“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:1).
A typical first-century letter often began with the name of the author, the intended recipient, and a personal greeting. While Paul the Apostle followed that standard format in his letter to the Thessalonian church, we should note that he also included two additional contributors: Silvanus and Timothy.
Although Paul was primarily responsible for the content of this letter, (1) the inclusion of Silvanus and Timothy indicates that he sought to collaborate with other proven, God-honoring individuals in authoring this message. (2) It also tells us that Paul did not seek to position himself as the exclusive channel of spiritual instruction for the congregation at Thessalonica. Instead, he was willing to serve as part of a team.
For instance, Silvanus (or Silas as he is also known) accompanied Paul on his initial visit to Thessalonica and helped establish the church there (see Acts 17:1-9). However, it also appears that Silvanus served with the Apostle Peter at one point in his ministry as well…
“By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (1 Peter 5:12).
Given the challenges that Silvanus encountered on his missionary journeys with Paul, it should not be surprising to learn that Peter acknowledged him as someone “…who is, in my opinion, a very faithful brother” (TLB).
The opening verse of 2 Thessalonians also references another of Paul’s closest associates: Timothy. Timothy was the son of a Greek father (Acts 16:1) and a Jewish mother named Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). It seems that Timothy was the beneficiary of a Godly upbringing for he had been instructed in the Scriptures from his youth (2 Timothy 3:14-15). However, it also seems that Timothy had to battle some physical infirmities over the course of his ministry as well (see 1 Timothy 5:23).
Nevertheless, it’s clear that Paul held Timothy in the highest regard as evidenced by the following comment from his Biblical letter to the Philippian church…
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy’s proven worth,
how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:19-22 ESV).
(1) See 2 Thessalonians 3:17
(2) As demonstrated by his repeated use of the term “we” throughout this book.