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Bible Commentaries

The People's Bible

1 Thessalonians

- 1 Thessalonians

by Joseph Parker

1 Thessalonians

(Corinth, a.d. 52)

[Note. "This Epistle is rather practical than doctrinal. It was suggested rather by personal feeling, than by any urgent need, which might have formed a centre of unity, and impressed a distinct character on the whole. Under these circumstances we need not expect to trace unity of purpose, or a continuous argument, and any analysis must be more or less artificial. The body of the Epistle, however, may conveniently be divided into two parts, the former of which, extending over the first three chapters, is chiefly taken up with a retrospect of the Apostle's relation to his Thessalonian converts, and an explanation of his present circumstances and feelings, while the latter, comprising the 4th and 5th chapters, contains some seasonable exhortations. At the close of each of these divisions is a prayer, commencing with the same words, 'May God himself,' etc., and expressed in somewhat similar language.

"The following is a table of contents: "Salutation ( 1Th 1:1 ).

"1. Narrative portion ( 1Th 1:2 to 1Th 3:13 ).

1. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 . The Apostle gratefully records their conversion to the Gospel and progress in the faith.

2. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 . He reminds them how pure and blameless his life and ministry among them had been.

3. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 . He repeats his thanksgiving for their conversion, dwelling especially on the persecutions which they had endured.

4. 1Th 2:17 to 1 Thessalonians 3:10 . He describes his own suspense and anxiety, the consequent mission of Timothy to Thessalonica, and the encouraging report which he brought back.

5. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 . The Apostle's prayer for the Thessalonians.

"2. Hortatory portion ( 1Th 4:1 to 1Th 5:24 ).

1. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 . Warning against impurity.

2. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 . Exhortation to brotherly love and sobriety of conduct.

3. 1Th 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11 . Touching the Advent of the Lord.

a. The dead shall have their place in the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 .

b. The time, however, is uncertain, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 .

c. Therefore all must be watchful, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 .

4. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 . Exhortation to orderly living and the due performance of social duties.

5. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 . Injunctions relating to prayer and spiritual matters generally.

6. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 , 1 Thessalonians 5:24 . The Apostle's prayer for the Thessalonians.

"The Epistle closes with personal injunctions and a benediction ( 1Th 5:25-28 )." Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. ]