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2 Thessalonians Chapter One


2 Thessalonians 1

In the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, the apostle corrects some errors into which these disciples had fallen with regard to the day of the Lord through certain false teachers; as in part of the first epistle he had enlightened the ignorance of the believers themselves respecting the portion of the saints at the coming of Christ to take them to Himself-a point on which they were evidently but little instructed.

A measure of Jewish darkness was on their minds; and they were, in some points, still subjected to the influence of that unhappy nation, which was ever struggling to maintain a position lost through its unbelief.

This Jewish influence enables us to understand why the apostle spoke as he did in chapter 2:15, 16 of the first Epistle. At that time this influence shewed itself in the tendency of the Thessalonians to lose sight of the heavenly side of the Lord's coming, to think that He would return to the earth and that they should then be glorified with Him-as a Jew might have believed-and that the dead saints would therefore not be present to share this glory. I do not say that this thought had assumed a definite form in the minds of the Thessalonians. To them the principal and living object was the Lord Himself, and they were awaiting His return with hearts full of joy and life; but the heavenly side of this expectation had not its place clearly marked in their minds, and they connected the coming too much with the manifestation, so that the earthly character predominated, and the dead seemed to be shut out from it.

When the Second Epistle was written, this Jewish influence had another character; and the false teachers were more directly concerned in it.

The faithful at Thessalonica had learnt to contemplate "the day of the Lord" as a day of judgment. The Old Testament had spoken much of this day of the Lord, a day of darkness and unparalleled judgment, a day of trial to men. (Compare Isaiah 13, Joel 2i, Amos 5:18) Now the Thessalonians were undergoing dreadful persecution. Perhaps their hope of an earthly intervention of the Lord, during their lifetime, was weakened. The apostle at least rejoiced at the increase of their faith, and the abundant exercise of their love, while he is silent with regard to their hope; and the joy of christian life is not found here as it was manifested in the First Epistle. Nevertheless they were walking well, [1] in the churches of God. But the false teachers profited by their condition to mislead them by means of their sufferings, which weighed more heavily on their hearts from the joy of hope being a little weakened; and at the same time the remains of the influence of Judaising thoughts or of habits of mind formed through them, furnished occasion to the assaults of the enemy. The instrument of the subtle malice told them that the day of the Lord, that fearful time, was already come-the word (chap. 2:2) is not "at hand,"but " come, [2] --and all that the Thessalonians were suffering, and by which their hearts were shaken, appeared like a testimony to prove it and to confirm the words of the false teachers. Was it not written that it should be a day of trial and anguish?

The words of these teachers, moreover, had the pretension of being more than human reasoning; it was a word of the Lord, it was the Spirit who spoke, it was a letter from an inspired channel: and so bold and wicked were they in regard to this matter, that they did not fear to adduce the apostle's own name as their authority for declaring that the day was come. Now the dominion of fear, which Satan can exercise over the mind, when it is not kept of God in peace and joy, is astonishing. "In nothing terrified by your adversaries," is the apostle's word to the Philippians, "which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God." In such a state of mind as this everything is believed; or rather everything is feared, and nothing is believed. The heart gives itself up to this fear, and is ready to believe anything; for it is in darkness an knows not what to believe. Thus the apostle exhorts the Thessalonians (chap. 2) not to be soon shaken in mind so as to lose their stability in the truth, and not to be troubled.

The apostle deals with the case in the same manner as in the First Epistle. Before entering on the error he treats the same subject in its true light, building upon the knowledge which the Thessalonians already possessed. Only he sets it forth with clearness in its application to the circumstances of the moment. By this means they were delivered from the influence of the error, and from the disturbance of mind which it had caused; and were rendered capable of looking at the error, as being themselves outside it, and of judging it according to the instruction that the apostle gave them.

