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Second Thessalonians does not have nearly as widespread acceptance as does 1 Thessalonians. 2 Thessalonians is the most doubted book in the New Testament.
The date of this letter is related to its occasion. It has to be dated very shortly after 1 Thessalonians, for the content and style are similar. There seems to be some urgency in the writing (2:1-3). It seems that Paul at times sent friends to Thessalonica to check on their progress in the faith. He would need to do this for the Thessalonians more than for other churches because he had spent little time with them.
Paul had planted a church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-10). While he was there, Paul and his companions faced severe opposition from the Jewish community, forcing them to leave the young church ahead of time.
Later, while in Corinth, Paul learned news of the developing church from Timothy, whom he had sent back to Thessalonica to see how the believers there were doing. The good news was that the church was standing strong in the faith in spite of dangerous persecution. The bad news was that the believers were confused about some of Paul's teachings. This second letter specifically addressed the church's misunderstanding and confusion regarding the Second Coming of Christ.
In Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians, he had encouraged the church to live in readiness, watching for the Lord's Return. Some members of the church thought this to mean that the Day of the Lord had already arrived. The troublemakers taught that since they were already living in the last days and the Second Coming was imminent . . . why work? As a result, many had grown idle, simply waiting for the Lord to return. They had stopped working, depending on others to supply their daily needs.
There is a lot of laziness in the world today! I do NOT know why people think the government owes them a living! A TRUE Christian CANNOT do this! They must get off their behinds and get a job! 2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
Author of 2 Thessalonians: The Apostle Paul wrote this letter.
Date Written: The second epistle to the Thessalonian church was written less than a year after the first. Paul wrote the letter from Corinth in approximately AD 51-52, as a follow-up to his first letter to them.
Written To: Paul wrote to the young believers in the newly established Thessalonican church, and to all Christians.
Landscape of 2 Thessalonians: The seaport city of Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia. It was the major trade route from Rome to Asia Minor. Thessalonica overflowed with various cultural influences and pagan religions. Because of this, the newly established church in Thessalonica faced many pressures and persecutions.
Themes in 2 Thessalonians:
*****Persevere Through Persecution . . . Like Christ, believers are called to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. Our heavenly Father rewards our faithfulness and he causes us to grow stronger as we stand firm through difficult trials.
*****Our Responsibility in Light of His Return . . . Living in light of Christ's soon return should never bring about idleness. We should stay busy with the work of the Lord as we see the day approaching.
*****Consistent Persistence . . . Following Christ requires commitment, courage and faithfulness. Giving up and throwing in the towel, is NEVER an option. God rewards our patient endurance.
*****We are much closer now to the day of the Lord's Return than when this Letter was written. The book of 2 Thessalonians is a reminder and an encouragement for us to remain faithful even when trials and persecutions come. We must live in readiness, watching and waiting for Christ's return while staying busy with kingdom work.
Key Characters in 2 Thessalonians: Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
2 Thes.1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: (KJV)
2 Thes.2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (KJV)
2 Thes. 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. (KJV)
Outline of 2 Thessalonians:
- Greeting - 2 Thes.1:1-2.
- Thanksgiving and encouragement - 2 Thes.1:3–12.
- Events which must take place before the Lord's return - 2 Thes.2:1–12.
- More thanksgiving and encouragement - 2 Thes.2:13-3:5.
- The need for discipline - 2 Thes.3:6-15
- Closing prayer and benediction - 2 Thes.3:16-18.
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