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he writes his two epistles to the Thessalonians. With regard to the date of these epistles,
Conybeare and Howson give the following notes:
"It was written not long after the conversion of the Thessalonians (I Thess. 1: 8, 9),
while the tidings of it were still spreading (apaggelousia, present tense) through
Macedonia and Achaia, and whilst St. Paul could still speak of himself as only
taken from them for a short season (I Thess. 2: 17).
St. Paul had been recently at Athens (3: 1), and had already preached in Achaia
(1: 7, 8).
Timotheus and Silas were just returned (arti, 3: 6) from Macedonia, which
happened soon after St. Paul's arrival at Corinth."
These epistles to the Thessalonians were not given to reveal some new or esoteric
doctrine, but to help those who had already believed and been taught, and now needed
encouragement and correction by the way.
The Jews appear to have waited for some favourable opportunity for venting their
anger against the Apostle, and the coming of a new Roman Governor seems to have
provided them with the long desired weapon. Gallio was the younger brother of Seneca,
and took his name from Junius Gallio the rhetorician, who had adopted him (Dio. Cass.
40: 35). Tacitus informs us that Gallio died in the year 65 (Tac. An. 15: 73), and Pliny
tells us that after his consulship he had a serious illness, on which account he took a
sea-voyage (Pliny N. H. 31: 33). We also learn from his brother Seneca that it was in
Achaia that he boarded a ship for the sake of his health (See Ep. 104). Gallio would not
have been appointed deputy until his brother Seneca had been restored to favour, which
makes the earliest possible date A.D.50, for in A.D.49 Seneca had been recalled from his
exile in Corsica and appointed tutor to the young Nero. Prefects were bound by edict to
quit Rome about the middle of April. When Cicero traversed the same course, he took
about 50 days to get to Cilicia, so that Gallio would have arrived at Corinth at some time
during June. We are therefore practically forced to put the date of Gallio's proconsulship
at A.D.53, a very striking testimony to Luke's accuracy as a historian. Moreover, under
Tiberias, Achaia had been an Imperial Province, while under Claudius it was restored to
the Senate and reckoned as an "unarmed province", governed by a proconsul (A.V.
"deputy"). In all these changes, never once does Luke falter or make a mistake. Critics
who have attempted to discredit his accuracy have been covered with confusion, and
some, like Sir William Ramsay, have been converted to a belief in his inspiration.
Seneca spoke of his brother as "the sweet Gallio", and said of him that "no mortal is
so sweet to any single person as he is to all mankind". It is in this light that we must
understand the comment: "Gallio cared for none of these things." The attempt to scare
him by the charge "This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law"
failed, and before Paul could make his defence, Gallio dismissed the case. Had it been a
breach of Roman law, Gallio would have dealt with it as a Roman, but seeing that there
had been committed no "wrong or wicked lewdness", and that it was evidently some
squabble about Jewish laws and customs, he says to the Jews, "Look ye to it, for I will be
no judge of such matters". Thus, through the instrumentality of Gallio, the promise made
by the Lord in the vision was fulfilled.