The Letters to the Thessalonians
The Letters to the Thessalonians

The Letters to the Thessalonians

in Pillar New Testament Commentary

by Gene L. Green

4.87 Rank Score: 7.17 from 13 reviews, 6 featured collections, and 32 user libraries
Pages 440
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 1/1/2002
ISBN-13 9780802837387
In this commentary Gene Green reads Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians in light of the canon of Scripture and of new knowledge about the first-century world of Thessalonica. This fruitful approach helps illuminate the impact of the gospel on its original readers and, in turn, shows how potent a force it can be for the church and society today.

The book begins with an in-depth study of the Thessalonians themselves -- their history, land, socioeconomic conditions, and religious environment. This fascinating discussion gives the necessary context for fully appreciating the circumstances surrounding the founding of the city's first church and the subsequent struggles of the Thessalonian believers to live out their Christian faith.

The main body of the book provides informed verse-by-verse commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians that extracts the fullest possible meaning from these important New Testament texts. As Green's exposition shows, the Thessalonian scriptures are especially valuable as letters of friendship and for showing Paul's pastoral concern for the many areas in which the Thessalonians needed guidance. Some of Paul's purposes are to thank the new believers for their steadfastness amid suffering, to encourage them in their trials, to urge them not to neglect their daily work, and, no less important, to teach them about the future of believers who die before Christ returns. Indeed, the matter of the last things and the second coming of Christ so permeates these texts that they are often called Paul's eschatological letters.

Filled with new information about ancient society, this commentary will fast become a standard reference work for Bible study. By carefully bridging the biblical and modern worlds, Green shows with clarity and warmth the continuing relevance of 1 & 2 Thessalonians for contemporary readers.


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Green’s commentary contains helpful background information. It’s particularly valuable in the depth of insight it provides into the Graeco-Roman context of these letters. Green provides a reliable exposition of even the most difficult portions of the text. [Full Review]
Nijay K. Gupta Nijay K. Gupta September 27, 2019
Green’s strengths lie in a close reading of the Greek text and his mastery of the socio-historical setting of ancient Thessalonica. [Full Review]
Robert M. Bowman Jr. Robert M. Bowman Jr. December 10, 2016
One of the best evangelical commentaries on the epistles. [Full Review]
Tim Challies Tim Challies August 26, 2013
The clear consensus for the best commentary on the two letters to the Thessalonians is Green’s commentary from the PNTC series. Because 2 Thessalonians contains a very difficult and much disputed text (2 Thess. 2:1-12), few people are going to agree with one commentator all the way. Though even Green will not satisfy everyone, the experts all agree that he does justice to the letters and handle them fairly. This commentary is the place to begin. [Full Review]
Mark Heath Mark Heath March 5, 2010
Very illuminating commentary on Thessalonians. Green's lengthy introduction includes a critique of the rhetorical analysis approach and gives a considerable amount of historical background. He often quotes from first century sources and sees the client-patron relationship as key to understanding the letters. [Full Review]
Because the epistles to the Thessalonians contain one of the most difficult and debated texts in the entire New Testament (2 Thess. 2:1-12), it is next to impossible to find a commentary with an interpretation of this text with which there are no unresolved problems. Green's outstanding commentary is not without its own problems on this text, but all things considered, this is probably the best commentary on these letters currently available. It contains much helpful background information and very helpful theological insight. [Full Review]
Brian LeStourgeon Brian LeStourgeon July 31, 2008
This is a compact, learned, and useful treatment of the two letters. Wanamaker (NIGTC, 1990) is good, but more technical and older.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary series is designed for pastors and teachers of the Bible but aims at a reading audience that also includes the serious student and the general reader of the Bible. Therefore it seeks to avoid undue technical, detail although it does engage with informed contemporary issues of interpretation. The New International Version (NIV) is the version of choice for this series, but the Greek text itself serves as the basis of the exposition. (The version of the NIV used for the commentaries is the 1973, 1978, 1984 copyrighted edition. In this way, the debate and controversy surrounding the latest version of the NIV, Todays New International Version [ TNIV], 2001, is not at issue.) The final stated goal of the series is to blend rigorous exegesis and exposition with a view toward the contemporary relevance of the Bible without confusing the commentary and the sermon. Greens commentary on the 1 and 2 Thessalonian s is another exceptional contribution to this commentary series. The format and methodology of the commentary follows a traditional pattern of arrangement and exposition. The introductory chapter covers the obligatory terrain: social-historical examination of the Thessalonian community and culture, the history, land, socioeconomic condition, and religious environment. [Full Review]
Gene Green, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, builds on a previous Spanish commentary on the Thessalonian epistles in this recent addition to the Pillar series. Green intends to read these letters in the l ight of relevant materials from the city and world of that era in order to help us better understand the impact of the gospel of Christ on its first readers (xiii). His extensive introduction (seventy-seven pages) surveys the geography and history of Macedonia and Thessalonica, the government, the social and economic worlds of Thessalonica, and its religion. While Thessalonica was a first-century civitas libera, exercising judicial authority apart from the Roman governor (see Acts 17:59), pro-Roman sentiments prevailed, ba sed in particular on the system of patronage or clientela. The citys dependence on th e emperor and his benefaction meant obligatory participation in the imperial cult, explaining the accusation of sedition against the apostles and the fledgling church that proclaimed another king, Jesus (Acts 17:7). [Full Review]