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Saturday, September 3 2016

1 Thessalonians 1: The Church Of Mount Olympus

"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"

The city of Thessalonica (or Thessaloniki) was a major ancient metropolis on the Thermaic Bay of what is today northern Greece. The famous Mount Olympus can be seen from the city (see the photo below). Prior to the rise of the Roman Empire, it had been within the heart of the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids), however by the first century AD, "Rome" had risen politically and militarily, but not culturally or academically, to dominate the region (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Greek remained the language of the "world" (see Paul, The Apostle To The World).

Thessaloniki and Mount Olympus

The apostle Paul visited and traveled through Thessalonica on his second and third missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey). As happened almost everywhere else, Paul encountered those who accepted the Gospel ("some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few"), as well as those who rejected it ("lewd fellows of the baser sort").

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism]: 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days [see When Is The LORD's Day?] reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. 17:8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things." (Acts 17:1-8 KJV)

At that time, those of Thessalonica who rejected the Truth even pursued Paul far beyond their own city. The result was that Paul was driven to even more places to preach the Gospel.

"17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea [see also The Berean Lesson]: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

17:13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 17:14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 17:15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed." (Acts 17:10-15 KJV)

Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonian believers was one of the first that he wrote (see also Why Did Others Write For Paul?). While not his longest letter (see The Apostle Paul's Gramma), it nevertheless contains a great amount of Christian teaching, including his famous "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

"1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church [see also Can You See 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.

1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith [see Works Means Obedience], and labour of love [see The Yoke Of Freedom], and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ [see Could Christ Return Tonight?], in the sight of God and our Father;

1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. 1:5 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. 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 1:8 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. 1:9 For they themselves show 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; 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven [see What Is The Day Of The LORD? and The Seals Of Prophecy], whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." (1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Silvanus is recorded as being with Paul when the first epistle to the Thessalonians was written (verse 1, above). Who was Silvanus?
See Who Was Silvanus?


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This Day In History, September 3

36 BC: The Battle of Naulochus. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a naval commander of Octavian (Octavian later became known as Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who declared the census that caused the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem i.e. Luke 2:1 - see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), defeated Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey, thereby ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.

301: San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Marinus.

1189: Richard I (Richard the Lion-Heart) was crowned king of England.

Britain in 600

1260: The Battle of Ayn Jalut, a decisive victory of the Mamluks of Egypt over the invading Mongols, which saved Egypt and Islam and prevented the western expansion of the Mongol empire.

1650: The Battle of Dunbar during the Third English Civil War. English Parliamentarian forces led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the forces loyal to King Charles II.

1658: Oliver Cromwell, "lord protector" of England, died at age 59.

1752: Britain and the New England colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII - see Pope Gregory's Calendar), replacing the less accurate Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar). To implement the new calendar, 11 days were officially omitted that year i.e. September 2 was followed by September 14. Some people rioted, accusing the government of stealing 11 days of life from them.

1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the revolution of some of the people (only a violent, liberal minority of the population were rebels) of the New England colonies that had been built in the wilderness nearly two centuries earlier by English pioneers and investment. Faced with political persecution and confiscation of their property, 40% of the population left for England, or Canada where they became known as United Empire Loyalists.

United Empire Loyalists The United Empire Loyalists were conservatives (honest, hard-working, successful people of all walks of life i.e. farmers, merchants, tradesmen, educators) who moved to Canada from the New England colonies because they saw no need for a rebellion and were brutally persecuted by rebel forces. Totaling about 40% of the population of the New England colonies, they were later known as United Empire Loyalists. When the U.S. invaded Canada a few years later, in the War of 1812 (1812-1814), United Empire Loyalists and their adult children and grandchildren served among the British Army and Canadian militias that successfully defended Canada from U.S. annexation (the publicly-stated goal of U.S. President James Madison when he started the war).

A plaque in Hamilton, Ontario (as well as many others across Canada) commemorates the United Empire Loyalists:

"This monument is dedicated to the lasting memory of

THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS

Who, after the Declaration of Independence, came into British North America from the seceded American colonies and who, with faith and fortitude, and under great pioneering difficulties, largely laid the foundations of this Canadian nation as an integral part of the British Empire.

Neither confiscation of their property, the pitiless persecution of them by their kinsmen in revolt, nor the galling chains of imprisonment could break their spirits, or divorce them from a loyalty almost without parallel.

No country ever had such founders --

No country in the world --

No, not since the days of Abraham."

1855: During the genocide of native Americans by white Europeans, 700 U.S. troops under General William S. Harney massacred 100 Sioux men, women and children in their village in Nebraska - one of many such slaughters during "the Indian wars."

1939: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and India declared war on Germany in response to Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland 2 days earlier. The beginning of the Second World War in Europe.

1943: During the Second World War (1939-1945), Italy surrendered to invading Allied forces in a secret armistice, but German forces continued fighting in Italy.

1944: British troops liberated Brussels.

1969: Ho Chi Minh (real name Nguyen Tat Thanh), president of North Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War, died at age 79.

1976: Viking 2 landed on Mars.

1978: Albino Luciani was coronated as Pope John Paul I. He died only 34 days later, some say under mysterious circumstances, at age 66. He was succeeded by Polish-born Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, who took the name Pope John Paul II - the first non-Italian Catholic pope in 450 years.

1987: Burundi President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed in a coup d'état led by Major Pierre Buyoya.

1994: Russia and China agreed to no longer target nuclear weapons on each other.

1999: An 87-automobile pile-up occurred on the Highway 401 freeway near Windsor, Ontario, Canada after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair blanketed the area. It was one of the worst traffic accidents in Canadian history; 7 people were killed and 62 injured.


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