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19 God’s New Family at Thessalonica

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author argues the case in Paul's first letter to his converts in Thessalonica, whom Wayne Meeks calls "this new 'family of God'. " Paul appears in this letter in the first instance to be engaged in pastoral care rather than doing theology. He clearly has in view a group of recent converts from paganism who need direction on various aspects of the Christian life. Throughout the letter, Paul stresses God's initiative and continuing activity. Paul uses familial terms to describe his relationship with the Thessalonians. The intensity with which Paul uses the language and images and the wide range of pagan and Jewish traditions from which they are derived, suggest a more immediate reason for Paul's heavy emphasis on the various relationships he describes, and for the particular, familial way in which he describes those relationships.

Keywords: Paul; Thessalonica



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