In the first century, the Thessalonian church grieved deaths in their community, endured harsh persecution, and struggled with questions about the future. Paul offered them the comforts and reassurances of hope in the Messiah Jesus. But he offered far more than wishful thinking or pie-in-the-sky comfort. Paul’s emphasis on hope in the Messiah Jesus involved capturing a vision of God’s redeemed and just future in order to see and live faithfully today. Paul did not believe in a passive hope, but an active hope where, if the Day of the Messiah is a beacon, believers set their course and diligently move toward it. That diligence is especially captured by love for Christian brothers and sisters, commitment to honest and productive work, and obedience to the truth of the gospel of Lord Messiah Jesus.
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“It is easily recognized that Paul writes 1 Thessalonians to a community that is beginning to lose its confidence and foundation of its faith.” (Page 2)
“Believers inevitably will suffer for their allegiance to Jesus as Lord, not because God relishes in suffering, but because the Messiah’s kingdom operates in direct opposition to the sinful way of the world—his subjects must maintain a distinctly counter-cultural existence imitating the radically backwards values of holiness as well as self-giving love towards neighbor and God.” (Pages 69–70)
“The point is not that the mourners were wrong to think the young girl dead (for she was dead). Rather, the point of this saying is that death is such an unequal match for the life-giving power of Jesus that it does not even deserve to be called ‘death.’” (Page 92)
“A minority of scholars (including myself) hypothesize that those who died may have been martyred, killed by persecutors.” (Page 14)
“Traditionally, pistis is translated ‘faith’ in the New Testament, but here it takes on the more common Hellenistic meaning of ‘loyalty’ or ‘trust.’4 Paul is not really commending them for what they believe per se, but rather for their firm commitment to God from the start.5 Pistis here is a word marking the orientation of the will—it is an active word for Paul in the same way love (agapē) is an active word. In ancient Greek literature, pistis was regularly used with the meaning of ‘pledge’ or ‘bond.’ This reflects aptly Paul’s concern: the Thessalonians were known for their bold and active loyalty and obedience that are seen in real-life action or work.” (Pages 40–41)
In conversation with the best interpreters of the Thessalonian letters across the centuries, Nijay Gupta offers us a rich feast of insights into these very early Christian Scriptures. Simultaneously accessible and perceptive, attentive to historical context as well as contemporary theological and spiritual concerns, this is a commentary for students, pastors, and all readers of Paul.
—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary's Seminary & University
Nijay Gupta's commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians demonstrates reliable, even-handed scholarship, theological and pastoral sensitivity, and a masterful ability to lay out the letters' substance and basic flow of thought in an engaging style that is a pleasure to read. These qualities, along with its manageable size, make it ideal for use in the classroom and for local church pastors and teachers. Highly recommended!
—Andy Johnson, professor of New Testament, Nazarene Theological Seminary
Here is a commentary that does not miss the mark. It is exegetically sound, theologically astute, and ecclesially centered. Gupta seems to delight in showing how these ancient texts make modern sense. I read few commentaries cover to cover, but Gupta's I did. It is well worth the time and investment, for he carefully weighs the interpretive options and arrives at well-reasoned and well-supported readings. I want this one on my shelf.
—David B. Capes, academic dean and professor of New Testament, Houston Graduate School of Theology
Nijay K. Gupta is a gifted interpreter of Scripture. Herein, you will find incisive, insightful commentary on the Apostle Paul's earliest extant letters. I warmly commend this comparatively (and refreshingly!) compact treatment of the Thessalonian correspondence, not least the exegetical skill, theological engagement, and pastoral concern manifestly evident throughout.
—Todd D. Still, DeLancey Dean and Hinson Professor, Baylor University, Truett Seminary
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