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Thessalonica In 51 AD

A reconstruction of the Greek city in its New Testament days.

Story

The Story of The Church in Thessalonica
Northern Greece, 51 AD

When Paul, Silas & Timothy preached the Message of Jesus Christ to heathen Gentiles in Thessalonica, the Lord raised up an Ecclesia in that city!! We know a lot of things about the church there, and the brothers and sisters who lived in it.

Here are a few things we know for sure about the Church in Thessalonica!

When the Lord's workers preached the good news, these heathen gentiles...
...Heard the Lord calling them to salvation!
They believed what they had heard about God was the truth...
They heard God speaking through those workers...
The Holy Spirit touched them, proving it was all true!!!
So... they believed in this God!!!
They became God's own people!!!
They turned away from idols...
And they ministered to the true and living God!!!

Before all of this, though, in unseen realms, the Thessalonian believers...
...Were chosen by God to be saved...
And to be His own people!
So the Father called them into His kingdom...
To make them holy!
And to share His glory with them!

Now, while Paul, Silas & Timothy were planting the church in its infancy...
The church was taught that they all were beloved by God.
And received the messages with joy in the Holy Spirit.
They learned how to experience God loving them.
They were held by the Father.
And they began to hear Him speaking inside of them!
They were taught that a Christ-centered life was a worthy life in the eyes of God
And they learned this by watching God's workers!

For their part, Paul, Silas & Timothy...
...Ministered Jesus Christ to the church!
They imitated Jesus Christ and they knew the believers would imitate them!
They shared the gospel of Christ
And intimately shared their own lives, too.
They encouraged the church.
They built it up to be strong in Jesus Christ!
~~~
They lived among the church like the closest of friends,
But they never gave anyone flattery!
They treated her gently, like a mother with her child.
They showed the brothers and sisters how lives could be pleasing to God, centered on Jesus Christ, and being lived in Him in holiness and honor.
~~~
They also warned the church that troubles would come,
As they ran out of town to protect their own lives.
But the church was left longing to see them again...
And Timothy did get back there three times.
(Once with Silas, and twice with a letter from Paul.)
And Timothy managed to comfort the church in their troubles.

When the church was left all alone... She grew up strong into Jesus Christ!
Their faith grew stronger as they lived together in Christ!
God Himself taught them how to love one another!
Their hearts' intentions were molded in Christ.
They learned to be faithful, and do what was good.
They began quite often to do things out of love.
They learned to encourage and build one another up.
They provided an example and encouragement for the churches in Greece and Macedonia!
Their example caused the word of the Lord to be heard there more loudly!

In the midst of all this blossoming Life, there were a few problems...
A few believers were lazy, some of them were timid, and some of them were weak.
They ALL tested one anothers' patience.
They were bragged about to other churches... for their ability to endure hardships!!!
They suffered persecution almost continuously, but they suffered for His Kingdom!
At times, they were shaken and troubled by rumors.
And they endured other problems as well.

Nevertheless, the Life of Jesus Christ in His Ecclesia remained STRONG!!!
The church remained unaffected by temptations.
Their faith and love remained strong and grew stronger.
They continued to be loved by, and to love, the Lord.
They continued to hear their God calling to them.
They continued to believe they belonged to Jesus Christ.
They were favored in the graces of Jesus Christ!
They grew in love for one another!
They were kept in the spirit and kept holy!
They remembered the workers with joy and kept longing to see them again.
The Word of God kept working inside the believers.
They shared in the Glory of Jesus Christ!
The Father gave them His lasting comfort and hope!
They received and they lived in the peace of the Lord!
And they never stopped longing to see Jesus Christ in person one day!

And all of these things really happened in 51 AD... in a place called The Church, in Thessalonica!

Editor's note: every single factual event listed in this Story was actually directly mentioned or directly implied by the text of Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians themselves. You can reconstruct this same story by writing down each event as it is mentioned, and then re-sorting them all into a simple story-order that makes sense.

OR......

Or, you can just get used to reading the scriptures without distracting chapter/verse numbers... get used to reading Paul's Letters as if they actually refer to real people who led a real-time, real-body, life-together kind of existence (who were mostly a five minute walk or less from each other's homes)... and get used to reading 1 & 2 Thessalonians from start to finish as if they were actual letters meant to be read with integrity (that means, wholeness) each one as a single writing.

If you can learn to follow the second set of instructions, you won't have to reconstruct or re-order anything at all!!! The Story of the Thessalonians will be ALIVE for you. It will jump right off the page and enhance every other part of those letters to the maximum.

Don't start with a "verse" and then look for its "context."

Start with a LETTER... and you won't have to worry about verses OR context.

You'll know the Story. If you give it enough focus and time... to unlearn the religious way of reading verses.

7 Comments:

Input from Blogger Goody :

I HAD to check the link Bill. I really do like short cuts. I LOVE THIS! Thankyou!

Monday, January 02, 2006  
Input from Anonymous Anonymous :

It's all true. am a Bible student and teacher, teaching 2 Thess 2 tomorrow. thank you for a very clear, concise outline of the powerful ministry of the church at Thessaloniki.
Art Allen, LR/AR

Saturday, February 14, 2009  
Input from Anonymous Anonymous :

Are you a calvinist?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012  
Input from Blogger Bill Heroman :

Hey, nony.

I'm neither calvinist nor anti-calvinist. I just transposed the stated claims and direct implications of Paul's text in 1 & 2 Thess. Then I re-sequenced that list of statements into an order that fit chronologically with the basic storyline from Acts & those epistles.

In other words, I had no particular agenda theologically. I was only looking for a spiritual & practical story.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012  
Input from Anonymous Belfor :

Thank you I have to agree that it helps a lot when you read it without looking at the verses it makes you think of it as a story rather than scriptures and it helps your mind comprehend the text better.

Friday, July 20, 2012  
Input from Blogger Bill Heroman :

Thanks, Belfor. (Or is it Tom?)

The New Testament scriptures do tell a story. At least, they once did, and can do so again, if we just have eyes to see it...

Friday, July 20, 2012  
Input from Anonymous Anonymous :

In every chapter of these two epistles the coming of the Lord is mentioned. I believe the story of the epistles to the Thessalonians is incomplete without mention of this precious hope which is for the church our Lord's coming for and then with His church

Tuesday, December 11, 2012  

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