2 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

2 Θεσσαλονίκη

Reading 0,07 - 3 Charters - 47 verses - 1,042 words

Vital Statistics

Author, Date and Place of Writing

Paul's authorship of 2 Thessalonians has been questioned more often than that of 1 Thessalonians, in spite of the fact that it has more support from early Christian writers. Objections are based on internal factors rather than on the adequacy of the statements church fathers. It is thought that there are differences in the vocabulary (ten words not used elsewhere), in the style (it is said to be unexpectedly formal) and in the eschatology (the doctrine of the "man of lawlessness" is not taught elsewhere). However, such arguments have not convinced current interpreters. A majority still hold to Paul's authorship of 2 Thessalonians.

Because of its similarity to 1 Thessalonians, it must have been written not long after the first letter-perhaps about six months. The situation in the church seems to have been much the same. Paul probably penned it (see 1:1; 3:17) C. A.D. 51 or 52 in Corinth, after Silas and Timothy had returned from delivering 1 Thessalonians.

Purpose

Inasmuch as the situation in the Thessalonian church has not changed substantially, Paul's purpose in writing is very much same as in his first letter to them. He writes:

(1) to encourage persecuted believers (1:4-10)

(2) to correct a misunderstanding concerning the Lord's return (2:1-12)

(3) to exhort the Thessalonians to be steadfast and to work for a living (2:13-3:15).

Theme

Like 1 Thessalonians, this letter deals extensively with eschatology. In fact, in 2 Thessalonians 18 out of 47 verse deal with this subject.

How to read 2 Thessalonians

What is going on? At times the world around us seems chaotic and unpredictable. This letter provides something stable—an eternal perspective—with which to evaluate society’s shifting standards. Paul’s words remind us that as the world careens towards its final end, our hope of eternity strengthens us to live day-by-day in an anti-Christian environment.

Chapter 1 provides encouragement to Christians undergoing persecution to persevere in the midst of hardship. Chapters 2 and 3 confront false reports that the last days had already come and gone. These chapters reveal that certain things have to happen before Jesus returns, and they urge an unwavering trust that God will accomplish his plan of redemption. The church is encouraged to be patient and steady. We are to faithfully persevere in diligent service until Jesus comes again.

You’ll notice several subjects that parallel those in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians: suffering (1Th 2:14-16; 2Th 1:3-12); work (1Th 4:9-12; 5:14; 2Th 3:6-15); and the end times (1Th 4:13– 5:11; 2Th 2:1-12). Together, these letters tell us much of what we know about the Lord’s return.

2 Thessalonians Interpretive Challenges

Eternal reward and retribution are discussed in 1:5-12 in such general terms that it is difficult to identify precisely some of the details with regard to exact timing. Matters concerning the Day of the Lord (2:2), the restrainer (2:6, 7), and the lawless one (2:3, 4, 8-10) provide challenging prophetic material to interpret.

Outline

2 Thessalonians Horizontal

God's character in 2 Thessalonians

  1. God is good - 1:11

  2. God is loving - 2:16

  3. God is righteous - 1:6

  4. God is wrathful - 1:8

Christ in 2 Thessalonians

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians describes the effects of Christ's second coming. While 1 Thessalonians reveals the expectation of Christ's return, 2 Thessalonians describes the glorification of believers on that day and Ford's judgment of unbelievers (1:10, 12; 2:8-12).

Notes