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Reading Guide

  1. When was 1 Thessalonians written in relation to the other letters of Paul and other New Testament literature?

  2. According to 1 Thessalonians, how did Paul spread his gospel? With whom did he speak? In what kind of context? What did he say? What did he try to get people to believe?

  3. How did Paul organize his converts? How did he manage to deal with the communities he established after he left town?

  4. What is the occasion of 1 Thessalonians? How did the church begin? What problems arose after Paul left the community? What does Paul say to resolve the problems?

  5. Christians did not build churches until about two centuries after Jesus’ death. Instead, they met at people’s houses. How might meeting places of this kind have helped create cohesive social units?

  6. Might an ancient Thessalonian assume Paul was a philosopher? Why? Why not?

  7. What would an outsider think of the new Christian community in Thessalonica? Would it resemble any kind of group he or she already knew?

  8. What does an ancient Greco-Roman friendship letter typically involve? How does an awareness of this genre help us interpret Paul letters?

  9. What might Paul’s reference to the Thessalonian community’s suffering suggest?

  10. What does the notion of a three-storied universe involve? How is this view apparent in 1 Thessalonians?

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