“And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” (Acts 18:11)
Luke provides a summary statement concerning Paul’s ministry in Corinth. It was during this time that Paul also wrote the epistle known as 2 Thessalonians.
For the next couple of days, our focus will be to provide a summary of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church.
Paul, as in 1 Thessalonians, twice identified himself as the author of the letter (1:1; 3:17). Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, Paul’s co-laborers in founding the church, were present with him when he wrote it. Evidence, both within this letter and with regard to vocabulary, style, and doctrinal content, strongly supports Paul as the only possible author. The time of this writing was surely a few months after the first epistle, while Paul was still in Corinth with Silas and Timothy (1:1; Acts 18:5) in late A.D. 51 or early A.D. 52.
In some way shape or form, Paul was aware of what was occurring in the Thessalonian church. He was certainly pleased with their spiritual maturity (2 Thess. 1:3). However, pressure and persecution had also increased.
Apparently, the seeds of false doctrine concerning the Lord had been sown, and the people’s behavior became disorderly. Therefore, Paul wrote to the flock who were: 1) discouraged by persecution and needed incentive to persevere; 2) deceived by false teachers who confused them about the Lord’s return; and 3) disobedient to divine commands, particularly by refusing to work. As one commentator explains, “Paul wrote to address those three issues by offering: 1) comfort for the persecuted believers (1:3–12); 2) correction for the falsely taught and frightened believers (2:1–15); and 3) confrontation for the disobedient and undisciplined believers (3:6–15).”
Eschatology, the doctrine of the end times and the return of the Lord, dominated the theological issues. One of the clearest statements on personal eschatology for unbelievers is found in 1:9. Church discipline is another major focus in 3:6–15, which provides added biblical instruction along with Matthew 18:15–20; 1 Corinthians 5:1–13; Galatians 6:1–5 and 1 Timothy 5:19–20.
Thank you Lord for this insightful and beneficial epistle.
Soli deo Gloria!