1 Thessalonians, 1
1: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2: We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3: Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; 4: Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 5: For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6: And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 7: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8: For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9: For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
This letter of Paul to the Thessalonians is one of the earliest, if not the first letter he wrote, that is recorded in scripture. Paul had been in Thessalonica only for a few weeks and they had heard Paul say that the coming kingdom was near. But in the meanwhile some believers had died and they didn’t know whether they might miss out on the coming kingdom. They wrote to Paul asking him to clear up their questions. So Paul writes this letter in part to explain what will happen to those who have died as believers.
Paul begins this letter including his co-workers Silas and Timothy and his customary greeting. Then he begins by telling them, that whenever he thinks of the believers at Thessalonica he always thanks God. And he always makes mention of them in his prayers. He says, I am constantly reminded of your faithful work for God, your loving service and you patient assurance in Gods future blessing. Paul says, God has chosen you to serve him like this. Then he reminds them that the Gospel that he brought to them was not just words and speeches but it was a wonderful demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit at work. And our preaching was not expressed in any doubt but was full of confidence in God. And you became our disciples in the Lord because you received the gospel in the middle of great troubles but full of joy in the Holy Spirit. Then Paul goes on to say, you became great examples to all the christians of Greece, because from you the gospel rang out clear and true in the whole area were your faith to God became known. And because of this we did not need to go and preach there. Your hearers tell us how successful our ministry was and how that you turned away from idolatry to serve the living true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, who he raised from the dead – Jesus. Who delivered us from the wrath to come.