2 Thessalonians

by Ken Cayce

Ken Cayce All rights reserved.


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2 Thessalonians Explained

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Book of 2 Thessalonians Explained

Title: In the Greek New Testament, 2 Thessalonians is listed as "To the Thessalonians". This represents the Apostle Paul's second canonical correspondence to the fellowship of believers in the city of Thessalonica (compare 1:1).

Author - Date: Paul, as in 1 Thessalonians, identified himself twice as the author of this letter (1:1, 3:17). Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy, Paul's co-laborer's in founding the church, were present with him when he wrote. Evidence, both within this letter and regarding vocabulary, style and doctrinal content, strongly supports Paul as the only possible author. The time of this writing was surely a few months after the first epistle, while Paul was still in Corinth with Silas and Timothy (1:1, Acts 18:5; in late A.D. 51 or early A.D. 52).

Background - Setting: For the history of Thessalonica (see introduction to 1 Thessalonians). Some have suggested that Paul penned this letter from Ephesus (Acts 18:18-21), but his eighteenth month stay in Corinth provided ample time for both of the Thessalonian epistles to be authored (Acts 18:11).

Apparently, Paul had stayed apprised of the happenings in Thessalonica through correspondence and/or couriers. Perhaps the bearer of the first letter brought Paul back an update on the condition of the church, which had matured and expanded (1:3); but pressure and persecution had also increased. The seeds of false doctrine concerning the Lord had been sown, and the people's behavior was disorderly. So, Paul wrote to his beloved flock who were:

(1) Discouraged by persecution and needed incentive to persevere;

(2) Deceived by false teachers who confused them about the Lord's return; and

(3) Disobedient to divine commands, particularly by refusing to work.

Paul wrote to address those 3 issues by offering:

(1) Comfort for the persecuted believers (1:3-12);

(2) Correction for the falsely taught and frightened believers (2:1-15); and

(3) Confrontation for the disobedient and undisciplined believers (3:6-15).

Historical - Theological: Although chapters 1 and 2 contain much prophetic material because the main issue was a serious misunderstanding generated by false teachers about the coming Day of the Lord (Paul reveals that the Day had not come and would not until certain other events occur), it is still best to call this "a pastoral letter". The emphasis is on how to maintain a healthy church with an effective testimony in proper response to sound eschatology and obedience to the truth.

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians is a follow up to the first. It appears to have been written shortly after 1 Thessalonians, in response to certain reports that had come to the apostle regarding the Thessalonians' progress (3:11). Paul was still in Corinth and unable to leave his work there. However, he continued to maintain a keen interest in the little church to the north which had shown such promise (1:3-4), despite some continuing serious problems.

While Paul was encouraged by their faith and steadfastness, he could see that many in the assembly were still very confused about the second coming of Christ. Paul even suggests the possibility that some are deliberately misrepresenting his teaching on this all-important subject (2:2). The possibility of such a deception is supported by counterfeit letters purportedly written by the apostle.

He exhorts them to pay special attention to his signature so that they may distinguish the genuine letters from the false (3:17). Paul knows the ultimate source of this trouble is Satan himself, the "evil one" (3:3), and he is confident that the Lord will protect them.

Nevertheless, this misunderstanding had left many in the church to forsake their occupations, to lead undisciplined lives, and to breed unrest among the people by becoming busybodies and beggars, living off those who still maintained gainful employment (3:6-15). Still others had become discouraged, thinking the day of the Lord had already begun and that they had somehow missed it.

They had expected Christ to destroy their enemies. Yet they were still suffering persecution. Paul addresses these problems. He explains that while the time of the Lord's coming cannot be predicted, it will be a spectacular event that no one could miss. Furthermore, if the day of the Lord had already begun, then many other events would already have taken place (2:1-12).

Since they had seen none of these events, they could be sure they had not missed the Lord's return. In the meantime, they should take heart in the fact that from the start, God's purpose was to include them in the glorious event of Christ's coming (2:13-14). As for those who were presuming upon the good graces of their brethren, they should get to work or expect not to eat (3:6-15).


Eschatology dominates the theological issues. One of the clearest statements on personal eschatology for unbelievers is found (in 1:9), Church discipline is the major focus of (3:6-15), which needs to be considered along with (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Gal. 6:1-5; and 1 Timothy 5:19-20), for understanding the complete Biblical teaching on this theme.


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2 Thessalonians 1
2 Thessalonians 2
2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 1

2 Thessalonians Chapter 1

2 Thessalonians 1:1 "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:"

2 Thessalonians 1:2 "Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Thessalonians 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;"

2 Thessalonians 1:4 "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:"

2 Thessalonians 1:5 "[Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:"

2 Thessalonians 1:6 "Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;"

2 Thessalonians 1:7 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,"

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

2 Thessalonians 1:9 "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

2 Thessalonians 1:10 "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

2 Thessalonians 1:11 "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power:"

2 Thessalonians 1:12 "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Thessalonians 2

2 Thessalonians Chapter 2

2 Thessalonians 2:1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,"

2 Thessalonians 2:2 "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand."

2 Thessalonians 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

2 Thessalonians 2:4 "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."

2 Thessalonians 2:5 " Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"

2 Thessalonians 2:6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time."

2 Thessalonians 2:7 "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way."

2 Thessalonians 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"

2 Thessalonians 2:9 "[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,"

2 Thessalonians 2:10 "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

2 Thessalonians 2:11 "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"

2 Thessalonians 2:12 "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

2 Thessalonians 2:13 "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:"

2 Thessalonians 2:14 "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

2 Thessalonians 2:16 "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given [us] everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,"

2 Thessalonians 2:17 "Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."

2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians Chapter 3

2 Thessalonians 3:1 "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you:"

2 Thessalonians 3:2 "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all [men] have not faith."

2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil."

2 Thessalonians 3:4 "And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you."

2 Thessalonians 3:5 "And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ."

2 Thessalonians 3:6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."

2 Thessalonians 3:7 "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;"

2 Thessalonians 3:8 "Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:"

2 Thessalonians 3:9 "Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us."

2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

2 Thessalonians 3:11 "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies."

2 Thessalonians 3:12 "Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

2 Thessalonians 3:13 "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."

2 Thessalonians 3:14 "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed."

2 Thessalonians 3:15 "Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother."

2 Thessalonians 3:16 "Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord [be] with you all."

2 Thessalonians 3:17 "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

2 Thessalonians 3:18 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen."