Study Guide

Silvanus in 1-2 Thessalonians

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Another one of Paul's cohorts, Silvanus, is hanging around in this letter, though he doesn't actually get to do much.

Silvanus is named as one of the co-authors of this letter, which means the Thessalonians would have known him well. And Paul would have respected him enough to add his name to the top of the stationery. Paul casually drops Silvanus's name in 2 Corinthians 1:19, too—so obviously, this guy gets around. But who is he?

Silvanus also appears pretty extensively in Acts of the Apostles, where he's better known by his Greek nickname Silas. There, he and Paul have all kinds of crazy adventures starting in Acts 15, when Silas is hand-picked by the apostles in Jerusalem to join up with Paul's ministry in Antioch. It turns out to be a pretty sweet gig. They two guys travel all around the eastern half of the Roman Empire and Silas teaches, prophesizes (Acts 15:32), and even does time with Paul (Acts 16:19).

These guys were tight.

Today, Silvanus is celebrated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran churches. There's even some ancient Christian writings attributed to him called "The Teachings of Silvanus". Sadly, the pupil did not overtake the master and Silvanus's thoughts never made it to the big show in the Bible.

Better luck next time, guy.

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