Thessalonica was a principal city in Macedonia, the region that was the home of Philip and the great Alexander. This letter was written around 50 A.D. which would make it, with the exception of Galatians, the earliest record of Paul’s writing. While the Jews in Berea were more noble than the Jews in Thessalonica (Acts 17:11), the church in Thessalonica was in many respects one of Paul’s success stories. The Christians there were noble.
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).
Summary of the Text:
The three great emphases of 1 Thessalonians would have to be chastity in sexual matters, diligence in work, and intelligent fervency in eschatological hope. Overarching everything else in these letters are the questions of a surrounding eschatology, and we can see that however fervent Paul was in his eschatological hope, he was unbending in his understanding that such hope had ethical corollaries — do not be unchaste and do not be lazy.
He concludes the letter with a benediction, calling upon the God of peace to sanctify the Thessalonians entirely. He prays that this sanctification unto blamelessness would be extensive in their persons (spirit, soul, body), which would include their sexual behavior, and also extensive in time (until the parousia of the Lord Jesus).