1 Thessalonians 1:1-2 

1 Thess 1:1 “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;”           

As was Paul’s custom in writing he begins by identifying who is writing the letter and then he identifies to whom the letter is written.  Next, we see his salutation. 

The writer of the letter is Paul, but he also mentions Silvanus and Timotheus.  While Paul is the main contributor to the letter, it would appear that he had input from both Silvanus and Timotheus. 

I know from personal experience that when I receive a letter that the first thing I look for is name of the writer of the letter.  How much attention I pay to the letter will depend on who wrote the letter.  Paul first identifies himself.  Paul’s history at that time would have been well known by the churches that existed during his time.  They would have known that his name had been changed from Saul to Paul.  Also, they would have known that as Saul of Tarsus he was the worst persecutor of the early church.  They would have heard about how he had breathed out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of Christ and how he had persecuted even unto death.  They would also have known of his experience on the Damascus Road and how the Lord appeared unto him and then afterwards how he had been the great defender of the faith and how himself had suffered many persecutions by the Jews because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Next, Paul mentioned Silvanus.  Silvanus’ name is mentioned four times in the scriptures.  The other three times are listed below:

    1.  2 Cor. 1:19 “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.”

     2.  2 Th. 1:1 “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:”

    3.  1 Pet. 5:12 “By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.” 

Silvanus is described by Peter as being a faithful brother.  He is also said to be a preacher of Jesus Christ.  While not a lot is said in the scriptures about Silvanus, he certainly was respected by Paul and by Peter.  There are a lot of the Lord’s preachers who get little notice, but their preaching and service is nonetheless important to the church of Jesus Christ.

Then Paul mentions Timotheus.  We refer to him as Timothy.  In the book of Acts we see his name mentioned several times.  We know that his mother was a Jew and his father was a Greek.  Moreover, we know that Paul circumcised him so that he would have liberty among the Jews to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Historically we know that he was a pastor and teacher.  Furthermore Paul wrote 2 of his 3 pastoral epistles to Timothy. 

To the church at Thessalonica a letter from these three men would have carried a lot of weight and been esteemed as being very important.  Likewise, to us today, this epistle should be esteemed very highly as all of Paul’s writings in the New Testament for we know that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).

Furthermore, we find that Paul addressed the letter to “the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ:”  From this we can conclude that Paul is addressing the letter to born again disciples of Jesus Christ.  He has addressed it to those in Thessalonica who are in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The preposition “in” is positional.  It positions the members of the church at Thessalonica as being positioned in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul told us in Ephesians 1:4 how we got to be in Christ: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

In every letter that Paul wrote to churches and to individuals, he began each epistle with the salutation of “grace and peace.”  Moreover, he ended each of his epistles with the closing statement of God’s “grace.”  This was a mark of Paul’s writings.  He completely surrounded his writings with the mention of God’s grace.  Grace means the unmerited favor of God.  If any work or action is required on our part then it ceases to be grace: Rom. 11:6 “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”  The following things are some of the things that are said to be by the grace of God and therefore our works or actions are not required:

1. Acts 18:27 “And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:” Thus, our belief is by the grace of God.

2. Rom. 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Justification from sin is by the grace of God.

3. Rom. 11:5 “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”  Election is by grace.

4. Rom. 12:6 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;” The spiritual gifts we possess are by the grace of God.

5. 2 Cor. 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  God’s supplies in the midst of infirmities are by grace.

6. Gal. 1:15 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,” God’s calling is by grace.

7. Eph. 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”  Being made accepted in Christ is by grace.

8. Eph. 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” Redemption and the forgiveness of sins is by grace.

9. Eph. 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).  The spiritual birth is by grace.

10. Eph. 3:7 “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”  The calling to and the gift of the ministry is by the grace of God.

11. 2 Tim. 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” Our salvation and calling is by the grace of God.

Like grace, peace also comes from God.  As individuals we need peace with God; we need peace in the courtroom of our heart and mind and we need peace in the midst of our trials and cares of this life.  Peace with God came through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on behalf of our sins so that we now have peace with God.  Peace in the courtroom of our heart and mind comes through hearing and believing the gospel truth that Jesus in covenant died for our sins and redeemed us unto God.  Peace in the midst of our trials and cares comes through believing the word of God and looking to the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

“From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Finally, the source of our grace and peace is from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the word “God” suggests He has almighty power and thus has the ability to deliver us.  Next as “our Father” He has the care of a perfect Father for his children.  As the “Lord” He is our Master who gives us as his servants our direction and the things we need to be able to serve him in an acceptable way.  As “Jesus” he has saved us from our sins.  As “Christ” He is our King who reins over us and gives us our government and has dominion over us, and our High Priest who offered the perfect sacrifice unto God for us and who now makes continual intercession for us.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;” Paul was thankful for the members of the church at Thessalonica and he included his thanksgiving to God continually in his prayers.  We should show the same thankfulness to God for the disciples of Christ, especially those that we are acquainted with and mention them in our prayers.