By: Steve Shirley
Most agree that this was the 3rd of the 13 Epistles that Paul wrote. It was written from Corinth in 51 or 52 A.D, likely 2 to 6 months after 1st Thessalonians.
(1:1-2) This heading is almost exactly the same as the heading found in 1st Thessalonians (1:1).
Silvanus is almost certainly the man who is also called "Silas." When we studied 1st Thessalonians 1:1, we looked at several things regarding Silas. Let's look at a few again: (Acts 15:32)(Acts 16:25,37)(1 Pet 5:12). For more on Silas, please refer back to the previous study.
Let's also look again at a few things we mentioned about Timothy: (Acts 16:1-3)(2 Tim 1:5)(2 Tim 3:15).
In 4 different verses, Paul referred to Timothy as his "son" (1 Tim 1:2,18)(2 Tim 1:2)(1 Cor 4:17). Why did Paul call Timothy his son?
*** We will look at more about Timothy when we get to the book of Timothy.
(1:1) "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Equality: Jesus IS God! He is Lord!
(1:3) "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth."
It appears that the bearer of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians may have returned to Paul with good news that their "faith" was growing "exceedingly," and their "love" ("charity") for each other was "abounding." However, as we see in the verses to follow, it appears that their persecution may have been increasing.
*** Remember in 1st Thessalonians that Paul offered 3 prayers for them (1 Th 1:2-3)(1 Th 3:11-13)(1 Th 5:23-24).
(1:4) "so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:"
However, their "patience and faith" remained strong in the midst of the persecutions and tribulations! So much so that Paul (and the others) "boasted" about it to the other churches.
(1:5) "that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer"
The Greek word "kataxioo" is used for "counted worthy" here. It is used in only 3 other verses in the New Testament (Acts 5:41)(Lk 20:35)(Lk 21:36). In each, it means: "to judge as worthy" or "to deem entirely deserving." Let's look at (Acts 5:41) for one more example.
Are you as a Christian "suffering" persecution right now for your faith? Should you be? What if you aren't?
There are MANY verses in the New Testament about Christians "suffering" for their faith. For the sake of time though, let's just look at a few in 1st Peter.
(1 Pet 4:12-19)(1 Pet 3:13-18)(1 Pet 2:20-23)(1 Pet 1:6-7)
*** If you would like more verses, here are a few: (James 1:2-4)(Rom 5:3-4)(Mt 5:10-12)(Jn 15:18-20).
(1:6) "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you."
When others hurt us, we are not to take vengeance or retaliate. The Bible tells us that God will do this for us. Let's look at a few other verses on this: (1 Th 5:15)(Rom 12:17-19)(Mt 5:38-44).
The Liberty Bible Commentary says, "... the literal translation (of this verse) would be, "God will repay those who trouble you with trouble." In other words, they will get a dose of their own medicine."
(1:7) "rest with us" Paul makes the point that he, and those with him, were suffering ("troubled") just as the Thessalonians were. They were waiting for the future rest that would come at Jesus' return. The Thessalonians would also receive this "rest."
***However, if a believer dies before the return of Jesus, we receive "rest" at that time (see Rev 14:11-13, Rev 6:11 for examples). In Christ, we can also receive a measure of "rest" while on earth (Mt 11:28-29)(Heb 3:11,18)(Heb 4:1-11).
(1:7) "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels"
Let me quote from the MacArthur Study Bible here:
"This undoubtedly refers to Christ being unveiled in His coming as Judge. The first aspect of this revealing occurs at the end of the 7 year tribulation period (cf. Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; 24:29-51; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-15). The final and universal revelation of Christ as Judge occurs at the Great White Throne judgment following Christ's millennial reign on earth (Rev. 20:11-15). Angels always accompany Christ in His coming for judgment (cf. Matt. 13:41,49; 24:30,31; 25:31; Rev. 14:14,15)."
(1:8) "in flaming fire" Fire was often a sign of God's judgment in the Bible. Here are a few examples: (Gen 19:24)(Isa 66:15-16)(Jer 4:4)(Ezek 21:31)(Amos 5:6)(Zeph 3:8)(Rev 20:9-10).
(Heb 12:29)(Deut 4:24)(Ex 24:17) God is called: ______________________________
(1:8) "taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Who are they that "know not God?" How do we "know God?"
What does it mean to "obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?"
(1:9)(NKJV) "These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
***Note: "Everlasting" comes from the Greek word "aionios," and the root word "aion," meaning "perpetual or infinite duration." It is used 26 times in the New Testament. It is also translated as "eternal" 42 times. "Destruction" comes from the Greek word "olethros," meaning "loss of well-being or ruin." It is never used for "annihilation."
What is (1:9) speaking about?
Let's look at some other related verses on this: (Mt 25:41,46)(Mt 8:12)(Mt 13:42,50)(Mk 9:44)(Rev 14:10-11).
(1:10)(NASB) "when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed."
"On that day" = "The Day of The Lord"
"among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed" = they believed the Gospel ("testimony") that was preached to them
(1:11) "we pray always for you" ("Pray without ceasing:" 1 Th 5:17).
This is the first of 4 prayers that Paul prays for the Thessalonians in 2nd Thessalonians: (2 Th 1:11-12)(2 Th 2:16-17)(2 Th 3:1-5)(2 Th 3:16).
(1:11) "that our God would count you worthy of this calling"
Quoting the John MacArthur Study Bible: "that they might behave in ways consistent with their identity as Christians (cf. 1 Thess. 2:19; Eph. 4:1; Col. 1:10), living up to their "calling to salvation" (cf. Rom. 8:30; Rom. 11:29; Gal. 4:13-15; 1 Cor. 1:26; Col. 1:3-5, 1 Thess. 2:12) with lives marked by goodness and powerful works of faith."
(1:12) "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Why was verse 11 important? Verse 12 gives us a two-fold answer:
#1. That the name of Jesus Christ would be glorified (the primary purpose of all believers: 1 Cor 10:31, 1 Pet 4:11, Ps 29:1-2).
#2. That the believer would be glorified in Him (that they would receive honor, and share in Jesus' glory, as members of His body: see: Jn 17:20-23).