Richard Ascough

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online August 2011 | | DOI:


The two letters written to the Christian group at the city of Thessalonica occupy the thirteenth and fourteenth places in the canon of the New Testament; they are eighth and ninth in the sequence of Paul’s letters. There is little doubt that Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians, and many scholars consider it to be one of his earliest letters. In contrast, the authenticity of 2 Thessalonians is much contested, with scholars split between ascribing it to Paul and ascribing it to a later writer using Paul’s name. On the other hand, the textual integrity of 2 Thessalonians is secure, while 1 Thessalonians is argued by some to be a combination of two or more letters, or at the very least, they suggest, it contains a nonauthentic interpolation at 2:13–16. The primary aim of 1 Thessalonians is to encourage Jesus’ believers to continue to progress in their faith, and Paul addresses some practical concerns to that effect: sexual morality, community relationships, and Jesus’ return. In 2 Thessalonians the emphasis lies on addressing fear and anxiety over the return of Jesus and some problematic behavior within the group.

Article.  12949 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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