This past Sunday, the Sunday School class made it through chapter three of 1 Thessalonians. Remember, we are, much to the chagrin of canonical theologians, going through the New Testament chronologically. James was first, and now 1 Thessalonians.
The thought occurred to me as to what the good news was for Paul. He did not provide us a lexicon. So, the only source for the good news was the Septuagint. We find it in Isaiah, in several places – both times pointing to the good news that God has won. In 1 Thessalonians, it is not much different. But, what has God one?
Here, I think we see the beginning of the splitting of the Shema, but God is still in charge… and Jesus is subordinate. Why? Because Paul prays to God and the gospel is God’s. God has won. Jesus is raised from the dead by God and is awaiting God’s permission to return with the army of heaven to really bring about the kingdom, a kingdom already working through the power of God’s spirit. It is not about being perfect, but about worshiping the true and living God. And, it is about the inclusion of the Gentiles – from the earliest of Paul’s letters, this is a key point.
Granted, I do not believe a Gentile mission was embraced by the entirety of the early Church until after 70, but…
So… thoughts? What is Paul’s Gospel in 1 Thessalonians?