Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/120

This page has been validated.



by the land route to Derbe and to Lystra, where Timothy became his associate, he then apparently went to Iconium and Pisidian Antioch and then northward into Galatia proper, that is "Galatia" in the older and narrower sense of the term. Finally he went down to Troas, a seaport on the Ægean Sea. At Troas he must have been joined by Luke, the author of The Acts, since the narrative in Acts here begins to be carried on by the use of the first person, "we," instead of "they," thus showing that the author was present.

Setting sail from Troas, the apostolic company soon came to Philippi in Macedonia, where an important church was founded. At last Paul and Silas were imprisoned, and although they were released through divine interposition and by the second thought of the city authorities, they were requested by the authorities to leave the city.

Arriving at Thessalonica, Paul preached in the synagogue, and founded an important church, chiefly composed of Gentiles. But after a stay shorter than had been intended, persecution instigated by the Jews drove Paul out of the city. He went then to Athens, where he preached not merely in the synagogue but also directly to the Gentile passers-by in the market place.

At Corinth, the capital of the Roman province Achaia, embracing Greece proper, large numbers of converts were won, and Paul spent about two years in the city. Not long after the beginning of this Corinthian residence, he wrote the two Thessalonian Epistles.

The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians

The First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written just after Paul had received his first news from the Thessalonica church. He had been obliged to leave Thessalonica before he had intended. Would his work in that city be permanent? Would the converts remain faithful to Christ? These were serious questions. The Thessalonian converts were living in the midst of a corrupt paganism, and Paul had not had time to instruct them fully in the things of Christ. Every human probability was against the maintenance of their Christian life. But at last Paul received his first news from Thessalonica. And the news was good news. God was watching over his children; the great wonder had been wrought; a true Christian church had been founded at Thessalonica. The letter which Paul wrote at such a time is very naturally a simple, warm expression of gratitude to God.