Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians

Judging by the content of this letter, there doesn’t seem to have been much change to the situation at Thessalonica. However, it does appear there was a fraudulent letter circulating (2:2) that caused a misunderstanding concerning Christ’s second coming. Consequently, about one third of this letter is devoted to this subject. It is generally considered to have followed Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians some months later, around A.D. 51 or 52.

Greetings and thanksgiving

[2Th 1] Paul sends greetings from himself, Silas and Timothy, and gives thanks to God for their growing faith and love in the face of continuing persecutions and tribulations they are having to endure. Those around them who have not accepted the gospel will not share in the glory of the Lord’s second coming. Paul’s prayer for the church is that God will count them worthy, and that the name of Jesus Christ might be glorified in them and they in Him.

The man of lawlessness

[2Th 2] Paul tells them not to be troubled by things they are told or by a counterfeit letter they had received, and reminds them of his teaching whilst he was with them. There would be an apostasy before the man of lawlessness (the son of perdition, the antichrist) is revealed who will exalt himself as God, occupying the temple and deceiving many with all power, signs and wonders. Then, when the Lord comes again, He will cause him to be destroyed and all those who believed him will be punished. Paul calls on them to stand firm in their faith and hold to the truth that they will be partakers in the glory, which is their hope through grace.

Not to keep company with sinners

[2Th 3] After requesting the Thessalonians’ support in prayer, Paul instructs them not to keep company with any among them who are disorderly or do not keep God’s word, with the intent they will then be ashamed. Yet they are not to be treated as enemies, but admonished as brothers. Paul concludes his letter in his usual manner, but makes a point of saying it is in his own hand, presumably to counter the fraudulent letter referred to earlier.
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