Notice the commonality and differences in Paul's opening greetings:

1. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (cf. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:2; Philemon 1:3)

2. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father" (cf. Col. 1:2)

3. "Grace to you and peace" (cf. 1 Thess. 1:1)

4. "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (cf. 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2)

5. "Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (cf. Titus 1:4)

Notice that there is variety, but some elements are standard.

1. "Grace" begins all greetings. It is a Christianized form of greeting focusing on the character of God.

2. "Peace" is the result of humans trusting in the trustworthy God.

3. "Mercy" is another way of describing God's character and is unique in Paul's writings, used only in 1 and 2 Timothy. This term was used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew term hesed (i.e., covenant loyalty; see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed]). God is gracious and trustworthy.

4. The Father and Son are mentioned in each greeting (in 1 Thessalonians they are mentioned in the previous phrase). They are always grammatically linked. This was one way the NT writers asserted the full deity of Jesus of Nazareth. This is also true of the use of the OT titles for YHWH applied to Jesus (i.e., Lord and Savior).

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