Lectionary Year A
October 20, 2002
I Thessalonians 1:1-10

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) This pericope brings introductory greetings to a people the author wants to commend for God's revealing Gospel to them and for their responding so faithfully to both that gift from God and to the party writing them as having been amongst them. It compliments them for having witnessed exemplarily to the regions where they are located. It repeatedly heaps accolades upon them for their hospitality and patience. It uses the highest of tributes commending them.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) First time readers of this epistle's introduction/greeting will wonder who the authors are. What is the nature of their affliction and joy. What have the recipients done to turn from idolatry to worshipping/serving God? What do they understand, re: "the wrath to come"? Since I have lived in and served congregations in four capital cities, (and, studied extensively in two more!) my skepticism (a natural bi-product of such residential locations in one life-time?) might insist we speculate if the accolades are an-over-abundant due to the significant demographical location of the receivers. Someone wrote somewhere, "The difference between flattery and genuine praise is in sincerity". Well, Paul does seem to be sincere here in his compliments. Ergo, we can hope it is genuine and far from self-serving. After all, Paul is not a Governor of a state like Kentucky, for example, or a President of a country.

C. Organization

(JFC) The authors names are the first 3 words of the chapter. The addressees' affliction and joy are in the 6th verse. Their turning from idolatry to God is in verse 9 and "the wrath to come" is the last phrase in the last verse (9). The over-abundance of accolades appear throughout these verses, especially 3b-5a and much of verses 6-10.

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