2 Thessalonians 1 Commentary

vv.3-4: “The Thessalonians’ growth in faith and love (cf. 1 Thess. 1:3) was taking place under the most adverse conditions: the continuing experience of ‘persecutions’ (diogmois; cf. Acts 8:1; Rom. 8:35; 2 Cor. 12:10) and ‘afflictions’ (thlipsesin, NIV ‘trials’; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6; also 1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7). The church’s circumstances do not appear to have changed much since the time of Paul’s writing the first letter (cf. 1 Thess. 3:1 – 5). But adverse external circumstances have not hindered the fellowship’s growth in the critical areas of faith and love; if anything, they may have promoted it.

“Consequently (NIV ‘therefore’) Paul reports two more reasons why he gives thanks and ‘boasts’ (cf. 1 Thess. 2:19) to other congregations about the Thessalonians. These are the ‘perseverance’ (cf. 3:5; also 1 Thess. 1:3, ‘endurance inspired by hope’) and ‘faith’ (primarily in the sense of ‘trust,’ but perhaps also a bit of the sense of ‘faithfulness’) that they have demonstrated. In short, the Thessalonian brothers and sisters have become for Paul an exemplary model of enduring Christian commitment under difficult conditions.”

vv.5-10: “These verses are not a digression. Rather, they are an elaboration that addresses one of the great hopes the apostle had for the church—that they would persevere. Paul encouraged their perseverance by pointing out its end result as well as the end result of opposition to the faith. God is just. Ultimately he will reward the faithful and punish the wicked. So Paul encouraged the church to persevere by praising their faithfulness to date (v. 4) and by reminding them of the outcome of genuine and persistent faith. The faithful ‘will be counted worthy of the kingdom’ (v. 5) at the parousia [the return of Jesus Christ]. Their persecutors, on the other hand, ‘will be punished with everlasting destruction’ (v. 9).”[1]

vv.7-9: “Essentially, hell is separation from God’s presence. For those who refuse God’s grace and influence in their lives, He gives them what they want—no experience of God.” [2]

v.11: “‘With this in mind’ has no clear antecedent. The neuter pronoun ‘this’ probably looks back to the preceding passage as a whole and the Thessalonians’ salvation and perseverance through persecution. The apparent disjunction between vv. 11–12 and what precedes is caused in part by a temporal shift. Verses 5–10 deal with God’s future judgment, while vv. 11–12 primarily return attention (as in vv. 3–4) back to the believers’ current Christian life. Thus the ‘this’ that Paul had ‘in mind’ probably was the Thessalonians’ perseverance until and participation in the future glory of the day of the Lord (vv. 5–10). Mindful of achieving that goal, he prayed for the character of their current Christian lives. Even as God had called them, so they must live as people worthy of his kingdom, anticipating its full and final coming (cf. 1 Thess 2:12).”[3]

[1] Martin, D. M. (2001). Vol. 33: 1, 2 Thessalonians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (204). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (1795). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[3] Martin, D. M. (2001). Vol. 33: 1, 2 Thessalonians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (216). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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