They were persecuted and were in distress and suffering, and the enemy took advantage of it. The apostle puts that fact in its right place. He encourages them with the thought that it was a kind of seal upon them of their being worthy of the kingdom for which they were suffering. But more, the "day of the Lord" was the coming of the Lord in judgment; but it was not to make His own suffer that He was coming---it was to punish the wicked. Persecution therefore could not be the day of the Lord; for in persecution the wicked had the upper hand and did their own will and inflicted suffering on those whom the Lord loved. Could that be His day! The apostle does not apply this argument to the question, but he puts the facts in their place; so that all the use which the enemy made of them fell of itself to the ground. The truth of the facts was there in its simplicity, giving them their evident and natural character. When God should take the thing in hand, He would recompense tribulation to those who troubled His children, and these should have rest-should be in peace. The moment of their entering into this rest is not at all the subject here, but the contrast between their actual condition and that which it would be if Jesus were come. It was not to persecute and harass His own that He was coming. In His day they should be at rest, and the wicked in distress; for He was coming to punish the latter by driving them away for ever from the glory of His presence. When we understand that the Thessalonians had been induced to believe that the day of the Lord was already come, the import of this first chapter is very plain.

Two principles are here established. First, the righteous judgment of God: it is righteous in His eyes, on the one hand, to reward those who suffer for His kingdom's sake: and, on the other, to requite those who persecute His children. In the second place, the glorious manifestation of the Lord Jesus: His own should be in rest and happiness with Him, when His power should be in exercise.

We see also here two reasons for judgment-they did not know God, and they did not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. All being without excuse as to the testimony that God had ever given concerning Himself, some among them had added the rejection of the positive revelation of His grace in the gospel of Christ to their abuse of their natural relationship with God and their forgetfulness of His majesty.

Meanwhile the apostle presents the positive result in blessing of the manifestation of Jesus in glory. He will come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that have believed in Him, and therefore in the Thessalonians: a thorough proof, at least that they were not to view their persecuted condition as a demonstration that the day was come. With regard to themselves, they werethus entirely delivered from the confusion by which the enemy sought to disquiet them; and the apostle could treat the question of this error with hearts which, as to their own condition, were set free from it and at rest.

These considerations characterised his prayers on their behalf. He sought from God that they might always be worthy of this vocation, and that the Lord might be glorified in them by the power of faith, which would shine the brighter through their persecutions; and that afterwards they might be glorified in Him at the manifestation of His glory according to the grace of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now that the apostle has placed their souls on the ground of truth, he enters upon the subject of the error, shewing that which had occasioned his remarks. Of this we have already spoken.


[1] In the First Epistle he says he needed not to speak of them, seeing that the world itself recounted everywhere the principles by which they were governed. We shall see a similar difference all through. It is no longer the same fresh energy of life.

[2] See Romans 8:38;1 Corinthians 3:22; where it (enistemi) is translated "present," in contrast with " things to come."

── John DarbySynopsis of 2 Thessalonians


2 Thessalonians 1

Chapter Contents

The apostle blesses God for the growing state of the love and patience of the Thessalonians. (1-4) And encourages them to persevere under all their sufferings for Christ, considering his coming at the great day of account. (5-12)

Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4

(Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4)

Where there is the truth of grace, there will be an increase of it. The path of the just is as the shining light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day. And where there is the increase of grace, God must have all the glory. Where faith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for others, when trials from God, and persecutions from men, quicken the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of which the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to endure all their tribulations.

Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

(Read 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; and those have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how to value it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannot by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit heaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are prepared for the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man for eternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to the name and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble his people. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest from sin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved by the righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should be terrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith, looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand the book of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. The Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come in the glory and power of the upper world. His light will be piercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shall be found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to those that know not God, especially to those who rebel against revelation, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the great crime of multitudes, the gospel is revealed, and they will not believe it; or if they pretend to believe, they will not obey it. Believing the truths of the gospel, is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinners may be long spared, they will be punished at last. They did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishes sinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will be destruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of his anger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to those who believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day, Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. And Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and power will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchased for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon those who believe in him. Lord, if the glory put upon thy saints shall be thus admired, how much more shalt thou be admired, as the Bestower of that glory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wicked will be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in the salvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angels with holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints with eternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than the most enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ will be admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer not excepted.

Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12

(Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12)

Believing thoughts and expectations of the second coming of Christ should lead us to pray to God more, for ourselves and others. If there is any good in us, it is owing to the good pleasure of his goodness, and therefore it is called grace. There are many purposes of grace and good-will in God toward his people, and the apostle prays that God would complete in them the work of faith with power. This is to their doing every other good work. The power of God not only begins, but carries on the work of faith. And this is the great end and design of the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ, which is made known to us, and wrought in us.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 Thessalonians


2 Thessalonians 1

Verse 3

[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 is highly observable, that the apostle wraps up his praise of men in praise to God; giving him the glory.

Your faith groweth — Probably he had heard from them since his sending the former letter.

Aboundeth — Like water that overflows its banks, and yet increaseth still.

Verse 4

[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:

Which ye endure — "That ye may be accounted worthy of the kingdom."

Verse 5

[5] Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

A manifest token — This is treated of in the sixth 2 Thessalonians 1:6 and following verses.

Verse 6

[6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

It is a righteous thing with God — (However men may judge) to transfer the pressure from you to them. And it is remarkable that about this time, at the passover, the Jews raising a tumult, a great number (some say thirty thousand) of them were slain. St. Paul seems to allude to this beginning of sorrows, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, which did not end but with their destruction.

Verse 8

[8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Taking vengeance — Does God barely permit this, or (as "the Lord" once "rained brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven," Genesis 19:24) does a fiery stream go forth from him for ever? Who know not God - (The root of all wickedness and misery) who remain in heathen ignorance.

And who obey not — This refers chiefly to the Jews, who had heard the gospel.

Verse 9

[9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

From the glory of his power — Tremble, ye stout-hearted.

Everlasting destruction — As there can be no end of their sins, (the same enmity against God continuing,) so neither of their punishment; sin and its punishment running parallel throughout eternity itself. They must of necessity, therefore, be cut off from all good, and all possibility of it.

From the presence of the Lord — Wherein chiefly consists the salvation of the righteous. What unspeakable punishment is implied even in falling short of this, supposing that nothing more were implied in his taking vengeance!

Verse 10

[10] When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

To be glorified in his saints — For the wonderful glory of Christ shall shine in them.

Verse 11

[11] Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

All the good pleasure of his goodness — Which is no less than perfect holiness.

Verse 12

[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.

That the name — The love and power of our Lord may be glorified - Gloriously displayed in you.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 2 Thessalonians


