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1:1-12 IntroductionDetailed Outline1 Salutation1a Authors: Paul and Silas and Timothy1b Recipients:To the church of the ThessaloniansIn God our FatherAnd in the Lord Jesus ChristAlmost exactly the same wording as in I Thessalonians except Paul adds "our" with "Father"2 Blessing2a Grace and peace to youSame as I Thessalonians, but Paul adds the next phrase2b From God our Father and the Lord Jesus ChristGod our FatherAnd the Lord Jesus ChristNotice the repetition from v. 1
This is not redundant, but has a purpose
This emphasis is on God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah
Everything else is secondary3-12 Thanksgiving and Prayer3-10 We thank God for you3-4 We thank God for your faith and love, which are growing even in persecution3 We thank God for your faith and love, which are growing3a-b We ought to thank God concerning you because it is appropriate3a We ought to always give thanks to God concerning you, brothers3b Just as it is appropriate3c-d Reason: Because your faith and love are growing3c Because your faith is increasing abundantly3d And [because] the love of every one of you is growing greatly4 Result: We are confident of these things in you in the church of GodOn behalf of your patience and faithIn all your persecution and affliction which you are enduring5-10 Reason: The evidence of God's work in your life prove God and guarantee His coming vindication5 This proves that God is right and you are on God's side5a this is evidence of the righteous judgment of God"this" = their faith, love and patience in trials
It is evidence of God's just judgment
The Thessalonians prove God right
They are considered worthy to experience the Kingdom of God, which they are suffering for5b Purpose: So that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God on behalf of which you are suffering6-10 Reason: God is just and right, vindicating believers6 Since it is right for God to pay back affliction to those afflicting youSince justice is from/of God7-10 God will vindicate Himself and His believers against their oppressors7 And [it is right to pay back] relief to you, the ones being afflictedWith usIn the revelation of the Lord JesusDifferent word than "parousia" used in 1 ThessaloniansFrom heavenWith angels of His powerIn flames of fire-cf. Isa. 66:15-16 - speaks of God's fury and judgment coming using similar wording8-10 He will pay back punishment to unbelievers8 Giving retribution/punishmentto those who do not know GodAnd [to those] who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord JesusThese two descriptions describe the same group of people
To disobey the Gospel is to not know God
Those who know God obey the Gospel9-10 Elaboration of the punishment they will experience9 Who will undergo punishment:Eternal destructionFrom the presence of the LordAnd from the glory of His power"from" can mean separation - i.e. they will be separated from His presence and glory
"from" can mean source - i.e. the punishment comes from His presence and His glorious strength -very strong punishment
Quoting Isa. 2:10, 19, 21 - They will flee "from the dread of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty"10 At the glorious coming of Jesus10a When He comes10b-d Purpose: to be glorified and held in awe10b to be glorified in His holy ones10c-d and to be held in awe by believers10c and to be marveled atby all those who believein that day10d Reason: Because our testimony to you was believedNotice again the focus on future eschatology
Reward and punishment of the Gospel11-12 We are praying for you11a And for which we are always praying concerning you11b-12 Content: That God would be glorified by fulfilling His purpose for you11b-c That God would shine His face on you and fulfill His calling for you11b That our God would consider you suitable of [His] calling11c And he may fulfill every good disposition and work of faith12 Purpose: So Christ may be glorified, and we as well12a So that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you12b And we [may be glorified] in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ
2:1-12 Correct Teaching on the Day of the LordDetailed Outline1-2 We are asking you not to believe falsehood about the Day of the LordDon't be discouraged by false ideas that the Day of the Lord has already come1 We are requesting you, brothersConcerning the parousia of our Lord Jesus ChristParousia means "presence" in the sense of "showing up"
It became a technical term for the "Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of this age" BDAGAnd concerning our gathering together to HimBoth of these topics were described in the previous section2 Purpose: that you won't be shocked by a false report about the Day of the Lord2a-b In order that you would not be disturbed or frightened by a false report2a In order that you would not be so easily disturbed/shaken from your mindset/attitude2b Neither would you be shocked/alarmed either through a spirit or word or epistle as from usApparently they had received a false report from somewhere and thought it had originated with Paul
Notice that below Paul will tell them that he had already told them differently - they should have tested new information against revelation they already had - test the spirits2c As that the Day of the Lord had comeThe Day of the Lord was/is the climactic next step in God's plan, when He will decisively bring to a close this age, vindicate His righteousness, punish His enemies, and begin the next age
How could the Thessalonians possibly believe this had already happened?
There was an idea current in this time (now called "over-realized eschatology"), based on the Platonic separation of the 'spiritual' and 'physical' realms. This taught that the purely spiritual Kingdom of God was already completely present in the lives of believers through a purely spiritual Day of the Lord, which had no impact on the physical realm. Paul was battling against this idea in Corinth as well.
