In this commentary Gene Green reads Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians in light of the canon of Scripture and of new knowledge about the first-century world of Thessalonica. This fruitful approach helps illuminate the impact of the gospel on its original readers and, in turn, shows how potent a force it can be for the church and society today.
The book begins with an in-depth study of the Thessalonians themselves—their history, land, socioeconomic conditions, and religious environment. This fascinating discussion gives the necessary context for fully appreciating the circumstances surrounding the founding of the city's first church and the subsequent struggles of the Thessalonian believers to live out their Christian faith.
The main body of the book provides informed verse-by-verse commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians that extracts the fullest possible meaning from these important New Testament texts. As Green's exposition shows, the Thessalonian scriptures are especially valuable as letters of friendship and for showing Paul's pastoral concern for the many areas in which the Thessalonians needed guidance. Some of Paul's purposes are to thank the new believers for their steadfastness amid suffering, to encourage them in their trials, to urge them not to neglect their daily work, and, no less important, to teach them about the future of believers who die before Christ returns. Indeed, the matter of the last things and the second coming of Christ so permeates these texts that they are often called Paul's eschatological letters.
Filled with new information about ancient society, this commentary will fast become a standard reference work for Bible study. By carefully bridging the biblical and modern worlds, Green shows with clarity and warmth the continuing relevance of 1 & 2 Thessalonians for contemporary readers.
“Prayer was not to be limited to prescribed hours but should rather be a common and constant element in their daily life.” (Page 258)
“This joy should always be in their lives, in whatever circumstances they found themselves (Phil. 3:1; 4:4). The apostles never encourage believers to deny that adversity brings sadness and grief (see 4:13; 1 Pet. 1:6; Rom. 12:15), but they recognize that in the midst of the most agonizing situations the presence of God through his Spirit can infuse the soul with hope and the heart with joy. This joy is rooted deeply in the gospel (Luke 2:10–11) and became one of the primary distinctives of the Christian community.” (Page 258)
“But the Christian approach is decidedly different since the believer trusts in a sovereign God who can turn any situation to their good (Rom. 8:28) and who can make someone more than triumphant in any adversity or other circumstance (Rom. 8:31–39).” (Page 260)
“Paul answers this concern by teaching that living in faith, love, and hope is the proper way to be prepared so that the day of the Lord will not surprise them ‘like a thief.’” (Page 230)
“More likely, the Thessalonians understood that only the living would have the honor of going out to meet the Lord in his royal and triumphal parousia (coming; see vv. 16 and 17 and comments), and the apostle responds by saying that the dead will rise first and will have this place of honor in the procession. The dead in Christ will in no way be excluded from the grand celebration that will surround the parousia of the Lord but will enjoy a place of honor. Recognition of this fact would give the living believers great comfort in their grief (vv. 13, 18).” (Page 223)
The Pillar New Testament Commentary Series, designed for serious readers of the Bible, seeks above all to make clear the meaning of the text of Scripture as we have it. Writers of the PNTC volumes interact with the most important, informed contemporary debate yet avoid undue technical detail. Their ideal is a blend of rigorous exegesis and exposition, scholarship and pastoral sensitivity, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and to the contemporary relevance of the Bible.
This resources is also available as part of the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series.