Why it was written[change | change source]
This book is believed to a letter from the Apostle Paul to a church in Thessalonica a part of ancient Greece. Thessalonica was the second city in Europe where Paul taught and left a Christian church. After the first letter was sent, probably soon, some of the Thessalonians were not sure that those who had died would share in the Second Coming of Jesus. This letter was written to answer this concern.
When it was written[change | change source]
Many believe it was written around 51–52 AD, shortly after the First Epistle. Others think a date of around 80–115 AD is more likely. These are scholars who say that the second letter is quite different from the First Epistle to the Thessalonians and may have been written by someone else. Those who believe Paul wrote Second Thessalonians also note how Paul signed it himself: "I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, which is how I write in every letter.".
What was written in the letter[change | change source]
The first part of the letter praises this church for keeping their faith even though others were against them.
The letter has a whole chapter mainly about the Second Coming of Christ. Someone had told the Thessalonians that Christ had already returned. Paul says this is not true. (chapter 2, verses 1 to 12), He tells the Thessalonians that a great tribulation (time of trouble) must occur before Christ's return. Since this has not yet happened, Christ cannot have returned yet. He then gives thanks that his readers were chosen by God for salvation and saved by His grace through faith, and so would not be deceived by false teachings. (Chapter 2, verses 13 and14)
The letter then tells the Thessalonian church to stand firm in their faith, and to "keep away from every brother who leads an unruly(evil) life and not according to the tradition which you received from us... do not associate (stay) with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (Chapter 3, verses 6,7, 14 and 15).
How people have used the teachings of this letter[change | change source]
A passage from this book reading "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat", (Chapter 3, verse 10), was later adapted by Vladimir Lenin as an rule of the Soviet Union, "He who does not work, neither shall he eat" .
Christian groups who work with poor people sometimes also use the verse to help people to help themselves instead of just taking help from others. They try to help them find a job instead of just giving them food.
References[change | change source]
- "The New Testament (Recovery Version)" p. 959, ISBN 1-57593-907-X (economy edition, black)
- Earl D. Radmacher, (Th.D.), Ronald B. Allen (Th.D.), H. Wayne House, (Th.D., J.D.). "NKJV Study Bible (Second Edition)" p. 1903.
- Maarten J.J. Menken (2002). 2 Thessalonians. Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-134-86748-6.
- 2 Thess.3:17, See similar things in 1 Cor 16:21; Gal 6:11; and Col 4:18. NETBible
- "Constitutional principles". The Economist. 2011-11-09. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2017-02-01.