1. 1 Thessalonians 1:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

How does the introduction to the letter follow the format of an ancient Greek letter?

1 Thessalonians 1:1 (ESV)

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

Unlike today, in the New Testament world, paper (or its ancient equivalent) was expensive, so writers did not leave blank spaces, since doing so would have consumed too much of the valuable writing material. As a result, we must look carefully at the meaning of the actual words to find the divisions of the letters.

In the first century, letters followed a fairly standard format. The usual format of an ancient Greek letter starts with the sender’s name, then gives the name of the recipient(s), followed by a greeting, possibly a prayer wish, the body of the letter, and a closing section.1 1 Thessalonians follows this format. In 1:1 we have the senders (Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy), the recipients (the church of the Thessalonians), and a greeting (grace and peace to you).