1 Thessalonians 1:1
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ…
At a point almost midway between the apostle's call and his martyrdom he penned this first of his thirteen Epistles, which was, perhaps, the earliest book of New Testament Scripture, and addressed to one of the primary centers of European Christianity.
I. THE AUTHORS OF THE SALUTATION. "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy." Simply Paul, without official adjunct of any sort, for there was no one in the Thessalonian Church to challenge his apostleship or his relationship to Christ. He associates Silvanus and Timothy with himself in the salutation as they were associated with him in the original foundation of the Church; Silvanus being placed next to himself, because he was of older standing and greater weight in the Church than Timothy, a comparatively young evangelist.
II. THE CHURCH TO WHICH THE SALUTATION WAS ADDRESSED. "To the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
1. Its situation. Thessalonica was the capital of all Macedonia, and is still the second city of European Turkey. Important then as now by its commerce; important by its place on the great road which connected Rome with its Asiatic dependencies; but more important in the eye of the apostle as a grand center of missionary operations both by laud and sea, and with a mingled population of Jews and Gentiles.
2. Its true character as a Church. It was "the Church of the Thessalonians" - a regularly organized community of Christians, mostly Gentiles, having the root and ground of its spiritual existence in union with the Father and the Son. They were "in the fellowship of the Father and the Son," because they were "dwelling in God, and God in them," and "they were in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ." The one fellowship implies the other; for Jesus said, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me;" yet it is also true that it is "God who calls us into the fellowship of the Son" (1 Corinthians 1:9). This double fellowship is secured by the bond of the Holy Spirit. As enjoyed by the Thessalonians it implied:
(1) Their devotion to the truth; for only "as abiding in the doctrine of Christ" they would have "both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9 1 John 2:24). There is no fellowship but in the truth. To be in darkness is to be out of fellowship (1 John 1:6).
(2) Their unity. "Even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21).
(3) Their love to one another. "If we love one another God abideth in us" (1 John 4:12).
(4) Their boldness in the day of judgment (1 John 2:28).
(5) Their ultimate perfection. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one" (John 17:21-23). Behold thus the high dignity and blessed privilege of the Church at Thessalonica.
III. THE SALUTATION. "Grace and peace be unto you." (See homiletical hints on Galatians 1:5; Colossians 1:2.) - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.