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Basic Facts from 1 Thessalonians (Part 2)

The entire message of 1 Thessalonians 1 could be very well-summarized in the word “sacrifice.” Paul commends these Christians for having “paid the price” in order to become Christians. In verse 6, they had willingly accepted the gospel message, despite opposition. By this, Paul says they had become shining examples not just to other Christians in their own mountainous, poverty-stricken region of Macedonia (northern Greece) but also to the more “well-todo” saints who lived in Achaia, where Athens was located…

Basic Facts from 1 Thessalonians (Part 1)

Ancient Thessalonica still exists today, as the city of Salonika in modern Greece. It lies about 100 miles to the west of Philippi, and possesses a good natural harbor, which caused the ancient city to grow rapidly in size and wealth. In Roman times it was the capitol of the province of Macedonia; situated on the Via Egnatia, the empire’s main eastwest highway, it helped to unite the Roman Empire. Thessalonica became one of the important commercial centers of the…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 4)

The last paragraph of Colossians 3 contains instructions about proper behavior in both the home and the “workplace” of the ancient world. It also speaks to the master/slave relationship, which was an inescapable fact of that era. The important point to note in these instructions is that they are based on the fact that Paul is addressing Christians, whose motives and actions are expected to spring out of our desire to please the Lord (vv. 20 & 23-24). Much to…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 3)

Colossians 2:16-19 is often cited by those who object when Christians take note of holidays that are commonly observed in our culture (i.e., Christmas, Easter, etc.). In context, however, Paul is actually addressing the problem of “judaizers” who attempted to require the Colossians to pay homage to traditional Jewish feast days and days of worship. Paul’s expression in about “judging” (vs. 16) actually means “let no one ‘pass sentence’ on you.” He is NOT saying that Christians must take no…