I would suggest it is probably not a coincidence that the earliest events in (a chronologue of Paul’s life) are spoken of in Galatians almost without exception, and the next earliest in 1 Thessalonians. Paul’s letters are topical and tend to refer to events of the recent past. All other things being equal, this point rather strongly to the earliness of Galatians as well as the earliness of 1 Thessalonians.
– Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio- Rhetorical Commentary (1998), 449
I can count on the fingers of one hand (with two or three fingers cut off) the number of known atheistic (as opposed to agnostic) readers of my blog. Ever. If by chance today is the day that an atheist pops in here, I want to stress the historicity being referred to by Witherington, a top-shelf scholar.
More significantly here, I suppose: any believer who wants to rest in the fluffy comfort of a “personal” faith without knowledge ought at least to pay attention periodically to some of the historicity upon which a rational, real faith can rest. There are always matters and concepts to “accept by faith,” but some of us do relish the use of our left brains in the faith realm.
(In the above statement, I’m intending “faith” to stand apart from “religion,” which is quite another ball of wax.)