HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
MALHERBE, Abraham J.. Ethics in Context: the Thessalonians and their neighbours. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2012, vol.68, n.1, pp. 200-210. ISSN 2072-8050.
First Thessalonians was written within a few months, following the conversion of Paul's Greek readers, and reflects how his ethical teaching was part of his proclamation. Paul's preaching of the gospel, intimately connected with the kind of person he was, brought about a close personal relationship between him and his converts. Whilst he stood as a moral model for them, he nevertheless spoke for God, and thus, his ethical instruction was grounded theologically. His converts would have understood how moral dicta, with which they were familiar, were derived from philosophy, but not from religion, as Jews and Christians held. In the overtly paraenetic sections of the letter (ch. 4 and 5), Paul was at great pains to underline this connection, which was the main point he was making.