Introduction to II Thessalonians

It is widely believed that there wasn’t a big time lapse between the writing of the two letters to Thessalonica, because they were both written from all three of the missionaries:  Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  I believe this to be true of only the Thessalonian epistles. 

There has never been much doubt about the authenticity of this epistle. Where there has been some criticism, it has been easily answered so that very little conflict remains over the authorship and veracity of the letter. There are all kinds of interesting discussions about whether Paul wrote both the Thessalonian letters; about how much division there was in the church in that city; about which of the letters was written first, and so on.  While it’s interesting reading for those who enjoy finding out what the objections may be, I find that the discussion doesn’t change the content, power, or meaning of the letter in any way and I’ve chosen to move past all that.  If you have an interest, the internet is chock full of information that, of course, may or may not be correct. 

Place: As I’ve already stated, according to II Thess. 1:1 all three of the missionaries were together for the writing of this letter.  It seems logical to assume that it was written from Corinth, as was the first letter.  This assumption is supported by the fact that the three men do not appear together again in the New Testament story following Paul’s departure from Corinth. 

Date: Some believe it was written only a few days following the first epistle; others that it could have been up to a year later.  Generally, however, Bible scholars agree that there were probably two or three months between the two letters.  The generally accepted date is in the fall or early winter of either 50 or 51 a.d.

Occasion: The letter was written in response to the further information received by Paul concerning his beloved Thessalonian converts.  These reports contained both good and not-so-good elements. The negative issues concerned some extreme ideas concerning the day of the Lord that were producing a nervous excitement which was adversely affecting the daily lives of the believers.  Some of them believed that the new age, the day of the Lord, had dawned and that Messiah was going to appear any moment (2:1-3). 

Purpose: Commendation, encouragement, and instruction in the doctrinal error concerning the day of the Lord; also, a stern rebuke for the disorderly conduct of certain members.  It is of particular interest to me that the false beliefs about the day of the Lord were leading to idleness and inappropriate behavior within the church family.  Always, always Satan finds the weakness and sneaks in for the kill, seeking to destroy God’s church. 

He isn’t going to win. 

 

3 thoughts on “Introduction to II Thessalonians

  1. Just a few days ago had a discussion with someone about the “last days” because I saw her folding up and just waiting. Reminded her to be “sober, be vigilant, because the adversary as a roaring lion” is wanting to have resting believers for lunch!

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