The Thessalonian Epistles have always occupied a special place in Christian thought as the first inspired letters of the Apostle Paul. They provide a dramatic presentation of the thought and life of the early church and the problems of missionary expansion in the first century.
It appears that Paul first came into contact with the Thessalonians on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1–10, I and II Thessalonians). Accompanied by Timothy and Silas, Paul had ministered to them for at least three weeks before being forced to leave because of the outbreak of persecution (Acts 17:5–10). While at Athens, Paul had sent Timothy back to the Thessalonian church to encourage and give them further instruction. Upon Timothy’s return to Paul at Corinth, news of the stedfastness of the Thessalonian Christians spurred Paul to write to them. Later, when reports of the reception of this first epistle and details of certain continuing problems in the church reached Paul, he was moved to write II Thessalonians. (For further details on historical background see I Thessalonians by William Hendriksen, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, May 27, 1957, p. 33.)
Genuineness Of II Thessalonians
No doubt seems to have been expressed about the genuine Pauline character of the Thessalonian Epistles until the German writer J. E. C. Schmidt questioned II Thessalonians in 1801. Schrader raised a similar question about I Thessalonians in 1836. Further skepticism was voiced by Ferdinand C. Baur in his work Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ (1845), and the possibility that either or both of these epistles were not genuinely Pauline was thoroughly explored by the Tubingen school of critics. Objections against the authenticity may be summarized as follows: (1) ...1
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