This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of Second Thessalonians. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. In each section, you can also click to see a detailed, annotated outline of that section. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
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Individual Passages
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  • 1:1-12 Introduction
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1 Salutation
    1a Authors: Paul and Silas and Timothy
    1b Recipients:
    To the church of the Thessalonians
    In God our Father
    And in the Lord Jesus Christ
    Almost exactly the same wording as in I Thessalonians except Paul adds "our" with "Father"
    2 Blessing
    2a Grace and peace to you
    Same as I Thessalonians, but Paul adds the next phrase
    2b From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
    God our Father
    And the Lord Jesus Christ
    Notice the repetition from v. 1
    This is not redundant, but has a purpose
    This emphasis is on God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah
    Everything else is secondary
    3-12 Thanksgiving and Prayer
    3-10 We thank God for you
    3-4 We thank God for your faith and love, which are growing even in persecution
    3 We thank God for your faith and love, which are growing
    3a-b We ought to thank God concerning you because it is appropriate
    3a We ought to always give thanks to God concerning you, brothers
    3b Just as it is appropriate
    3c-d Reason: Because your faith and love are growing
    3c Because your faith is increasing abundantly
    3d And [because] the love of every one of you is growing greatly
    4 Result: We are confident of these things in you in the church of God
    On behalf of your patience and faith
    In all your persecution and affliction which you are enduring
    5-10 Reason: The evidence of God's work in your life prove God and guarantee His coming vindication
    5 This proves that God is right and you are on God's side
    5a this is evidence of the righteous judgment of God
    "this" = their faith, love and patience in trials
    It is evidence of God's just judgment
    The Thessalonians prove God right
    They are considered worthy to experience the Kingdom of God, which they are suffering for
    5b Purpose: So that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God on behalf of which you are suffering
    6-10 Reason: God is just and right, vindicating believers
    6 Since it is right for God to pay back affliction to those afflicting you
    Since justice is from/of God
    7-10 God will vindicate Himself and His believers against their oppressors
    7 And [it is right to pay back] relief to you, the ones being afflicted
    With us
    In the revelation of the Lord Jesus
    Different word than "parousia" used in 1 Thessalonians
    From heaven
    With angels of His power
    In flames of fire
    -cf. Isa. 66:15-16 - speaks of God's fury and judgment coming using similar wording
    8-10 He will pay back punishment to unbelievers
    8 Giving retribution/punishment
    to those who do not know God
    And [to those] who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus
    These two descriptions describe the same group of people
    To disobey the Gospel is to not know God
    Those who know God obey the Gospel
    9-10 Elaboration of the punishment they will experience
    9 Who will undergo punishment:
    Eternal destruction
    From the presence of the Lord
    And from the glory of His power
    "from" can mean separation - i.e. they will be separated from His presence and glory
    "from" can mean source - i.e. the punishment comes from His presence and His glorious strength -very strong punishment
    Quoting Isa. 2:10, 19, 21 - They will flee "from the dread of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty"
    10 At the glorious coming of Jesus
    10a When He comes
    10b-d Purpose: to be glorified and held in awe
    10b to be glorified in His holy ones
    10c-d and to be held in awe by believers
    10c and to be marveled at
    by all those who believe
    in that day
    10d Reason: Because our testimony to you was believed
    Notice again the focus on future eschatology
    Reward and punishment of the Gospel
    11-12 We are praying for you
    11a And for which we are always praying concerning you
    11b-12 Content: That God would be glorified by fulfilling His purpose for you
    11b-c That God would shine His face on you and fulfill His calling for you
    11b That our God would consider you suitable of [His] calling
    11c And he may fulfill every good disposition and work of faith
    12 Purpose: So Christ may be glorified, and we as well
    12a So that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you
    12b And we [may be glorified] in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ
  • 2:1-12 Correct Teaching on the Day of the Lord
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-2 We are asking you not to believe falsehood about the Day of the Lord
    Don't be discouraged by false ideas that the Day of the Lord has already come
    1 We are requesting you, brothers
    Concerning the parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ
    Parousia means "presence" in the sense of "showing up"
    It became a technical term for the "Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of this age" BDAG
    And concerning our gathering together to Him
    Both of these topics were described in the previous section
    2 Purpose: that you won't be shocked by a false report about the Day of the Lord
    2a-b In order that you would not be disturbed or frightened by a false report
    2a In order that you would not be so easily disturbed/shaken from your mindset/attitude
    2b Neither would you be shocked/alarmed either through a spirit or word or epistle as from us
    Apparently they had received a false report from somewhere and thought it had originated with Paul
    Notice that below Paul will tell them that he had already told them differently - they should have tested new information against revelation they already had - test the spirits
    2c As that the Day of the Lord had come
    The Day of the Lord was/is the climactic next step in God's plan, when He will decisively bring to a close this age, vindicate His righteousness, punish His enemies, and begin the next age
    How could the Thessalonians possibly believe this had already happened?
