Cruelty and Violence
"Prove all things; hold fast to what is good." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:21
First Thessalonians for Skeptics
First Thessalonians, written by Paul around 49 CE, is probably the first Christian writing that we have today (1). In it we
learn that Jesus will come soon. Until then we need to hold on to our vessels (wives or penises, depending on translation) in holy way (4:4).
Here are some highlights.
- Paul, with his usual modesty, proclaims that he is holy, just, and blameless. 2:10
- He accuses the Jews of killing Jesus, persecuting the prophets, displeasing God, and
being "contrary to all men." The wrath of God will "come upon them to the
- Paul would have come to visit the Thessalonians but Satan stopped him. 2:18
- He expected Jesus to return within his lifetime and those of his followers. 2:19,
3:13, 4:15-17, 5:23
- "Every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour." 4:4
- "We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."
Christians get the idea of the rapture from this verse. 4:17
- "Prove all things; hold fast to what is good." 5:21
- "Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss." 5:26
11>Bart D. Ehrman,
Misquoting Jesus (2005),