While Paul is in Corinth, A.D. 50 – 52, he writes three epistles, two to the church in Thessalonica and one to the churches in Galatia.
Paul spends only “three Sabbath days” in Thessalonica (Acts 17: 2) and he encounters such opposition that “as soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea” (Acts 17: 16), lest they be stoned. Very quickly persecution against the Church begins, yet in a mere six months the emerging church in Thessalonica becomes “a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia”; indeed, their “faith in God has become known everywhere” (1 Thessalonians 1: 7; 8). In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Paul addresses questions raised by the believers in Thessalonica, urgent questions asked by what is fast becoming a “martyr church."
Galatia is a territory in central Asia Minor, not a city, and Paul writes his epistle as a circular letter to be read to all the churches in the territory. Paul had not planned to travel through Galatia on his second missionary journey, but it was “because of an illness” (Galatians 4: 13) that he did, sometime in early A.D. 50. Once settled in Corinth in mid-A.D. 50, Paul receives word that the churches in Galatia have adopted a new gospel, different from the one Paul preached. In Galatians, Paul straightens them out—in no uncertain terms: “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned” [in other words, tell him to “go to hell!”] (Galatians 1: 8).
©2014 William C. Creasy (P)2013 William C. Creasy