A Practical Apocalypse

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The purpose of this essay is to exegetically examine 1st Thessalonians 5:1-11. In this exercise I will seek to elucidate the intention of the author in writing as he has and to show how the specific subject matter of these verses interrelates with the major themes of the Epistle. That Paul is the author of 1st Thessalonians is almost undisputed. Green is in agreement with Wanamaker who comments, "No contemporary scholars of repute seem to doubt the Pauline character of the letter." The position taken in this paper, consistent with the majority of scholarly opinion, is that the letter was written around AD 50-51 from Corinth on the occasion of Paul hearing Timothy's report on the Thessalonian Church. Although Donfried comments that,…show more content…
Christian faith produces hope where otherwise there would be none (cf 5:8) and faith in Christ changes the nature of grief itself. It is the presence of such faith and hope that distinguishes the believers from the nonbelievers who have no hope. Christian will grieve as they suffer loss but they should not be overcome by it. (4:14) as we will see this distinction between believers and unbelievers will be developed by Paul in chapter 5:4-6 At chapter 5:1 Marshall detects the introduction of a new subject and an answer to a further question the Thessalonians have asked. Green, surprisingly, reconstructs that question as "when would the day of the Lord come?" However there is no need to anticipate or reconstruct such a question. By using the phrase `you have no need for anything to be written to you' Paul is taking the opportunity to further commend the believers, as he had already done when he used the same phrase at 4:9. The Thessalonians had "learned well" Paul's eschatology and were not asking him about `times and dates.' Indeed their attention was very much focussed on more practical issues. If this was not the case then this response would be obtuse, as Wanamaker notes, "Paul does not give an answer to the question of when." Verses 2-3 draw
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