Paul’s Church Planting

The following are my notes of Ed Gravely’s lecture at SEBTS.

We know the following things about how Paul planted a church in Thessalonica by looking at Acts 17:

1. Paul first preached in Thessalonica during his 2nd missionary journey according to Acts 17:1-9.

2. Paul stayed in Thessalonica for at least 3 weeks (Acts 17:2) but probably he stayed there longer (maybe around 6 months?).

3. After Paul left Thessalonica he went to Berea. The Thessalonian Jews tracked him down and incited the Bereans to expel him from the city (Acts 17:10-15).

4. Paul continued his travels and was apparently reached with news of the Thessalonians by Timothy while he was in Corinth.

5. Paul writes 1 Thessalonians to answer questions and accusations brought by Timothy.

– The missionaries were preaching to fatten their wallets.
– Inclination to moral laxity and laziness (in light of the Eschaton).
– They had no respect for church elders.
– While answering these questions Paul defends his apostleship encourages faithfulness and holiness (in the face of persecution) and comforts with and teaches the church about the Lord’s return.

We know the following things about Paul’s church planting in Corinth:

1. Paul visits Corinth on the 2nd missionary journey and is there for more than one year (Acts 18:11).

2. Paul moves on to Ephesus and beyond. he hears of troubles in the church and writes them a letter (“the previous letter” 1 Cor. 5:9) which they misunderstood (1 Cor. 5:10-11).

3. Paul also receives questions / problems from Corinth. He writes 1 Corinthians to answer those concerns around AD 55.

4. Paul learns that 1 Corinthians didn’t do its job. He pays the Corinthians a visit (“the painful visit”). He doesn’t stay long.

5. After leaving Paul writes a letter “out of great distress and anguish of heart” (the sorrowful letter). Probably carried to them by Titus.

6. Paul leaves Ephesus and moves on to Troas. He is waiting for Titus to get news of how helpful the painful visit and the sorrowful letter had been.

7. Paul writes 2 Corinthians because some problems remain but generally he is relieved to hear that things have improved.

8. Some time later Paul visits Corinth for a 3rd time (Acts. 20:2).


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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, 2 Thessalonians, Acts, Church Planting, Lectures, Scripture, SEBTS

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