Thessalonians (thĕsˌəlōˈnēənz) [key], two letters of the New Testament. First Thessalonians was written by St. Paul from Corinth, c.A.D. 51, and addressed to the newly founded church at Thessalonica (Thessaloníki). It opens with a reminiscence of the founding of the church there. The second part deals with moral behavior and the need for loving relationships among believers. Paul assures the Thessalonians that believers who have died are not be lost; they will rise from the dead when Christ returns. He stresses the suddenness of that coming and the need to be prepared. An exhortation concludes the letter. Second Thessalonians, a shorter letter, deals with similar themes as in First Thessalonians, but is more strident in tone. In an apocalyptic passage, St. Paul gives the signs that will precede the Judgment. Scholars have questioned the authorship authenticity of this apocalyptic passage.
See studies by F. F. Bruce (1982), C. A. Wanamaker (1990), and L. Morris (rev. ed. 1991).