Reflections on 2 Thessalonians

I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I (try to) post about what I’ve read. Other posts this month are on 1 KingsEzekiel, Daniel, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy.

This letter was written shortly after 1 Thessalonians and deals with some of the same topics (the coming of the Lord and work).

1:1-12

Paul is thankful for the Thessalonians’ growing faith and love, and their perseverance in the face of persecution. This leads to an uncomfortable section in 1:5-10 regarding the day of judgment. This section hangs on a phrase in verse 6: God is just. He will bring retribution for some and relief for others. Does the fact of the coming Lord dictate how you live in the midst of trials and suffering, as it did for the apostle?

2:1-12

Certain things need to happen before Jesus returns, namely an apostasy and the revealing of the man of lawlessness (2:3). Paul had already taught his original readers something about this, leaving us to speculate about the particulars.We can be certain about two things, however. First, God is in control (2:6-7). Second, there’s no doubt of the outcome (2:8).

Those who are perishing neither love the truth nor believe it. In order to be saved therefore, one needs to love and believe the truth about Jesus Christ.

2:13-3:5

Paul yet again thanks God for saving the Thessalonian church and urges them to stand firm. His prayer for them is that the faithful God would encourage their hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. In return, he asks them to pray for the spread of the gospel.

3:6-18

It’s amazing how often Paul sets himself up as an example to be followed. He does it here, as well as in 1 Corinthians, Philippians and in 2 Timothy. Could we say the same thing to a baby Christian?

He warns against idleness, advising that those who don’t obey the apostolic instructions be shunned in a brotherly way.

In closing, he prays that the grace and peace of the Lord be with his readers at all times and in every way. I claim that prayer for myself!

Sources: D. A. Carson, David Jackman

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