1 and 2 thessalonians n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
1 and 2 Thessalonians PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
1 and 2 Thessalonians

1 and 2 Thessalonians

217 Vues Download Presentation
Télécharger la présentation

1 and 2 Thessalonians

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. 1 and 2 Thessalonians The Apocalyptic Paul Revealed…

  2. 1 Thessalonians • Written by…“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy” (1:1) • Uses “we” language throughout • But note in 3:17, “I, Paul, writing this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark of every letter of mine; it is the way I write.” • Corporate effort and they work as a team but everyone assumes the language and tone of the letter was dictated by Paul to the actual writer. • Written to…“the church of the Thessalonians”

  3. 1 Thessalonians • When and why was it written? • Many clues in text • Acts 17 (circa 49-50 CE) provides framework • Paul’s journey to create churches in Macedonia begins in Philippi (Acts 16:16-40) (referenced in 1 Thes 2:2) • After getting kicked out of Philippi, the traveling preachers find themselves in Thessalonica where his preaching is successful with “some” Jews, a larger number of “devout” Gentiles (i.e., existing Gentile partially converted to Judaism) and “prominent women” (Acts 17:4). • However, here Jewish opponents of Paul create a marketplace mob and some Christian named Jason who had housed Paul and Silas (Silvanus), gets dragged before the city magistrate and accused of imperial treason (17:5-9)

  4. 1 Thessalonians • When and why was it written? • Many clues in text • Acts 17 provides framework • Paul and Silas move on to Beroea • But Thessalonian crowd disturbers eventually follow the missionaries here as well and Paul moves on, leaving Silas and Timothy behind (note Paul is the primary target and as such constrained in his travel ability while his entourage members have fewer restrictions—explains texts like 1 Thess 2:18-3:2) • Paul moves on to Athens and then Corinth where Acts reports that Silas and Timothy caught up with Paul having returned from Macedonia (18:5)

  5. 1 Thessalonians • When and why was it written? • Clues in 1 Thessalonians • The initial ministry with Thessalonians is described in 1:4-2:16 (came on the heels of his Philippian ministry—2:2) • Paul is in Athens (with Silas and Timothy—not reported by Acts) and is worried about Thessalonian church (2:17-3:3) as it is under persecution conditions. • Timothy has returned with a report from the Thessalonian church (3:6) • Paul wishes to see them again but in the meantime, he is writing a letter expressing his gratitude for them, reinforce his original teaching to them and addressing concerns no doubt raised by the report given to him by Timothy.

  6. 1 Thessalonians • Other possible reasons for writing the letter • Based on a “mirror reading”, i.e., issues addressed by Paul in the letter reflect the actual situation and problems of the addressees • This is hypothetical • Two extremes possible • Paul is simply writing generically on issues he things are important for them to know without having a specific problem in mind. • There is a very specific and identifiable ideological/behavioural issue with the group he is addressing that is transparently obvious in Paul’s exhortation to them. • Truth probably lies in between—some items are general, some likely pertain to immediate issues within Christian community

  7. 1 Thessalonians • Other possible reasons for writing the letter • Defense of his ministry among Thessalonians as not motivated by greed and very honest about hardships they would face (which Paul himself has shared in) (2:1-16) • Is it possible that perhaps his hasty departure when things got tough and leaving the Christians in Thessalonica to face persecution alone has produced accusations of Paul as a shameless religious huckster in it for his self-advancement (perhaps by the husbands of those prominent women?) or resentment on the part of believers left holding the bag? • Wants to ensure that persecution does not lead them to abandon their newfound faith (3:2-4) • Possible concerns over sexual practices among Christians? (Note his teaching against sexual exploitation; 4:1-8) • Possible concerns over believers who has stopped working? (Note call for working with hands and not becoming dependent [4:9-12], admonish idlers [5:14]) • Addressing their apparent ignorance about what happens to Christians who die before the second coming of Jesus (4:13-18) • Addressing the timing of the second coming of Jesus (5:1-11)

  8. 1 Thessalonians • Those last three items are very significant as they are portals into the apocalyptic component in Paul’s early preaching of the gospel and the effects of this. • It raises questions like… • Did the “sit around and don’t work” attitude that Paul seems to be addressing arise from a “the Lord will return shortly and we’re just waiting for it to happen” mentality? • What sort of crisis did the possible death of members create? Did they perhaps then adopt what we call “over-realized” eschatology (i.e., the “Day of the Lord” has already arrived, it is now [in some hyper spiritual or gnostic sense], not in the future)? • Would this explain the need to address “times and seasons” where Paul must address both the future and expected/unexpected nature of the “Day of the Lord’s” arrival? • To fully explore these, we need to first look at 2 Thessalonians

