The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 170 of 243
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Thessalonica (modern Saloniki) was originally called Therme, but was refounded by
Cassander about B.C.315 and renamed Thessalonica after his wife, who was a step-sister
of Alexander the Great. It was an important city in Roman and Macedonian times and
the Romans made it the capital of Macedonia in B.C.164. The city has always had a
large proportion of Jews among its inhabitants.
The first epistle which Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church revolves around the
three graces of faith, hope and love (I Cor. 13: 13). It is significant that the Apostle
frequently groups them together in other epistles.
Thus we have faith followed by seven gifts in Rom. 12: 6; love in seven aspects in
12: 9, and hope with seven consequences in 12: 12.  In Col. 1: 4, 5 we find them
grouped together again as also in Heb. 10: 22-24.  It should be noted that in verse 23
`faith' should read `hope'.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11: 6). We are saved by hope
(Rom. 8: 24) a hope that does not make ashamed (5: 5) and the love of God which is
poured out in our hearts is the greatest of all gifts and includes them all.
So in I Thessalonians we have the `work of faith, and the labour of love, and the
patience of hope'. These are gathered up again in the last chapter.
"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love;
and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (I Thess. 5: 8).
Chapters 1: and 2: are largely introductory, the real theme being reached in
chapter 3: and onwards. There the three graces form the framework of this section--
3: 1-10.
3: 11 - 4: 12.
4: 13 - 5: 11.
We now give the outline of the two opening chapters.
I Thessalonians 1: and 2:
A | 1: 2-10. | a | Remembrance without ceasing.
b | The gospel came not in word only.
c | Result. Ye became followers.
d | End. Deliverance from wrath.
B | 2: 1-12. How the gospel came to Thessalonica.
A | 2: 13-16. | a | Thanks without ceasing.
b | The Word received--not as the word of man.
c | Result. Ye became followers.
d | End. The opposers. Wrath to the uttermost.