I Thes. 1:1-10
During the one and one-half years that Paul and his team preached in Corinth, he wrote two letters to the church in Thessalonica. The first epistle was written shortly after Timothy had rejoined Paul in Corinth.
Paul had left Thessalonica under a great persecution. It was only about a month since he had established this church. After his departure, the Jews had continued to persecute the young church. He had sent Timothy to encourage and strengthen them. Timothy returned with the news that they were enduring the persecution and continuing to flourish.
The letter began with Paul, [along with Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy] stating how thankful he was to God for their work of faith and love, their patience of hope and their election by God. They were elected by God in the same manner as all who obey His commands in becoming Christians.
Paul observed how well the Thessalonians had received his teachings—not just as words, but as the power of the Holy Spirit had guided him. They had followed him even as he had followed the Lord.
After Rome had overtaken Greece, the country was divided into two parts—Macedonia to the north and Achaia to the south. Because of its location, the Thessalonian church had a large influence in both areas.
This church that was only a few months old was able to endure much affliction from the Jews and to overcome the presence of a vast number of idol worshippers. Paul complimented them because their examples of faithful living were spreading throughout all of Greece.