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…
The ordinary salutation of the East was one of peace, and is so still. Seated on his fiery steed and armed to the teeth, the Bedouin careers along the desert. Catching, away to the haze of the burning sands, a form similarly mounted and armed approaching him, he is instantly on the alert; for life is a precarious possession among these wild sons of freedom. His long spear drops to the level; and grasping it in his sinewy hand he presses forward, till the black eyes that glance out from the folds of his shawl recognize in the stranger one of a friendly tribe, between whom and him there is no quarrel, no question of blood to settle. So, for the sun is hot, and it is far to their tents, like two ships in mid-ocean, they pass; they pull no rein, but sweep on, with a "Salem Aleikum" — "Peace be unto you." Like their flowing attire, the black tents of Kedar, the torch procession at their marriages, this salutation is one of the many stereotyped habits of the East. The modern traveller hears it fresh and unchanged, as if it were but yesterday that David sent it to Nabal. Beautiful as the custom is, like the fragrant wallflower that springs from the mouldering ruin it adorns, it sprung from an unhappy condition of society. Why peace? Because frequent wars made the people of these lands sigh for peace. War does not take us unawares. We see the black storm cloud gathering before it bursts; and by prudent policy may avert it, or, if it be inevitable, prepare bravely to meet it. But this curse of humanity fell on those countries with the suddenness of a sea squall that strikes a ship, and, ere time is found to reef a sail or lower a boat, throws her on her beam ends, and sends her, crew and cargo, foundering into the deep. Look at the case of Job, at Abraham's rescue of Lot at the spoiling of Ziklag (1 Samuel 30), and it is easy to understand how the most kind and common greeting in such countries was "Peace be unto you." With these words our Lord on returning from the grave accosted His disciples. How well did they suit the occasion! The battle of salvation has been fought out, and a great victory won; and in that salutation Jesus, His own herald, announces the news to the anxious Church. He has fulfilled the anthem with which angels sang His advent to this distracted, guilty world. Though He had to recall her from heaven, where she had fled in alarm at the Fall, or rather, had to seek her in the gloomy retreats of death, He brings back sweet, holy peace to the earth. Suppose that instead of descending in those silent and unseen influences of the Spirit, our Lord were to come in person, how would He address us? It would be in these very words.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
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.