Thessalonica was a very large, populous, and flourishing city, it
was "liberae conditionis", as Pliny says {a}, a free city, and the
metropolis of Macedonia; it was formerly called Halis {b}, and had
the name of Thessalonica given it by Philip king of Macedon, on
account of his conquest of Thessalia, which this name signifies; and
some say he gave this name to a daughter of his on that occasion,
who was afterwards the wife of Cassander; who, others say, called
this place by his wife's name {c}, which before was Therme: its name
with the Italians is Salonichi, and is now in the hands of the
Turks, as all Greece is: here the Apostle Paul came after he had
been at Philippi, and stayed about three weeks, and preached every
sabbath day, and his ministry was blessed to the conversion of some
Jews, a multitude of devout Greeks, and many of the chief women of
the place, which laid the foundation of a Gospel church; to which
the apostle wrote this epistle, and is the first of all the epistles
he wrote: the occasion of it was this; the unbelieving Jews, vexed
to see the apostle's success, raised a mob of the baser sort of
people, and assaulted the house of Jason, where the apostle and his
companions were; but Paul and Silas were sent away by night to
Berea, which the rabble understanding, followed them thither; when
Paul was sent as if he was going to the sea, but was conducted by
the brethren to Athens, who gave orders that Silas and Timothy
should come to him with all speed, as they did; and Timothy was sent
back to Thessalonica to establish and comfort the young converts
there; and returning with good news of their faith, and charity, to
the apostle at Corinth, he sent them from thence this epistle, and
not from Athens, as some have thought: the design of which is to
encourage them under their afflictions and sufferings; to exhort
them to stand fast in the Lord, to abide by his truths and
ordinances, and to live an holy life and conversation, and to regard
the several duties of religion, towards God and one another, and
those that were set over them; and in it he instructs them
concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the coming of Christ,
articles of very great importance and concern: the writing of this
epistle is placed by Dr. Lightfoot in the 51st year of Christ, and
in the 11th of Claudius Caesar.


This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle; the apostle's
salutation of the persons it is written to; his thanksgiving for
blessings received by them; an account of the manner in which the
Gospel came to them, how they behaved when it was preached to them,
and of the success of it in their conversion. The inscription which
expresses the names of the persons concerned in the epistle, and
describes those to whom it is written, and also the salutation, which
is the same as in other epistles, are in \\#1Th 1:1\\ and then follows
a thanksgiving to God made in prayer to him for the special graces of
the Spirit bestowed on them, as faith, hope, and love, and the lively
exercise of them in which they were; the source and spring of which
was the electing love of God, \\#1Th 1:2-4\\ and the evidence of their
election of God to the apostle, was the manner in which the Gospel
came to them; not merely in the external ministry of it, but in the
internal efficacy of it, through the power of the Holy Ghost,
\\#1Th 1:5\\ and the effects of it upon them; it found an hearty
reception among them, in much affliction, and with joy of the Holy
Ghost; so that they not only professed it, and became the followers of
Christ and his apostles, but were examples unto others, \\#1Th 1:6,7\\
for the fame of the Gospel being preached unto them, and of their
faith, were spread everywhere, so that the apostle had no need to say
anything about it, \\#1Th 1:8\\ the manner of their entrance among
them, and the issue of it, their conversion, were so manifest to all;
which is described by what they were turned from, idols; and by what
they were turned to, the living God; and by the ends of it, which were
to serve God, and wait for Jesus Christ; the arguments engaging to
which are, his relation to God as his Son, his being raised from the
dead by him; his being in heaven, exalted at his right hand there,
from whence he is expected; and his having, by his sufferings and
death, delivered his people from wrath to come, \\#1Th 1:9,10\\.