Picture a metropolis of a city. The first cities that one might think of are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and possibly Philadelphia. Now picture what makes those cities such metropolises. Ethnic diversity, many types of religions, crowded streets, large buildings, tourism, and maybe even difficulty in evangelizing. Imagine walking into a city like that and starting a church with all brand new believers. Well this is exactly what Paul, Timothy, and Silas did in the city of Thessalonica. The following is a summarization of the correspondence between Paul and the believers at the church of Thessalonica.
Basic Background Information
Thessalonica was a city in ancient Macedonia. The inhabitants of the city were descendants of one of the most powerful rulers of all time, Alexander the III (or Alexander the Great) (Green). The actual city itself was not founded until 316 BC and was named after Thessaloniki, Alexander’s half sister. After Alexander’s death and division of his empire among his four generals the city was overtaken by the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire divided Macedonia into 4 districts and Thessalonica was made the capital of the second district. To prevent Macedonia and Thessalonica from regaining its prosperity and power the Roman government placed economic restrictions on the four districts. The biggest restriction on the districts was prohibition of commerce between the districts (meaning that they could not trade with one another). Despite all of the restrictions put in place by the Roman Empire, Thessalonica managed to regain much of its prosperity back and became a major city in the economic rebuilding of Macedonia (Green). When Paul, Silas, and Timothy arrived at Thessalonica to preach the Gospel they were not the only choice of religion. Due to the early Hellenization by Alexander’s conquests and the invasion of the Roman Empire, Thessalonica became a sort of religious melting pot. Thessalonica as a...