Paul deals with this mistaken idea by talking about the impact that Christ's parousia will have on real life history3-12 Specifically: Don't be deceived, but remember the truth that you know3-4 Neg: Don't be deceived about the coming of the Day of the Lord3a Do not let anyone deceive you in any way3b-4 Reason: Because the Day of the Lord will not come until after the apostasy and deception of pretend deity3b Because [The day of the Lord will not come]3c-4 Condition: Until after the apostasy and false pretender to deity comes first3c Except the apostasy comes first3d-4 And the man of lawlessness, an arrogant pretender to deity, is revealed3d And the man of lawlessness is revealed - the son of destruction4 Specifically: He exalts himself as a god against the true God4a-b He exalts himself in opposition against any deity4a The one opposing [God]He hates and opposes God because he wants to be God4b And exalting himself against everything being called a god or an object of worship-cf. Dan. 7:25, 11:36 - fulfilled by Antiochus IV (Epiphanes)
But also fulfilled in many world leaders since, cf. Rev. 13:64c-e Result: He would present himself in the temple as God [ to be worshiped]4c So that he would sit [as an authority & object of worship] in the temple of God4d-e Claiming to be God4d Declaring/advertising himself4e That he is GodThe epitome of human rebellion/sin - rejecting God because we want to replace Him as King of our universe
We all do this in our heart every time we sin
The man of lawlessness does this publicly on a grand scale - the blatant manifestation of our rebellion for what it truly is5-12 Pos: You already know enough to resist the deception5-8 You've already been told about the revelation of lawlessness and its destiny5 Don't you remember that I told you these things when I was with you?5a Do you not remember?Rhetorical device to gently rebuke them for not applying what they had already learned, which should have protected them from the deception they were believing5b-c That I told you these things when I was with you5b That I spoke these things to you5c While still being present with you6-8 Lawlessness will be fully displayed and destroyed under God's control6 You know that lawlessness is restrained until God's timing6a And you know the one/thing now restraining/holding backSomething or someone is currently holding back the full expression of lawlessness
Paul does not elaborate what or who this is because the Thessalonians already know what he is talking about
The problem is that we don't know for sure what he is talking about
Beware of theological/eschatological systems built on conjecture in uncertain passages such as these, as if their interpretations were certain6b Purpose: So that he/it will be revealed in its own timeHe/it is held back by God's power, and will be fully revealed by God's power and permission and only in God's timing7-8 Reason: Lawlessness will only be fully revealed in God's timing, and then will be destroyed by Christ's appearing7 Lawlessness is active, but will only be fully revealed in God's timing7a For the secret/mystery of lawlessness is already active7b-c The one/thing restraining him will remain until he/it is removed from them7b Only the one/thing restraining/holding back [will remain] still7c Until he/it is removed from their midstUntil he/it is out of the way, no longer in their midst
When the restrainer is removed, lawlessness and the lawless one will have apparent free reign (but still under God's ultimate control)8 Then the lawless one will be revealed and then destroyed by Jesus' greatness8a And then the lawless one will be revealedHe will be fully manifested for what he is
And will apparently exercise unlimited control [at least temporarily]8b-c And Jesus will totally destroy him with His arrival8b The Lord Jesus will annihilate him with the breath of his mouthThere won't even be any effort or fight on Jesus' part
He is so powerful; He will 'blow' him away with a minimum of effort [pun intended]8c And He will wipe [him] out with the appearance/splendor of His arrivalThe arrival and personal glory of Jesus will totally disintegrate anything which stands opposed to Him
The man of lawlessness arrogantly opposes Jesus only when Jesus is graciously allowing him to do so
But he stands no chance whatsoever when Jesus decides that his time is done9-12 Explanation: The man of lawlessness's ministry comes with deception to those who are self-deceived9-10a Situation: The appearance [of the man of lawlessness] is:According to the working/operation of satanThe power behind the man of lawlessness is the devil
And the devil gives him supernatural power in order to deceiveIn all kinds of false power and [false] miraculous signs and [false] astounding miraclesNot ever miracle is from God
He has clearly warned us against false/counterfeit christs, false/counterfeit prophets, and false/counterfeit miracles
Be discerning and don't believe every supernatural manifestation is from God
Test everything by ScriptureIn all kinds of unrighteous deceptionTo those being lost/destroyedThose who are lost will be deceived
The implication is that those who are saved will not be deceived, cf. Matt. 24:2410b-12 Response: They refuse to believe the truth and God confirms their self-deception10b-c Because of this, they rejected the truth by which they would be saved10b Because of which they do not receive/approve of the love of the truthIn Jesus' words, they hate the light and do not come to the light because their deeds are darkness, and they don't want them exposed for what they are10c So that they may be saved11-12 Result: God sends them a deception so that those who love falsehood will be judged11 God sends them a deception so that they will believe the falsehood11a Because of this, God sends to them a working/operation of deception11b Purpose: so that they would believe the falsehood12 Purpose: So that all who do not believe the truth, but take pleasure in unrighteousness may be judged/condemnedSummary:Uncertainties:There are uncertainties in this passage, and we must be honest about this and not go beyond what is written in claiming more certainty than we have:
Certainties:There are certainties in this passage, and we should clearly teach them, apply them, and build any theology and application of this passage primarily on these certainties:
- How they got the idea that the Day of the Lord already happened and what they thought that meant
- Who is this 'man of lawlessness'?