    There was an idea current in this time (now called "over-realized eschatology"), based on the Platonic separation of the 'spiritual' and 'physical' realms. This taught that the purely spiritual Kingdom of God was already completely present in the lives of believers through a purely spiritual Day of the Lord, which had no impact on the physical realm. Paul was battling against this idea in Corinth as well.
    Paul deals with this mistaken idea by talking about the impact that Christ's parousia will have on real life history
    3-12 Specifically: Don't be deceived, but remember the truth that you know
    3-4 Neg: Don't be deceived about the coming of the Day of the Lord
    3a Do not let anyone deceive you in any way
    3b-4 Reason: Because the Day of the Lord will not come until after the apostasy and deception of pretend deity
    3b Because [The day of the Lord will not come]
    3c-4 Condition: Until after the apostasy and false pretender to deity comes first
    3c Except the apostasy comes first
    3d-4 And the man of lawlessness, an arrogant pretender to deity, is revealed
    3d And the man of lawlessness is revealed - the son of destruction
    4 Specifically: He exalts himself as a god against the true God
    4a-b He exalts himself in opposition against any deity
    4a The one opposing [God]
    He hates and opposes God because he wants to be God
    4b And exalting himself against everything being called a god or an object of worship
    -cf. Dan. 7:25, 11:36 - fulfilled by Antiochus IV (Epiphanes)
    But also fulfilled in many world leaders since, cf. Rev. 13:6
    4c-e Result: He would present himself in the temple as God [ to be worshiped]
    4c So that he would sit [as an authority & object of worship] in the temple of God
    4d-e Claiming to be God
    4d Declaring/advertising himself
    4e That he is God
    The epitome of human rebellion/sin - rejecting God because we want to replace Him as King of our universe
    We all do this in our heart every time we sin
    The man of lawlessness does this publicly on a grand scale - the blatant manifestation of our rebellion for what it truly is
    5-12 Pos: You already know enough to resist the deception
    5-8 You've already been told about the revelation of lawlessness and its destiny
    5 Don't you remember that I told you these things when I was with you?
    5a Do you not remember?
    Rhetorical device to gently rebuke them for not applying what they had already learned, which should have protected them from the deception they were believing
    5b-c That I told you these things when I was with you
    5b That I spoke these things to you
    5c While still being present with you
    6-8 Lawlessness will be fully displayed and destroyed under God's control
    6 You know that lawlessness is restrained until God's timing
    6a And you know the one/thing now restraining/holding back
    Something or someone is currently holding back the full expression of lawlessness
    Paul does not elaborate what or who this is because the Thessalonians already know what he is talking about
    The problem is that we don't know for sure what he is talking about
    Beware of theological/eschatological systems built on conjecture in uncertain passages such as these, as if their interpretations were certain
    6b Purpose: So that he/it will be revealed in its own time
    He/it is held back by God's power, and will be fully revealed by God's power and permission and only in God's timing
    7-8 Reason: Lawlessness will only be fully revealed in God's timing, and then will be destroyed by Christ's appearing
    7 Lawlessness is active, but will only be fully revealed in God's timing
    7a For the secret/mystery of lawlessness is already active
    7b-c The one/thing restraining him will remain until he/it is removed from them
    7b Only the one/thing restraining/holding back [will remain] still
    7c Until he/it is removed from their midst
    Until he/it is out of the way, no longer in their midst
    When the restrainer is removed, lawlessness and the lawless one will have apparent free reign (but still under God's ultimate control)
    8 Then the lawless one will be revealed and then destroyed by Jesus' greatness
    8a And then the lawless one will be revealed
    He will be fully manifested for what he is
    And will apparently exercise unlimited control [at least temporarily]
    8b-c And Jesus will totally destroy him with His arrival
    8b The Lord Jesus will annihilate him with the breath of his mouth
    There won't even be any effort or fight on Jesus' part
    He is so powerful; He will 'blow' him away with a minimum of effort [pun intended]
    8c And He will wipe [him] out with the appearance/splendor of His arrival
    The arrival and personal glory of Jesus will totally disintegrate anything which stands opposed to Him
    The man of lawlessness arrogantly opposes Jesus only when Jesus is graciously allowing him to do so
    But he stands no chance whatsoever when Jesus decides that his time is done
    9-12 Explanation: The man of lawlessness's ministry comes with deception to those who are self-deceived
    9-10a Situation: The appearance [of the man of lawlessness] is:
    According to the working/operation of satan
    The power behind the man of lawlessness is the devil
    And the devil gives him supernatural power in order to deceive
    In all kinds of false power and [false] miraculous signs and [false] astounding miracles
    Not ever miracle is from God
    He has clearly warned us against false/counterfeit christs, false/counterfeit prophets, and false/counterfeit miracles
    Be discerning and don't believe every supernatural manifestation is from God
    Test everything by Scripture
    In all kinds of unrighteous deception
    To those being lost/destroyed
    Those who are lost will be deceived
    The implication is that those who are saved will not be deceived, cf. Matt. 24:24
    10b-12 Response: They refuse to believe the truth and God confirms their self-deception
    10b-c Because of this, they rejected the truth by which they would be saved
    10b Because of which they do not receive/approve of the love of the truth
    In Jesus' words, they hate the light and do not come to the light because their deeds are darkness, and they don't want them exposed for what they are
    10c So that they may be saved
    11-12 Result: God sends them a deception so that those who love falsehood will be judged
    11 God sends them a deception so that they will believe the falsehood
    11a Because of this, God sends to them a working/operation of deception
    11b Purpose: so that they would believe the falsehood
    12 Purpose: So that all who do not believe the truth, but take pleasure in unrighteousness may be judged/condemned
    There are uncertainties in this passage, and we must be honest about this and not go beyond what is written in claiming more certainty than we have:
