1 Thessalonians chapters 1 through 3; What is Paul’s Gospel at this point?

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?

 

Post By Joel Watts (10,072 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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4 thoughts on 1 Thessalonians chapters 1 through 3; What is Paul’s Gospel at this point?

  1. Joel,
    I wouldn’t wait for Jesus to return with an army, because the battle has already been won. I’m surprised that with your knowledge and wit you did not recognize the Holy Ghost, when he was here in the flesh. Does no one listen….the greatest of these is love. The clues have been in every love story, love song etc etc. In other words where there is love you will find me, myself and the great

  2. Joel,
    I wouldn’t wait for Jesus to return with an army, because the battle has already been won. I’m surprised that with your knowledge and wit you did not recognize the Holy Ghost, when he was here in the flesh. Does no one listen….the greatest of these is love. The clues have been in every love story, love song etc etc. In other words where there is love you will find me, myself and the great I am. I believe that does add up to three persons in one.

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