1 Thessalonians 1:1 (NET) 1
From Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you!
From Paul –
- Meaning the Apostle Paul.
and Silvanus –
- Many believe Silas is the shortened name for Silvanus and that these are the same person in the New Testament.
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary says, Silas – wood, a prominent member of the church at Jerusalem; also called Silvanus…There is no record of the time or place of his death.
- Below are serval passages that piece together the life of Silas.
Silas was chosen by the church to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to Antioch after the Jerusalem elder meeting.
- Acts 15
24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said,
25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul,
26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person.
- Would your church or employer have confidence in you to be their messenger? If not, why? How can you begin to become that person?
- Think of character qualities that Silas had to be trusted with this mission?
Silas is called a prophet
- Acts 15
30 So when they were dismissed, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the entire group together, they delivered the letter.
31 When they read it aloud, the people rejoiced at its encouragement.
32 Both Judas and Silas, who were prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with a long speech.
33 After they had spent some time there, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.
- What was a primary role of prophets in the New Testament?
- What would you have said to encourage and strengthen the Gentile church in Antioch at that time knowing that they were dealing with the issue of Moses’ law?
- What would you say to encourage and strengthen our church knowing what we are dealing with?
Paul chooses Silas after Paul’s disagreement with Barnabas.
- Acts 15
39 They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters.
41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Silas was Persecuted with Paul in Philippi
- Acts 16:19 (NET) 19 But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion. They are Jews…22 The crowd joined the attack against them, and the magistrates tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
- What do you think your response would have been after being beaten for the Gospel?
Silas sings in his cell.
- Acts 16
23 After they had beaten them severely, they threw them into prison and commanded the jailer to guard them securely.
24 Receiving such orders, he threw them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the rest of the prisoners were listening to them.
26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds of all the prisoners came loose.
- Have you ever sang to God when suffering? How does it seem different singing during suffering than singing when all is going well?
- Have you ever written a song or poem when suffering?
Silas was a Roman Citizen
- Acts 16:38 (NET) 38 The police officers reported these words to the magistrates. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas were Roman citizens
Silas helps start a church among the Thessalonians.
- Acts 17:4 (NET) 4 Some of them (Thessalonians) were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
Paul and Silas flee to Barea from persecution from the other Thessalonians. They start a church in Barea.
- Acts 17
10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.
11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.
Silvanus proclaimed Christ with Paul in Corinth.
- 2 Corinthians 1:19 (NET)
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us – by me and Silvanus and Timothy – was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him.
Silvanus, a faithful brother, delivered Peter’s epistle from the church in Babylon.
- 1 Peter 5:12 (NET)
Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
- There are too many references of Timothy to list here, but below are a few important references to learn about him.
Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He was well spoken of. He was Circumcised by Paul. He Served with Paul.
- Acts 16
1 He also came to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
2 The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
4 As they went through the towns, they passed on the decrees that had been decided on by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the Gentile believers to obey.
5 So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number every day.
- What do you think were character qualities of Timothy that made his brothers speak well of him in Lystra and Iconium?
- What good qualities would we mention for various brothers and sisters in our church?
He was a genuine believer. He stayed in Paul’s stead in Ephesus.
- 1 Timothy 1
1 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!
3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings,
- What do you think Paul seen in Timothy to say he was a genuine child in the faith?
- What must have Paul seen in Timothy to trust to leave him behind to instruct others to not spread false teachings?
Faith and names of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.
- 2 Timothy 1:5 (NET) 5 I recall your sincere faith that was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you.
- Can you name a multi-generational family that served the Lord?
to the church of the Thessalonians-
- Wikipedia says, The city was founded around 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and twenty-six other local villages. King Cassander of Macedon named the new city after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great.
- Wikipedia says, Thessalonike was born around 352 or 345 BC. To commemorate the birth of his daughter, which fell on the same day as the armies of Macedon and Thessalian league won the significant battle of Crocus Field in Thessaly over the Phocians, King Philip is said to have proclaimed, “Let her be called victory in Thessaly”. In the Greek language her name is made up of two words Thessaly and nike, that translates into ‘Thessalian Victory’
- This church was started in Macedonia by Paul and Silas.
- Strong’s definition: ἐκκλησία, ek-klay-see’-ah; a compound word meaning a calling out.
Below shows how the church was started and the environment in which it had to survive.
- Acts 17
1 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
2 Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures,
3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”
4 Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
The Jewish Thessalonians persecuted Paul and Silas.
- Acts 17
5 But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly.
- Acts 17
13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds.
14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea.
15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.
- What do you think it must have been like to be a believer living among these zealous Thessalonians?
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ-
- The church is ‘called out’ of the world but abides ‘in God the Father’.
- The church is ‘called out’ of the world but ‘abides in the Lord’.
- Strong’s Definition: κύριος, koo’-ree-os; from κῦρος kŷros (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title).
Grace and peace to you-
- Strong’s Definitions: χάρις, khar’-ece; from graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act
- Strong’s Definition: εἰρήνη, i-ray’-nay; probably from a primary verb εἴρω eírō (to join); peace (literally or figuratively).
- English derivative is the name, Irene.
- International standard Bible and Encyclopedia
So “grace be with you” closes the Epistles as a sufficient summary of all the blessings that can be wished Christian readers. At the beginning of the Epistles the words “and peace” are usually added, but this is due only to the influence of the Jewish greeting “peace be with you” (Lu 10:5, etc.), and not to any reflection on “grace” and “peace” as separate things.
- Explain in detail How God’s graciousness and peacefulness is in your physical and spiritual life?
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Do You Savor Servants Like Silvanus?
Of course Paul is to be admired, but also admire My servants Silas and Timothy. They are faithful to Me and to others. They are dependable. They are solid in the scriptures. They are gifted to speak encouraging and strengthening words. They are hard working and endure hard lives with courage. Silas is victorious in suffering by singing. They are obedient to leadership. They are versatile and adaptable to various duties and circumstances. Be like them. Sovor their character.
Be grateful to express your faith without persecution. Enjoy My graciousness and peace in all circumstances.