- What/Who is the one/thing that is holding him back? And when/how will it be taken out of the way?
- They were troubled/shaken because they thought they missed something - they were deceived in some way.
- The man of lawlessness is prideful, claiming to be God and hating all rival claims, he sets himself up as and advertises himself as God. There have been many historical examples of this kind of attitude/spirit. Just like there are many antichrists (1Jn. 2:18) and there likely will be a figure at the end who qualifies as THE antichrist, there are many men of lawlessness throughout history, including ourselves to a small degree. And THE man of lawlessness - The full expression and revelation of lawlessness will not take place until God removes what is holding it back.
- Even if we don't know for sure who/what is holding him back and when/how he will be released, we know that it is all under God's control.
- Lawlessness is already at work to some degree, and we can/should resist it.
- The Lawless one will be revealed before the parousia.
- Jesus will quickly and easily destroy him - keeping in mind that for God, "quickly" is a relative term, which may not meet our expectations of quickness.
- Punishment will come to those who believe the lie because they love the lie more than the truth.
- Beware false signs.
- Beware false worship.
2:13-17 Thanksgiving and EncouragementDetailed Outline13-15 Thanksgiving and exhortation13-14 We Thank God because He has chosen, called, saved and sanctified us13a We ought to always give thanks to God concerning you, brothers beloved by the LordAlmost exactly the same as 1:313b-14 Reason: Because He chose, called, saved and will sanctify and glorify us13b Because God chose us as firstfruit into salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and faith in the truthText issue - could be "from the beginning" or "as firstfruit"
Most likely "firstfruit"
Firstfruit of what? Most special portion dedicated to God14 Into which He called you through our Gospel into acquisition of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ15 Therefore: Stand firm and hold on to the doctrines which you were taught15a Therefore, brothers, stand firm15b And hold strong to the traditions which you were taughtEither through a wordOr through a letter from usEchoing and contrasting the same phrase in 2:1-2
The false idea came through "spirit, word or letter, supposedly from us"
The true tradition came through "word or letter [certainly] from us"16-17 Blessing/Prayer Wish:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father16a Who loved us16b And in grace gives eternal comfort/encouragement and good hope17 Result: He will give us comfort and strength17a May He comfort/encourage our hearts17b And strengthen/establish [your heart] in every good work and word
3:1-5 Regarding PrayerDetailed Outline1-4 We are requesting your prayer, confident that you will do so1-3 We need prayers because of continued opposition and opportunity for Word ministry1-2a Pray for the success of our ministry and against the opposition to our ministry1a Finally, brothers, pray concerning us1b-2a Purpose: So that the Word may do its work and we may be protected from oppositionThis is the content of the prayer which Paul requests,
but also the intended result of the answered prayer1b-d That the Word may everywhere accomplish what it did among you1b-c that the Word may spread and be appropriately accepted1b That the Word of the Lord may spread rapidlyLiterally "that the Word may run"1c And [The Word] may be glorified/honored1d Just as [it did] toward you2a So that we may be rescued from men who are wrong/wicked and evil2b-3 Reason: For there is opposition, but God is able to overcome all opposition2b Neg: For the faith is not possessed by all3a-c Pos: But the Lord is faithful to strengthen and guard you3a But the Lord is faithful3b-c Specifically: He will strengthen and guard you3b Who will strengthen [you]3c And guard you from the evil (one)4 We are confident in your faith and continued obedience in prayer4a We are convinced in the Lord about you4b-d You are doing what we have asked4b That the things which we have commandedIn this context, most likely refers to his request for prayer in v. 1
But this also applies to a more general obedience to Paul's teaching4c-d You are doing and will continue4c You are doing4d And you will [continue to] do5 May the Lord lead/guide your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of ChristPaul's blessing and prayer for the Thessalonians
3:6-15 The Unruly IdleDetailed OutlineThis section takes up an issue first addressed in 1 Thes. 5:14
Apparently the first epistle did not completely clear up the issue and Paul had to address it again
Possibly because of the misunderstanding of the timing of the parousia, some people quit their jobs and were sponging off others as they waited for the second coming
Possibly some were by nature lazy and used the parousia as an excuse to be lazy
Paul has corrected the teaching on the parousia