  9. 2 Thessalonians • Who wrote it and when? • Text claims: “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy” 1:1 (just like 1 Thess) • But some scholars have questioned whether it is genuinely Pauline (hence its location among the “disputed” Pauline letters) • On what do they base their skepticism • In part it is based on model in which 2 Thessalonians offers a slightly different eschatology than 1 Thessalonians—indeed, in this understanding 2 Thessalonians is an attempted correction of the overheated apocalypticism inspired in part by 1 Thessalonians • What has happened according to these scholars is that after Paul is gone from the scene, his followers continue to write in his name and in this case they’re trying to counteract the effects of 1 Thessalonians • They do so by crafting another letter using the original as their model, but then cleverly subverting the original by hinting that there are false Pauline letters out there and that this one is genuine (2:2, 3:17). • The appeal to apostolic authority in 2:15 is seen by some as distinguishing feature of a post-Pauline context. • Other scholars argue primarily that there are other eschatological and theological differences between 2 Thess and the undisputed Paulines, there are slight stylistic differences, that there is difference in tone between 1 and 2 Thess, and the lack of any personal reference in 2 Thess. • Why I and some other scholars are skeptical of the skepticism • What is seen as contradictory (parousia as unexpected [1 Thess 5:2] and that signs would precede its arrival [2 Thess 2:1-12]) is in fact a common feature in other early Christian discourse—these beliefs are regularly held at the same time in other early Christian writings. Furthermore, 1 Thess 5 seems to me to be suggesting that the parousia will not be unexpected for believers as it is for unbelievers (“But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a theif;” 1 Thess 5:4). • In that case, you can move toward what these two letters have in common—the need to stress the FUTURE coming of the “day of the Lord”—both do so but using different strategies. • 2 Thess 3:17 as a “claim to authenticity” is not entirely convincing because it doesn’t actually follow the pattern of other Pauline letters. • Appeals to apostolic authority in 2 Thes 2:!5 hardly stands out compared to other apostolic claims to authority by Paul in non-disputed letters. • As for the lack of personal references—2 Thess is not entirely devoid of these (2 Thess 3:11) and at any rate other letters considered disputed by these same scholars have all sorts of personal references.

  10. 2 Thessalonians • If it is genuinely Pauline (and I and others are arguing that it is), then we need to decide which letter was written first. • To do that we need to look more carefully at the contents of 2 Thessalonians and the question of why it was written • Declaration that they will be vindicated in the end despite present persecution and suffering (1:5-12) • To prevent them from thinking that Paul has announced that the “day of the Lord” has already arrived—does so by sketching out the necessity of the evil “man of lawlessness” that declares himself God before the second coming of Jesus • Warning against idleness, those who are living off others and refusing to work

  11. 2 Thessalonians • If 2 Thessalonians written first (possible, but not my choice) • Persecution spoken of in present tense (2 Thess 1:4-12) but in a past tense in 1 Thess 1:6, 2:14, 3:3 • contra, they started in the past but nothing is said about whether they have continued into the present, i.e., this is not exclusively “past”) • The eschatological teachings about the future “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thess created the befuddlement addressed in 1 Thess. • contra, given both address the need to stress the FUTURE of the day of the Lord, it is hard to see which is first, I would assume the more explicit (2 Thess) follows the more general and implicit teachings (1 Thess); i.e., failure to understand Paul the first time (1 Thess) or subsequent rise of contrary teachings or false reports led to the need for more complete and comprehensive arguments (2 Thess) • The situation which called for the slightly harsher official tone of 2 Thess has led to the friendlier tone of 1 Thess (so, for instance, teaching on idleness is still there but very toned down) • In this case, might it be possible that Timothy’s visit to them spoken of in 1 Thess was one in which he carried 2 Thessalonians, reported back to Paul the positive reception, which then led to 1 Thess written in response. • contra, this would require two letters before 2 Thessalonians as 2:15 hints at a previous letter. This adds unnecessary trips and complexity to the travel and communication scheme suggested by Paul in 1 Thess. • If 1 Thessalonians written first (this makes more sense to me) • Persecution is an ongoing reality, which is why Paul addresses it so carefully in 1 Thess and it continues in 2 Thess • The “previous letter” of 2:15 is 1 Thessalonians • Their eschatological confusion continues either through lack of understanding of Paul’s first letter, or, because you now have interference from the outside in terms of end-time teachings (2 Thess 2:1-3) • Likewise, idleness still seems to be a problem and this is addressed now far more directly and harshly with a nastier note to comply (3:6-15)

  12. 2 Thessalonians • What are the unintended consequences of Paul’s apocalyptic preaching? • Likely the speculation about the “day of the Lord” that has gripped the Thessalonians church community is linked to the problem of “idleness” • That is, a “sit around and wait for Christ’s return” mentality has set in with at least some of these Christians • Paul has to use his own pattern of working with his hands for a living while preaching the good news of Christ as a better way of preparing for the Lord’s return.

  13. 2 Thessalonians • What are the unintended consequences of Paul’s apocalyptic preaching? • Likely the speculation about the “day of the Lord” that has gripped the Thessalonians church community is linked to the problem of “idleness” • That is, a “sit around and wait for Christ’s return” mentality has set in with at least some of these Christians • Paul has to use his own pattern of working with his hands for a living while preaching the good news of Christ as a better way of preparing for the Lord’s return.

  14. 2 Thessalonians • What other observations or questions remain in your mind concerning Paul’s apocalyptic worldview as expressed in 1 and 2 Thessalonians?