In Second Thessalonians, Paul faced a problem. He had written them earlier to help them grow in the faith, comforting and encouraging them by affirming the reality of Christ’s return. Just a few months later, however, word came from Thessalonica that some had misunderstood Paul’s teaching about the second coming. His announcement that Christ could come at any moment had caused some to stop working and just wait, rationalizing their idleness by pointing to Paul’s teaching. Adding fuel to the fire was the continued persecution of the church. Many felt that indeed this must be the “day of the Lord.”
Responding quickly, Paul sent a second letter to this young church. In it he gave further instruction concerning the second coming and the day of the Lord. Second Thessalonians, therefore, continues the subject of First Thessalonians and is a call to continued courage and consistent conduct.
Paul wrote to encourage those who were facing persecution and to correct a misunderstanding about the timing of Christ’s return. The teaching about the Lord’s return promoted idleness in this young church. The imminent coming of Christ should never make us idle; we should be even more busy – living purely, using our time well, and working for his kingdom. We must work not only during easy times when it is convenient, but also during difficult times. Christians must patiently watch for Christ’s return, and work for him while we wait.
As you read Second Thessalonians, see clearly the reality of Christ’s return and your responsibility to live for him until that day.
Written by the apostle Paul, in the company of Silvanus (Silas) and Timotheus (Timothy) (II Thessalonians 1:1).
Between A. D. 50-54, after Paul’s visit, during his second missionary journey. Probably written from Corinth in Achaia a few months after the first epistle.
To Whom Written:
To “the ekklesia of the Thessalonians” (II Thessalonians 1:1).
The purpose of the book of Second Thessalonians was to alert the leadership in Thessalonica about the false epistle written to the believers there by an impostor claiming to be Paul, saying that the day of the Lord had already come and that they had somehow missed it. Paul also addressed those among the Thessalonians who had refused to work and were taking advantage of the generosity of their brothers who were supporting them. Paul wrote to condemn these and to establish the principle that one who will not work shall not eat.
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