Chapter 1. The Comfort of Coming Again

Suffer for the Kingdom of God
Get Relief Together

I. Thank God for Believers

  1. Growing Faith
  2. Increasing Love
  3. Enduring Trials

II. Present Suffering

  1. Bless the Sufferer
  2. Repay the Misery-giver
  3. Judge and Set Apart

III. Future Glory

  1. Worthy of His calling
  2. Act by Faith
  3. Blessed Hope

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter One General Review
1) To note the virtues that demonstrated the spiritual growth and
   development of the church at Thessalonica
2) To glean what will happen when Christ comes again, and upon whom His
   vengeance will fall
As in the first epistle, Paul is joined by Silvanus and Timothy as he
extends a salutation to the church of the Thessalonians, along with a 
petition for grace and peace in their behalf (1-2).
He makes mention of his obligation to always thank God for the growth
of their faith and the way their love abounded towards one another.  He
is so impressed that he has boasted to other churches of their patience
and faith in the midst of persecutions and tribulations (3-4).
Paul then offers encouragement in their persecutions by reminding them
of the righteous judgment of God.  Because of their suffering, which 
made them worthy of the kingdom of God, God will be righteous to bring 
tribulation upon those who trouble them, and to give them rest along 
with Paul and others.  This will happen when Jesus is revealed from 
heaven with His mighty angels, when in flaming fire He will take 
vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel 
of Jesus Christ.  While these are punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord, Christ Himself will be glorified in that
Day and admired by all those who believe (5-10).
This leads to his prayer concerning them.  His desire is that God would
count them worthy of His calling, fulfill His good pleasure and the 
work of faith with power, and that the name of the Lord might be 
glorified in them, and they in Him, in keeping with the grace of God
and the Lord Jesus Christ (11-12).
      1. From Paul
      2. Also Silvanus and Timothy
   B. GREETINGS (1b-2)
      1. To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the
         Lord Jesus Christ (1b)
      2. Grace and peace from God and Jesus (2)
      1. Such thanksgiving is fitting in view of:
         a. Their faith growing exceedingly (3a)
         b. Their love abounding toward each other (3b)
      2. Paul and his companions even boast of them among the churches
         of God (4a)
         a. For their patience and faith (4b)
         b. In all their persecutions and tribulations they endured 
      1. Their persecutions are evidence of God's righteous judgment to
         come (5-7a)
         a. In which they shall be counted worthy of the kingdom of God
         b. In which God will repay with tribulation those who trouble
            them (6)
         c. In which they will receive rest (7a)
      2. Such judgment will occur when Jesus is revealed from heaven
         a. With His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance
            1) On those who do not know God (8b)
            2) On those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus
               Christ (8c)
         b. Punishing such with everlasting destruction (9a)
            1) From the presence of the Lord (9b)
            2) From the glory of His power (9c)
      3. Jesus will come in that Day... (10a)
         a. To be glorified in His saints (10b)
         b. To be admired among all those who believe (10c)
         -- Because Paul's testimony among them was believed (10d)
      1. That God would...
         a. Count them worthy of His calling (11a)
         b. Fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work
            of faith with power (11b)
      2. That according to the grace of God and the Lord Jesus 
         a. The name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in them
         b. And they may be glorified in Him (12b)
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Introduction (1-2)
   - Encouragement in persecutions (3-12)
2) Who joins Paul in sending this letter? (1)
   - Silvanus and Timothy
3) How does Paul identify the church? (1)
   - The church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord 
     Jesus Christ
4) What two reasons does Paul give for why he thanks God always for
   them? (3)
   - Because their faith grows exceedingly
   - Because their love abounds toward each other
5) What did Paul boast among the churches of God in regards to the
   Thessalonians? (4)
   - Of their patience and faith in all the persecutions and 
     tribulations they endured
6) What was one consequence of their suffering? (5)
   - That they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God
7) What does God consider it a righteous thing to do? (6)
   - To repay with tribulation those who trouble them
8) What will those who are troubled receive when the Lord is revealed
   from heaven? (7)
   - Rest with Paul and others
9) Who will accompany Jesus when He is revealed from heaven? (7)
   - His mighty angels
10) Upon whom will Jesus take vengeance in flaming fire? (8)
   - Those who do not know God
   - Those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
11) How will they be punished? (9)
   - With everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and 
     from the glory of His power
12) What two things will happen to Jesus when He comes? (10)
   - He will be glorified in His saints
   - He will be admired among all those who believe
13) What five things does Paul pray for in behalf of the Thessalonians?
   - That God would count them worthy of His calling
   - That God would fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness
   - That God would fulfill the work of faith with power
   - That the name of Jesus Christ may be glorified in them
   - That they may be glorified in Him


--《Executable Outlines


The comfort of coming again

Suffer for the kingdom of God

Get relief together


I.  Thank God for believers

1.    Growing faith

2.    Increasing love

3.    Enduring trials

II.Present suffering

1.    Bless the sufferer

2.    Repay the misery-giver

3.    Judge and set apart

III.       Future glory

1.    Worthy of His calling

2.    Act by faith

3.    Blessed hope

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament