1 Thessalonians 1 – Salutation and Thanksgiving & Thessalonica

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1 Ruins
Ruins of ancient marketplace
Very little has been uncovered at ancient Thessalonica because Thessaloniki sits atop the remains.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the Lost City of…

1 Thessalonians 1
Salutation and Thanksgiving

1 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.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

2 The church
The church of St. Demetrius was one of the few early Roman basilicas, built in the 4th-5th century A.D.
A Roman basilica originally was a large roofed hall erected for transacting business and disposing of legal matters.

St. Demetrios was a native of Thessalonica whom Galarius put to death.

The largest church in Greece, this basilica was destroyed by fire in 1917 and has since been reconstructed. Today the modern city of Thessaloniki is the second most important city of Greece and home to a million inhabitants.

5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.

8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.

9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Thessalonica

The city of Thessalonica was founded in 315 B.C. at the head of the Thermaic Gulf on the Aegean Sea. Thessalonica was a military and commercial port that became the capital of the Macedonian province in 146 B.C.

3 Thessalonica
Thessalonica was the principle city and primary port of Macedonia in what today is Greece.
It became an important city under Roman rule as well in 146 B.C.

New Testament references to Thessalonica are solely in connection with Paul’s missionary journeys.

Thessalonica was a place that Paul achieved substantial success and a prominent following.

Thessalonica was located at the intersection of two major Roman roads, making it a prominent city.

In 168 B.C. it became the capital of the second district of Macedonia and later it was made the capital and major port of the whole Roman province of Macedonia (146 B.C.). In 42 B.C., after the battle at Philippi, Thessalonica was made a free city.

Paul wrote letters to churches in at least two Macedonian cities, Thessalonica and Philippi. Thessalonica became a free city in 42 B.C. as a reward for assisting Mark Antony and Octavian (later called Augustus) in a military engagement with Brutus and Cassius, the leading assassins of Julius Caesar, at the battle of Philippi.

As a port city located on the Via Egnatia, a road that ran through the major cities of Macedonia, Thessalonica became a major center for trade and the arts. It had both a large Roman and a sizable Jewish population.

Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian believers hints that the Christians there suffered persecution from their own countrymen. Whether this persecution came primarily at the hands of Jews or Gentiles in the region is uncertain.

Archaeological and historical records indicate the presence of temples to Roman gods and various oriental cults. Inscriptions discovered in the city also give evidence of Jewish settlements there during the Roman period.

Because an active, modern city (Thessaloniki) exists on the site, little remains of the ancient city (or is available for excavation). The Arch of Galerius commemorates a Roman victory over the Persians, dating to the late 3rd century A.D., but only one section of the original remains.

4 The White Tower
The White Tower of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki often referred to internationally as Salonica, is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the geographic region of Greek Macedonia.

Thessaloniki is Greece’s second major economic, industrial, commercial and political center, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe.

Its commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland.

A Roman forum has been unearthed, but it may have been in use no earlier than the 2nd century A.D.  Archaeologists are aware, however, that a 1st century A.D. arch, called the Vandar Arch, once existed in Thessaloniki.

It was torn down in 1867, but an inscription from the arch is now on display in the British Museum. It mentions officials called politarches, a Greek word Luke used to designate the Thessalonian officials.

Since no previous usage of this word had been found in Greek literature, scholars had once wondered whether Luke’s usage of the term was an error.

In light of this controversy, the location of the inscription proved to be a significant step in illustrating the precision of Luke’s account; a fair number of occurrences of this otherwise elusive word in inscriptions from the general area have since been documented.

…Chichen Itza.

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