KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Paul wrote the Book of 1 Thessalonians while he was in Corinth in A.D. 50 or 51, a couple of years after he had established the church at Thessalonica. It is believed to be the first of the Pauline Epistles (with the possible exception of Galatians), and in fact was likely the first book of the New Testament to be written.
Paul established the church at Thessalonica during his second missionary journey in A.D. 49, following his night vision of the Macedonian man calling for him to come to them. He responded to the call, and traveled across the Aegean Sea to Neapolis, Philippi, and then to Thessalonica where he preached in the Jewish synagogue for several weeks. The church subsequently established there became the second major church on the European continent. While Paul’s base of operation was the synagogue (Acts 17:2), not only did some Jews accept the Gospel message, but numbers of Gentiles did also.
As the faith of the new believers in Thessalonica became known, this upset the Jewish leaders and they sought to arrest Paul and his co-worker, Silas. The two men fled under cover of darkness to Berea in the southwest, but the authorities arrested Jason, who had been host to Paul and Silas in Thessalonica. When these Jewish authorities heard Paul was preaching in Berea, they went to that city and attempted to incite riots against him. Paul escaped, and went on to Athens where he waited for his companions, Timothy and Silas.
Because Paul had left Thessalonica in such a hurry, he no doubt felt concerned that he had not been able to tell the new believers in that city all they needed to know. He sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to see how the young church was doing, and Timothy returned with a good report.
Paul also wrote to the new church a personal message: the Book of 1 Thessalonians. He started out by affirming and encouraging the believers in their faith, he exhorted them to live a holy life, and finally he instructed them about the second coming of the Lord.
How vital it is to be sure we are ready to meet our Lord in the air when He returns for those who are ready! Let us endeavor to encourage and build up each other in the faith so that none will be left behind when that great day occurs.