Now he corrects the ethics/lifestyle of the Gospel6-12 Deal with entitled, lazy idlers6-10 Don't be, and shun entitled, lazy idlers6 Command: Shun all entitled lazy idlers6a Brothers, we are commanding to you in the Name of our Lord Jesus ChristStrong Warning, with language affirming the authority and seriousness of the command6b For you to stand aloof from/avoid every brotherWho is living as an entitled, lazy idlerBoth laziness and disorderliness that has a connotation of expecting others to provideAnd not according to the tradition which you received from us-cf. 2:15 on "tradition"
see 1 Thes. for the content of the tradition7-10 Reason: You have already been taught against being entitled lazy idlers7a For you yourselves know how it is necessary to emulate us7b-10 We taught and modeled against being entitled, lazy idlers7b Because we did not behave as entitled, lazy idlers among you8-9 We modeled NOT being entitled, lazy idlers among you8 We worked to avoid being a burden to others for support8a Neither did we eat bread from anyone for free8b-c Reason: We worked for our food to not burden others8b Working by labor and toil night and day-cf. 1 Thes. 2:9, 3:108c Purpose: in order to not burden anyone of you-cf. 2 Cor. 12:14 children don't support parents, parents support children9 Explanation of the motivation: To model Christian responsibility9a-b Neg: We didn't do this because we had to9a [We did] not [do this]9b Reason: because we don't have authority(because we do have authority to receive payment, see 1 Cor. ch. 9)9c-e Pos: We did this to teach you Christian responsibility9c But [we did this]9d-e Purpose: To model responsible work ethic9d so that we might give ourselves to you as an example9e Purpose: so that you might emulate us10 We taught you that entitled, lazy idlers were not to be supported10a When we were with you10b-d We told you not to support someone not willing to work10b We commanded this to you10c-d Unwillingness to work should be met with denied ability to eat10c Condition: If someone is not willing to workNotice the issue is willingness, not ability
There is a place for welfare/charity toward those who are unable to work
There is no place for welfare cheats, who are unwilling to work10d Effect: Neither let them eatThe two go together - working and eating11-12 Reason: Entitled, lazy idlers are a problem, and need to be dealt with11 We know there are lazy, unruly bums among you11a For we have heard11b-d What we have heard: that there are unruly, lazy bums among you11b That some among you are behaving as entitled, lazy idlers11c-d Specifically: They don't work, but meddle11c Doing no work11d But meddling in the affairs of othersThere is a wordplay in the original language
"Not busy working, but busybodies/busy meddling"12 Therefore: We command them to support themselves peaceably12a-b We are commanding and exhorting the unruly idle12a We are commanding12b And we are exhorting in the Lord Jesus Christ to such as theseNotice the repeat of the solemn language of exhortation in the Name of the Lord
-cf. v. 6
Paul is using his serious voice to emphasize the gravity of the command12c-d Purpose: So that they can support themselves peaceably12c That by working with a peaceful mannerWithout disturbance, peaceably12d They would eat their own bread/food13-15 Therefore: Continue to do good and deal with the bad in your midst13 Pos: Continue to do good with perseverance13a Brothers, you yourselves, do not lose enthusiasm13b In doing good14-15 Neg: Deal with a stubborn, unrepentant brother14a Condition: If someone does not listen to our word through this commandIn light of Paul's repeatedly invoking the authority of Christ in these commands cf. v. 6, 12
Disobedience to Paul's command is disobedience to Christ, and therefore sin
And it should be dealt with accordingly14b-15 Then: Confront his sin with a goal of repentance and change14b-d Exclude him from fellowship as a rebuke for his sin14b-c Take note of and shun him14b Take note of this oneTake note of them, recognize what they are doing14c To not associate with this oneto show that you do not approve of their sin - positive peer pressure
so that they will be ashamed of their sin14d Purpose: in order that he may become embarrassed and/or ashamed15 Do this with an aim toward his repentance and restoration15a-b Neg: Do not consider him an enemy15a As [being] an enemy15b Do not consider [him]15c-d Pos: But warn him as a brother15c But admonish [him]15d As [you would admonish] a brother
3:16-18 ConclusionDetailed Outline16 Peace Wish/Prayer16a May the Lord of peace Himself give you peaceThrough all/everythingIn every way/manner16b May the Lord be with all of you17 Autograph/Greeting17a The greeting with my own hand - "Paul"17b-c This is my trademark signature17b This is a sign in every epistle [of mine]17c I write in this wayPossibly to counteract possible forgery
-cf. 2:2 "epistle supposedly form us"18 Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you