, and love" (Jude 1:2). From God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. These words are wanting in some important manuscripts, and are omitted in the R.V. The preponderance, however, of external authority is in their favor.

1:1-5 As all good comes from God, so no good can be hoped for by sinners, but from God in Christ. And the best good may be expected from God, as our Father, for the sake of Christ. We should pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also; remembering them without ceasing. Wherever there is a true faith, it will work; it will affect both the heart and life. Faith works by love; it shows itself in love to God, and love to our neighbour. And wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, this will appear by the exercise of patience; and it is a sign of sincerity, when in all we do, we seek to approve ourselves to God. By this we may know our election, if we not only speak of the things of God with out lips, but feel their power in our hearts, mortifying our lusts, weaning us from the world, and raising us up to heavenly things. Unless the Spirit of God comes with the word of God, it will be to us a dead letter. Thus they entertained it by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were fully convinced of the truth of it, so as not to be shaken in mind by objections and doubts; and they were willing to leave all for Christ, and to venture their souls and everlasting condition upon the truth of the gospel revelation.Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus,.... These are the persons concerned in this epistle, and who send their greetings and salutations to this church; Paul was the inspired writer of it, and who is called by his bare name, without any additional epithet to it, as elsewhere in his other epistles; where he is either styled the servant, or apostle, or prisoner of Christ, but here only Paul: the reason for it is variously conjectured; either because he was well known by this church, having been lately with them; or lest these young converts should be offended and stumble at any pompous title, which they might imagine carried an appearance of arrogance and pride; or because there were as yet no false apostles among them, who had insinuated anything to the disadvantage of Paul, as in other places, which obliged him to assert his character and magnify his office; or rather because this was the first epistle he wrote, and he being conscious to himself of his own meanness, and that he was the least of the apostles, and unworthy to be called one, chose not to use the title. Silvanus is the same with Silas, who was with the apostle at Thessalonica and at Corinth, when he wrote this epistle; he was originally a member of the church at Jerusalem, and was one of the chief of the brethren there, and a prophet; see Acts 17:4, Timothy was also with the apostle at the same place, and was sent back by him from Athens to know their state, and returned to Corinth to him with Silas; he stands last, as being the younger, and perhaps was the apostle's amanuensis, and therefore in modesty writes his name last: the reason of their being mentioned was because, having been with the apostle at this place, they were well known by the church, who would be glad to hear of their welfare; as also to show their continued harmony and consent in the doctrines of the Gospel; they stand in the same order in 2 Corinthians 1:19,

unto the church of the Thessalonians: which consisted of several of the inhabitants of Thessalonica, both Jews and Gentiles; See Gill on Acts 17:4, who were called under the ministry of the word by the grace of God, out of darkness into marvellous light, and were separated from the rest of the world, and incorporated into a Gospel church state. This was a particular congregated church of Christ. Some have thought it was not as yet organized, or had proper officers in it; since no mention is made of pastors and deacons, but the contrary is evident from 1 Thessalonians 5:12, where they are exhorted to know, own, and acknowledge them that laboured among them, and were over them in the Lord, and esteem them highly for their works' sake. This church is said to be

in God the Father; were interested in his love and free favour, as appears by their election of God, 1 Thessalonians 1:4, and they were in the faith of God the Father, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the profession of it, and so were distinguished from an assembly of Heathens that were in the faith of idols, and not of the one true and living God, and especially as the Father of Christ; they were in fellowship with God the Father, and they were drawn by the efficacy of his grace to himself and to his Son, and were gathered together and embodied in a church state under his direction and influence; he was the author of them as a church, and they were plants of Christ's heavenly Father's planting, not to be plucked up; and they were, as the Arabic version renders it, "addicted" to God the Father; they were devoted to his service; they had his word among them, which they had received not as the word of men, but as the word of God; and his ordinances were duly and faithfully administered among them, and attended on by them:

and in the Lord Jesus Christ; they were chosen in him before the foundation of the world; they were chosen in him as their head and representative; they were in him as members of his body, and as branches in the vine; they were openly in him by the effectual calling and conversion, were in the faith of him, and in the observance of his commands, an in communion with him; and so were distinguished from a Jewish synagogue or congregation: all this being true, at least of the far greater part of them, is said of them all, in a judgment of charity, they being under a profession of the Christian religion:

grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the apostle's usual salutation and wish in all his epistles to the churches; See Gill on Romans 1:7, the words "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" are left out in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; and the Arabic version omits the last clause, "and the Lord Jesus Christ"; and the Ethiopic version only reads, "peace be unto you and his grace".

(a) Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 10. (b) Ptolom. l. 3. c. 13. (c) Strabe, l. 7.

Colossians 4:18
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