2 Thessalonians (2 Thes)

Book 14 of the NT, having 3 chapters. It was written by Paul to the believers in Thessalonica about 51 AD (a few months after the first letter to the same church). Time to read: 10 mins.

Key people: Paul, Silas, Timothy.

Outline. His first letter had been one of encouragement and affirming the reality of Christ’s return. However, some of his teaching was misunderstood so, in this letter, he clarifies his statements. He writes that when Jesus returns many things will be put right. Those that persecute believers because of their faith (along with all who don’t know Christ as Saviour) will be punished with eternal destruction, being shut out from His presence, while those subject to spiritual attack and all true believers will have relief. He encourages them to ‘stand firm’ in the face of adversity, to be active and to pray, adding that Christ won’t return till the antichrist deceives many by his counterfeit miracles (2 Thes 1:4-10, 2:1-12).

Main lesson. Even though we don’t know specifically when Christ’s return will take place this hope should be a continual encouragement as we apply ourselves to daily life and the spreading of the gospel. Don’t be consumed with endless predictions but be involved in the work of the Lord.

Key verses and thoughts: * “Your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing” (2 Thes 1:3,11). The truth and God’s principles were being incorporated into their daily life with a steady progression from what they had been [were] into a better representation of their Saviour. Am I making steady progress in my character towards that which reflects more of the nature of God?  Each day we need to review how we have lived in the last 24 hours – what aspects did we handle well, what areas need to be worked on which may include putting things right with someone?

* “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved...[but you] Stand firm and hold to the teachings...” (2 Thes 2:10-15). When offered the gift of salvation some make the wrong choice, thinking they don’t need Christ. The value we put on truth is reflected in the effort to check out its authenticity, then gain it, retain it and most importantly live by it.

* “We set you an example – we were not idle but worked to provide for our needs” (2 Thes 3:7-13). Paul and his companions had the right to be catered for, because of the ministry they were giving to the local believers, but they did not take such liberty rather wanting to instill wise lifestyle principles. Idleness is not an option for Christians as we are to actively share our faith and make disciples. Do I live with integrity, making more effort to fulfill my responsibilities than exercising my rights, living a lifestyle above reproach, one that will bring glory to the name of God? Not that we should not be able to accept from others or be continuously busy, but we are to not to take things for granted, expecting others to keep us. Are we influencing others for Christ by living a godly lifestyle?

* Suffering for the Kingdom of God comes about because people find its message unpalatable. It should not be the result of any weirdness in the Christian or an offensive personality. We believers should be the most normal, balanced and whole people around because Jesus is working in us, restoring us to what we were before sin entered into humanity.

See also: anti-Christ, deception, example, predict, second coming, 1 Thessalonians (1 Thes).