The letters First and Second Thessalonians are traditionally associated with the Pauline foundation of the Macedonian Church at Thessalonica. The first is seen as representing Paul’s earliest epistolary efforts and as providing two successive moments in his long relationship as advisor to that community. Soon after leaving the area for the southern province of Achaia, Paul addresses the concerns of the new Gentile converts and at a later period responds more directly to queries received from the thriving and successful community. The second document, written in Paul’s name and at a later date, attempts to calm the apocalyptic fervor of the community by reiterating its traditional eschatological and Christological teaching.
After treating these introductory matters, this study provides a new translation of each section of the canonical text, explains in notes the pertinent textual and linguistic features of the text, and then offers in a series of interpretive messages a literary, rhetorical, and thematic analysis of the biblical documents. The constant concern of this commentary is to provide assistance to modern readers in discerning the relationship between the authors and their intended readers. Short bibliographies suggest other important modern studies. Includes an updated bibliography as an appendix.
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The strength of this commentary lies in its careful philological analysis of the text that helpfully illumines the key issues and central claims of the letters. Richard is clearly familiar with all the problems that the text presents and the various solutions that have been forwarded. . . . Richard has fulfilled the need for an up-to-date, detailed analysis of the Thessalonian letters that helpfully surveys and evaluates the key issues of the text.
—Jeffrey A. D. Weima, Calvin Theological Seminary