d The address of the first Epistle is shorter than that of any of the Pauline letters. In the other Epistles Paul either indicates the contents of the letter, or adds details concerning the writer or his correspondents, or amplifies the apostolic greeting. The names of Silvanus and Timothy are added to that of Paul as the senders of the letter. They were with him at Corinth when it was written (Acts 18:5
; 2 Corinthians 1:19
). They had assisted him in the foundation of the Thessalonian Church (Acts 16:1-3
; Acts 17:4
, Acts 17:10
, Acts 17:14
). Paul's official title; “Apostle” is omitted in the addresses of both Epistles, although in 1 Thessalonians 2:6
he uses ἀπόστολοι apostlesincluding Silvanus and Timothy under that title. The title appears in all the other Epistles except Philippians and Philemon. The reason for its omission in every case appears to have been the intimate and affectionate character of his relations with the parties addressed, which rendered an appeal to his apostolic authority unnecessary. Paul does not confine the name of apostle to the twelve.
The Silas of the Acts, where alone the form Σίλας occurs. By Paul always Σιλουανός , of which Σίλας is a contraction, as Λουκᾶς from Λουκανός . Similar contractions occur in Class., as Ἁλεξᾶς for Ἁλέξανδρος for Ἁλέξανδρος , and that for Ἁρτεμίδωρος . Silas first appears in Acts 15:22, as one of the bearers of the letter to the Gentile Christians at Antioch. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary tour, and was left behind with Timothy when Paul departed from Macedonia after his first visit. He was probably a Jewish Christian (see Acts 16:20), and was, like Paul, a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37, Acts 16:38). Hence his Roman name. He cannot with any certainty be identified with the Silvanus of 1 Peter 5:12.
Appears in all the Pauline Epistles except Galatians and Ephesians. He was associated with Paul longer than any one of whom we have notice. First mentioned Acts 16:1, Acts 16:2; comp. 2 Timothy 3:10, 2 Timothy 3:11. He accompanied Paul on his second missionary tour (Acts 16:3), and was one of the founders of the churches in Thessalonica and Philippi. He is often styled by Paul “the brother” (2 Corinthians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Philemon 1:1); with Paul himself “a bondservant of Jesus Christ” (Philemon 1:1); comp. 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2. Paul's confidence in him appears in Philemon 2:19-22, and is implied in his sending him from Athens to the Thessalonian church to establish and comfort its members (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Paul sent him again to Macedonia in company with Erastus (Acts 19:22), and also to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17). To the Corinthians he writes of Timothy as “his beloved and faithful child in the Lord” who shall remind them of his ways in Christ (1 Corinthians 4:17), and as one who worketh the work of the Lord as he himself (1 Corinthians 16:10). He joined Paul at Rome, and his name is associated with Paul's in the addresses of the letters to the Colossians and Philemon. In every case where he is mentioned by name with Silvanus, the name of Silvanus precedes.
To the church of the Thessalonians
This form of address appears in 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, 2nd Thessalonians. The other letters are addressed to “the saints, “ “the brethren, “ “the saints and faithful brethren.” The use of the genitive of the national name is peculiar. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Philemon 1:1; Colossians 1:2.
The church ( ἐκκλησίᾳ )
From ἐκ outand καλεῖν tocall or summon. Originally with a secular meaning, an assembly of citizens regularly summoned. So Acts 19:39. lxx uses it for the congregation of Israel, either as convened for a definite purpose (1 Kings 8:65; Deuteronomy 4:10; Deuteronomy 18:16), or as a community (2 Chronicles 1:3, 2 Chronicles 1:5; 2 Chronicles 23:3; Nehemiah 8:17). The verbs ἐκκλησιάζειν and ἐξεκκλησιάζειν tosummon formally, which do not occur in N.T., are found in lxx with συναγωγὴν gathering λαόν peopleand πρεσβυτέρους elders Συναγωγὴ is constantly used in lxx of the children of Israel as a body (Exodus 12:6, Exodus 12:19, Exodus 12:47; Leviticus 4:13, etc.), and is the more common word in N.T. for a Jewish as distinguished from a Christian assembly; sometimes with the addition of the Jews (Acts 8:5; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1). It is once used of a Christian assembly (James 2:2). Ἑπισυναγωγὴ gatheringtogether, occurs 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Hebrews 10:25. The Ebionites retained συναγωγὴ in preference to ἐκκλησία . The lxx translators found two Hebrew words for “assembly” or “congregation,”: עֵדָה and קָהָל, and rendered the former by συναγωγὴ in the great majority of instances. Ἑκκλησία does not appear as the rendering of עֵדָה. They were not as consistent in rendering קָהָל, since they used both συναγωγὴ and ἐκκλησία , though the latter was the more frequent: see Leviticus 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:22, etc. The A.V. renders both words by “congregation” and “assembly” indiscriminately. Ἑκκλησία is only once used in N.T. of a Jewish congregation, Acts 7:38; yet there are cases where there is an apparent attempt to guard its distinctively Christian sense against being confounded with the unconverted Jewish communities. Hence the addition; ἐν Χριστῷ inChrist, Galatians 1:22; ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ και, κυρίῳ Ἱησοῦ Χριστῷ inGod the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 1:1; comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:1. In both Hebrew and N.T. usage, ἐκκλησία implies a community based on a special religious idea, and established in a special way. In N.T. it is also used in a narrower sense, of a single church, or of a church confined to a single place. So Romans 16:5, etc.
In God the Father, etc.
Const. with the church, and comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:1. The phrase “the church in God” is peculiar to the Thessalonian Epistles. Elsewhere “of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32; 1 Corinthians 11:16, 1 Corinthians 11:22; 1 Corinthians 15:9, etc.); “of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Lightfoot suggests that the word ἐκκλησία can scarcely have been stamped with so definite a Christian meaning in the minds of these recent and early converts as to render the addition “in God the Father,” etc., superfluous.
Grace to you and peace ( χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη )
In Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, the salutation is, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Colossians omits the last five words of this: 2Thessalonians omits our before Father. On the union of the Greek and Jewish forms of salutation, see on 1 Corinthians 1:3.