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The Outline and the Eschatological Outlook of 1 and 2 Thess

1. How would the book of 1 Thess be outlined with standard epistolary forms and main topics with the various sections relating to one another?

2. Compare eschatological outlooks of 1 Thess 4:13-5:11 and 2 Thess 2:12.

3. Does the letters have any irreconcilable difference in thieir eschatological outlooks. If so, what are the implications for our understanding of the letters and/or Paul. If not, how do we reconcile the eschatological outlooks? Which discussion seems earlier or does one seem to lead to or presume the other?

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1. The outline of 1 Thessalonians can be classified under three main divisions: Opening formula which includes thanksgiving and congratulatory words, the body of the letter and then the conclusion.

I: Opening formula (1 Thess 1:1)
A) Address and Greeting

B) Thanksgiving and Congratulations for Faithfulness (1 Thess 1:2-10)
1. Thanksgiving for the faith, love and hope of the Thessalonians (1:2-3)
2. Acknowledgment of what the Word has done in the lives of the Thessalonians and how the fame of their faith has spread to the extent that they became models to believers in Macedonia and Achaia (1:4-8)
3. The Thessalonians are well spoken of and they are now waiting in hope for the second coming of Jesus, the Son of God, who saves from the judgment to come (1:9-10)

II: The Body of the Letter (1 Thess 2:1-5:22)
A. Paul, his colleagues and the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2)
1. The presence of Paul and his colleagues among the Thessalonians was not in vain, rather it was full of good example and effective. They did not only preach, but showed also example of how to live a worthy and hardworking life (2:1-12)
2. Thanksgiving for the promptness with which the Thessalonians accepted the Gospel presented by Paul as God's word. They remained true to the teachings notwithstanding sufferings (2:13-16)
3. The anxiety of Paul to see the Thessalonians once more (though they were prevented by Satan) and share their joy with them. He considers them his pride and honour (2:17-20)

B) Timothy's mission to Thessalonica (1 Thess 3)
1. Paul's anxiety led him to send Timothy to Thessalonica so that he could keep them firm and encourage them in their faith. Consequently, they will be stable when tried (3:1-5)
2. Paul thanks God for the good news brought back by Timothy about the faith and love of the Thessalonians

C) Ethical Admonition and exhortation (1 Thess 4:1-12)
1. Living a life that is pleasing to God and abstinence from sexual immorality. God has called them to be holy (4:1-8)
2. He encouraged them to stand out in their love for one another and to earn their living and not be dependent on anyone (4:9-12)

D) Instructions on the parousia (1 Thess 4:13-5:11)
1. Not to grieve over fellow believers who died in the faith. Just as Jesus died and rose up from the dead, will God raise those who died (4:13-14)
2. On the last day, those who are still alive will have no advantage over those asleep. Rather, they will be the first to rise and then will the living follow (4:15-17)
3. No one knows the times and dates because the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. ...

Solution Summary

There are three main standard classifications for Epistles: Opening formula, The Body of the Letter, Concluding Formula. Nevertheless, the contents of each letter could make a difference in terms of braodening the concepts concealed under the three main divisions. This solution provides three different outlines for the First Letter to the Thessalonians.
The two Letters to Thessalonians speak much about echatology. The First letter has a lot of eschatological themes that are intertwined with the whole message of the Letter. Our attention though was latter focused on 1 Thess 4:13-5:11 where the theme is well elaborated.
The Second Letter dealt with the evident confusion among the Thessalonians regarding whether or not the Day of the Lord has arrived. After taking a look at the eschatology of the second letter, this solution compared the views of the Letters.