Apr 23, 2008

The Background of 1 Thessalonians 2

There are two common explanations for the background of 1 Thessalonians 2. (1) Paul was presenting himself as a model of the Christian life worthy of imitation. (2) Paul was defending himself against critics at Thessalonica. The second explanation seems preferable since careful mirror reading, especially in vv. 1–12, reveal that Paul is defending his ministry. That being said, the identification of the critics or opponents is debated. Suggestions include pseudo-apostles, hostile Jews, spiritual enthusiasts, Gnostics, and Gentile idolaters. The lack of explicit evidence makes any specific view of the opponents somewhat tenuous.

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