- THE TITLE
This epistle is called II Thessalonians because it is the second of two letters addressed to "the church of the Thessalonians" (1:1).
- THE WRITER
Paul, who wrote the first Thessalonian letter, was also the writer of this one. This fact we learn from the first verse of chapter one.
- TIME AND PLACE OF WRITING
This letter was probably written from Corinth in A.D. 53, and just a few months after the first epistle. Two things indicate this date: (1) the fact that almost the same conditions are described in each -- persecution and trial; expectation of the Lord's hasty return; idleness in view of the Lord's speedy return; disorderly conduct; (2) the fact that Silas and Timothy were with Paul at the time each letter was written (I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:1).
- THE EPISTLE
For information concerning Thessalonica and the establishment of the church there, the student is referred to the section on I Thessalonians. The reasons for writing this second letter are apparent. The chief object was to correct an erroneous idea among the Thessalonians that the Lord would return soon and bring the world to an end. In the first letter, Paul tried to comfort them concerning their Christian dead. His effort did more than he intended. They expected Christ to return during their lifetime, hence many quit their secular work and were just waiting in idleness for His coming (II Thessalonians 3:6-13). The second letter attempts to correct these errors, and to warn the church concerning false teachers who tampered with Paul's authority. This is the shortest letter written by Paul to any church. The general theme is patient waiting for the Lord. There is a lack of special greetings. The epistle has been called a letter of warning.
- EXERCISES FOR STUDENT ACTIVITY
- Name the things commendable in the church (1:3,4).
- What will become of those who obey not the gospel? (1:5-10).
- Compare the introduction with that of I Thessalonians (1:1,2).
- Tell of the moral disorders in the church (3:6-11).
- How are we to deal with the disorderly? (3:6,14,15).
- What advice does Paul give about idlers? (3:12).
- What indicates Paul's name had been forged? (2:1,2,15; 3:17).
- What will precede the Lord's second coming (2:3).
- Who is the man of sin? (2:4-12).
- When will the man of sin be destroyed? (2:8).
- How are people called to be Christians? (2:13-15).
- How did Paul conduct himself while in Thessalonica? (3:7-9).
- In his request for prayer, what does Paul ask? (3:1-5).
- What happens when one refuses to believe the truth? (2:10,11).
- Complete the following quotations:
- "If any would not _______________, neither should he _______________."
- "Yet count him not as an _______________, but admonish him as a _______________."
- "_______________yourselves from every brother that walketh _______________."
- "And for this cause God shall send them a strong _______________."
- "For we behaved not ourselves_______________ among you."
- "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a _______________ away first, and that _______________ of sin be revealed, the son of _______________."
- Topics for further study
- Using the Thessalonian letters as a source, write a brief paper on the second coming of Christ.
- Discuss the judgment of the wicked as set forth in II Thessalonians.
- What does the epistle teach concerning labor relations and economic conditions?
- Give evidences that the Thessalonians had misunderstood Paul's teaching regarding Christ's second coming.
- What attitude should the church have toward a brother that is withdrawn from?