I Thessalonians is among the earliest of all New Testament writings. It was written by the apostle Paul, probably around 51 A.D. from Corinth.
Paul had established the church in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-9) and wrote this letter a short time later.
Paul and his companions were faithful to bring the Gospel to the Thessalonians in the midst of persecution. The Thessalonians had only recently become Christians and yet remained faithful to the Lord, despite the fact that the apostles were not yet with them.
The purpose of the letter was to strengthen the Thessalonian Christians in their faith and give them the assurance of Christ’s return.
Thessalonica, named after Alexander the Great’s half sister, was a great and important city located on the Egnation highway. Since this was a great commercial highway, Thessalonica became a place for the wealthy to live; however, the majority of the people made their living by manual labor.
Thessalonica was one of the most important centers of population in Paul’s day, occupying a strategic location both governmentally and militarily. It was the prominent seaport and capital of the Roman province of Macedonia.
Thessalonica was also a free city, which meant its citizens enjoyed autonomy in all of its internal affairs.
We do not know how long Paul stayed in Thessalonica, but we do know he was there long enough to gain employment (Philippians 4:16) and to receive two gifts of money from the Philippians.
Paul presented the great doctrine of the Rapture of the Church (chapter 4), and because of this, it was a great source of encouragement to the Thessalonians, and is to us today as well.
This is a letter from a pastor who was basically satisfied and even thrilled with the progress of his flock. The church at Thessalonica was in many ways a model church.