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After Alexander the Great established the Greek Empire (fourth century BC), the Greeks built many magnificent cities. One of these was Thessalonica in Alexander’s home state of Macedonia. When the Greek Empire was later replaced by the Roman, Macedonia was made a Roman province, with Thessalonica as its political centre. The city was on the main route from Rome to Asia Minor, and is still an important city today.

There is only one recorded occasion on which Paul visited Thessalonica. This was on his second missionary journey, when he founded the church there, despite much opposition from the Jews. The church consisted mainly of Gentiles (Acts 17:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). Although Paul worked to help support himself while in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8), he received additional support from another Macedonian church, Philippi (Philippians 4:16).

The church continued to grow after Paul left, and within a short time had spread the gospel throughout the surrounding countryside (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14). An important man in the church at Thessalonica was Aristarchus, who later went with Paul to Rome and remained there during Paul’s imprisonment (Acts 20:4; Acts 27:1-2; Colossians 4:10; Philem 24). (For an area map and for details of the two letters Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, see THESSALONIANS, LETTERS TO THE.)

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Thessalonica'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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