Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians stand as some of the very earliest Christian documents, yet they appear well into Paul’s missionary career, giving them a unique context well worth exploring. Witherington provides a reading of Paul’s text in the light of rhetorical concerns and patterns, early Jewish theology, and the first-century historical situation in Macedonia. He details Thessalonica’s place as the “metropolis” of Macedonia and carefully unpacks the social situation of Paul and his recipients. Scholars will appreciate the careful analysis and rhetorical insights contained here, while Witherington’s clear prose and sensitivity to Paul’s ideas make this work ideal for all who desire a useful, readable commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Students of the New Testament have come to expect from Ben Witherington not only unfathomable productivity but also serious scholarly work that is unfailingly informed and insightful. Witherington’s socio-rhetorical treatment of 1 and 2 Thessalonians reinforces and even heightens these expectations. Witherington sheds much light on these early Pauline letters by paying particular attention to their rhetorical features and socio-historical milieu. All the while, he is aware of and alive to the theological and pastoral dimensions of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. As I seek to understand these fascinating documents more fully, I will keep this significant commentary close to hand. Those who are seeking a clear, thorough, and creative reading of Paul’s Thessalonian correspondence would do well to do the same.
—Todd D. Still, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
Ben Witherington is a master at crafting commonsense commentaries that are accessible to a broad spectrum of readers and conversant with the best of scholarship. In this regard his 1 and 2 Thessalonians does not disappoint. It is one of his best.
—Bruce W. Longenecker, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. He received his M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. A prolific writer, he has twice won the Christianity Today best Biblical Studies book-of-the-year award. Among his other books are The Christology of Jesus and Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World and The Jesus Quest. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.