Thessalonica, back in Paul’s day was the largest city and capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. The population exceeded 200,000 and the inhabitants were mostly Greek, although many other ethnic groups resided in Thessalonica, including Jews. Today the town is called Salonica and although the population has slightly grown to 322,240 half of the population is Jewish. The citizens of Thessalonica were mostly idolaters. Most of the Church congregants came from paganism, although this is a debate amongst scholars, whereas some feel that is was Jews and Gentiles that made up the Church based on Acts 17:1-10.
Paul preached in Thessalonica for three Sabbaths, estimated between 15 and 27 days for a total of 8 or 9 sessions. The people that attended Paul’s teachings were some Jews, lots of God-fearers and some important Gentile women. The majority of the Jews were upset of the number of converts that Paul was gathering and riots broke out. A big issue to the citizens is that Paul claimed there was another King other than Caesar. Being a free city, they feared if another King was around, there freedom could end.
There were three main reasons for Paul to write 1 Thessalonians. To keep their spirits up will they were under such persecution and to encourage them to stay steadfast. The second reason was to offer further instruct on how to live a holy, clean, moral life. And lastly, to correct any misgivings and misunderstandings about the second coming of Christ as the people were concerned about there already departed loved ones. The clear evidence to assure the latter is that Paul ended each chapter in 1 Thessalonians with a reference to the second coming of Christ.
Although Paul’s first letter was based off of news that Timothy brought back to him after a quick visit, the second letter was based more toward the misunderstand of the Lords return and instructed the congregants to return to work and not to refuse to work while waiting for the Lord’s return as the return of Christ had an unknown time. He did encourage them again to stay strong regarding the persecution, however he was more concerned with the misunderstanding of the Lord’s return and disciplinary action of those who were refusing to work.
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work." 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17
As in 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17, the advice that Paul gives is very solid. This should be taught by all and followed. Paul’s letters are all very telling and hold invaluable advice that all should teach and all should follow. He talks about spiritual growth and thanking God, patience during persecution, encouragement etc. Paul speaks to how one should live, which is relevant in today’s world.