Defending the Gospel Pt I

Exegetical Study: 

1 Thess 2:1 – 16 identifies Paul's and his companions' behavior in Thessalonica, prior to their eviction. In chapter 1, Paul primarily encourages the believers in Thessalonica as he placed emphasis on the power of the gospel in their lives. Despite his gratitude for their faith, Paul indicates the hardships they endured, while preaching the gospel. Now, however, in chapter 2, Paul provides more detail to their missionary efforts. He compares and contrasts the behavior they exuded against what they were not like before the Thessalonians. Some scholars suggest that Paul describes their behavior in a manner of defending themselves against criticism outside the congregation. In addition of declaring their righteous deeds to the Thessalonians, Paul continually encourages the Thessalonians' actions in remaining faithful to the gospel.

 

Paul establishes the validity and truth in their missionary conduct, by pursuing witnesses. The Greek lexicon denotes the term, μάρτυς to mean witness. The term occurs thirty-five times in the New Testament. In historical context, the TDNT identifies μάρτυς as witness to ascertainable facts and truths. The byproduct of witnessing makes known and confesses convictions. In reference to 1 Thess 2, the TDNT states that Paul enlists God and the Thessalonians to prove the veracity and authenticity of what he affirms. First, God confirms them as approved and entrusted. God's affirmation parallels to God affirming Christ in the transfiguration. Jesus brought James, John, and Peter to the mountain. In this act, they confirm the fact that Jesus is the son of God as they witness God make this declaration. Just like God confirming Jesus, God confirms Paul and his companions. In addition, just like the three apostles affirm God's confirmation, the Thessalonians are called to do the same for Paul.