2 Thessalonians Commentary, Summary, and Key Verses

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2 Thessalonians Commentary

Written around A.D 51 or 52, Paul addresses some misconceptions from his letter in I Thessalonians. He saw the need to do a follow up letter to correct false doctrines about the Day of the Lord as some had thought it had already occurred.  Having been deceived by these false teachers he wanted to make certain they knew that it had yet not come.  Some of the Thessalonians were even frightened about this so he tried to reassure them about the Day of the Lord and what would precede it.  He also included some stern correction of the false teachers and confronted other members for their disobedient and undisciplined behavior (2:1-15, 3:6-15).  Since there was also some serious persecution happening to the church at Thessalonica Paul was trying to exhort them to persevere (1:3-12).

Because of the confusion over the timing of the Lord’s return, he specifies certain things which must come first (2:2).  There is some uncertainty over who this “restrainer” is; whether it is the Holy Spirit that restrains evil in the world  or the Evil One, the Devil (2:6-7).  If Paul is talking about the Restrainer being God the Holy Spirit, then literally all hell will break loose on the earth as some believe initiates the Great Tribulation when He is removed.  Also the “lawless one” appears to be Satan himself and he will clamp down his terrible reign over all of those who are left behind after the church is taken out during the Rapture (2:3-4, 8-10).   Paul tries to give specific things for the church to look for that indicates that the Lord’s return can not happen until certain events take place (2:1-5).

Not all of II Thessalonians is negative.  Paul has heard reports of their growth and gives thanks for this (1:3-4).  In his pastoral epistle Paul is cheering them on in order to help them persevere (1:5-10).

2 Thessalonians Summary

The purpose of II Thessalonians was in part is to encourage the church due to persecutions.  Most of the English speaking churches have never really seen this type of persecution but in most of the world, Christians still suffer from it.  Paul tells them to stand firm in the faith that was delivered to them and that they should be praying to encourage one another.

Paul deals with persecution in the context of false ideas about the Lord’s return. The Thessalonians idleness seems to be a concern for Paul because some were quitting their jobs.  The exhortations that Paul gave were to protect the church from false beliefs concerning the Lord’s return.  Paul had stern warnings for those who are idle because they were abandoning their work responsibilities and their lazy and disorderly conduct was becoming an issue.  Their conduct had become disorderly because many of them were now having to depend upon others in the church for support, believing that the Lord’s return was imminent.  Paul used himself as an example and that he worked to support himself.  He was not depending upon others for support and was not a burden to any.   Paul worked despite having the right to be supported by the church for his ministry but forgoes this right to be an example to believers and the church at Thessalonica may have been the primary reason Paul did this.

Paul firmly told them that Christians should not be using other Christians to support them and should be self-supporting as he was.  This was also an issue in I Thessalonians.  Paul that the same principle that if no one works, neither shall he eat (Prov 6:6-11, 2 Thess. 3:10).  Paul was irritated by the fact that they were taking advantage of other Christians who did work and support themselves.  Discipline of those idle members of the church should lead to isolation from other members of the church.  The goal was to bring them to repentance which was for their own good and the good of the church however Paul clarifies this because he understood it could be taken too far.  He reminded them that they should be welcomed back warmly by the church in brotherly fashion if they repented and it should not be held against them. This is still in effect today for a great number of churches for those who are clearly being disobedient; it is called being dis-fellowshipped.

An important insight from II Thessalonians was that prayer is an integral part of the church.  It is important corporately and to the believer in general.   Paul emphasized prayer for God’s power so that they could endure the persecution and enable them to live a life worthy of His calling.   By living worthy lives they would be glorifying God.

The Thessalonians should also be praying in thanksgiving for their calling and be giving thanks for the church members calling.  Paul taught them to pray for one another and for an open door for the gospel to go through.

2 Thessalonians Key Verses

II Thessalonians 1:3We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more”

II Thessalonians 1:6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.”

II Thessalonians 1:11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”

II Thessalonians 2:1-3Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”

II Thessalonians 2:7-8For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.

II Thessalonians 2:13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”

II Thessalonians 3:1As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.”

II Thessalonians 3:6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.

II Thessalonians 3:10-11For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.”

II Thessalonians 3:14-15Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.”

What is your favorite Bible verse from the book of  2 Thessalonians? Share it in the comments!


The Holy Bible, New International Version

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