Situated near the site of Therma on the Thermaic Gulf, Thessalonica was located near the northermost reaches of the Aegean Sea. “The ancient city was founded in Macedonia (a region that encompassed roughly the northern half of the Greek peninsula) about 315 b.c. by Cassander, who named it after his wife, Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip II and sister of Alexander the Great.” (Martin, 1995, p.21)
Enjoying the status of a ‘free’, self-governing city (although still under Roman control), Thessalonica was the most inﬂuential city in Macaedonia. The city functioned as a very important trade city, as it was located on the Via Egnatia trade route (the major east-west highway from Asia Minor to Rome).
On hearing the gospel, many Thessalonians were persuaded and the church grew quickly under the supervision of Paul. Many amongst the Jewish community, however, were not persuaded and instigated a riot in the city, hoping to trap Paul and his companions (Acts 17:1-9). Due to this, Paul was forced to leave the city of Thessalonica earlier than expected. As a result, two important factors were at play: * There was dissent amongst some of the Thessalonian believers, who queried whether Paul may have been motivated by money or power (hence his defense of his ministry in 1 Thessalonians 2). * The Thessalonian believers still had many lingering questions about the faith, that Paul had been unable to answer during his brief stay.
Paul, accompanied by Timothy and Silas on his second missionary journey (circa 50 A.D.), wrote this ﬁrst letter from Corinth to the Thessalonians as a result of his visit to their city. The letter is dated by the majority of scholars at or around 51 A.D. This date is based on an inscription found in Delphi that mentions the same proconsul Gallio, whom Paul encountered in Corinth (see…...