    1. How they got the idea that the Day of the Lord already happened and what they thought that meant
    2. Who is this 'man of lawlessness'?
    3. What/Who is the one/thing that is holding him back? And when/how will it be taken out of the way?
    There are various possible answers offered to each of these questions with different levels of plausibility, but a high level of certainty is not possible.
    There are certainties in this passage, and we should clearly teach them, apply them, and build any theology and application of this passage primarily on these certainties:
    1. They were troubled/shaken because they thought they missed something - they were deceived in some way.
    2. The man of lawlessness is prideful, claiming to be God and hating all rival claims, he sets himself up as and advertises himself as God. There have been many historical examples of this kind of attitude/spirit. Just like there are many antichrists (1Jn. 2:18) and there likely will be a figure at the end who qualifies as THE antichrist, there are many men of lawlessness throughout history, including ourselves to a small degree. And THE man of lawlessness - The full expression and revelation of lawlessness will not take place until God removes what is holding it back.
    3. Even if we don't know for sure who/what is holding him back and when/how he will be released, we know that it is all under God's control.
    4. Lawlessness is already at work to some degree, and we can/should resist it.
    5. The Lawless one will be revealed before the parousia.
    6. Jesus will quickly and easily destroy him - keeping in mind that for God, "quickly" is a relative term, which may not meet our expectations of quickness.
    7. Punishment will come to those who believe the lie because they love the lie more than the truth.
    8. Beware false signs.
    9. Beware false worship.
  • 2:13-17 Thanksgiving and Encouragement
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    13-15 Thanksgiving and exhortation
    13-14 We Thank God because He has chosen, called, saved and sanctified us
    13a We ought to always give thanks to God concerning you, brothers beloved by the Lord
    Almost exactly the same as 1:3
    13b-14 Reason: Because He chose, called, saved and will sanctify and glorify us
    13b Because God chose us as firstfruit into salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and faith in the truth
    Text issue - could be "from the beginning" or "as firstfruit"
    Most likely "firstfruit"
    Firstfruit of what? Most special portion dedicated to God
    14 Into which He called you through our Gospel into acquisition of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ
    15 Therefore: Stand firm and hold on to the doctrines which you were taught
    15a Therefore, brothers, stand firm
    15b And hold strong to the traditions which you were taught
    Either through a word
    Or through a letter from us
    Echoing and contrasting the same phrase in 2:1-2
    The false idea came through "spirit, word or letter, supposedly from us"
    The true tradition came through "word or letter [certainly] from us"
    16-17 Blessing/Prayer Wish:
    16 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father
    16a Who loved us
    16b And in grace gives eternal comfort/encouragement and good hope
    17 Result: He will give us comfort and strength
    17a May He comfort/encourage our hearts
    17b And strengthen/establish [your heart] in every good work and word
  • 3:1-5 Regarding Prayer
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-4 We are requesting your prayer, confident that you will do so
    1-3 We need prayers because of continued opposition and opportunity for Word ministry
    1-2a Pray for the success of our ministry and against the opposition to our ministry
    1a Finally, brothers, pray concerning us
    1b-2a Purpose: So that the Word may do its work and we may be protected from opposition
    This is the content of the prayer which Paul requests,
    but also the intended result of the answered prayer
    1b-d That the Word may everywhere accomplish what it did among you
    1b-c that the Word may spread and be appropriately accepted
    1b That the Word of the Lord may spread rapidly
    Literally "that the Word may run"
    1c And [The Word] may be glorified/honored
    1d Just as [it did] toward you
    2a So that we may be rescued from men who are wrong/wicked and evil
    2b-3 Reason: For there is opposition, but God is able to overcome all opposition
    2b Neg: For the faith is not possessed by all
    3a-c Pos: But the Lord is faithful to strengthen and guard you
    3a But the Lord is faithful
    3b-c Specifically: He will strengthen and guard you
    3b Who will strengthen [you]
    3c And guard you from the evil (one)
    4 We are confident in your faith and continued obedience in prayer
    4a We are convinced in the Lord about you
    4b-d You are doing what we have asked
    4b That the things which we have commanded
    In this context, most likely refers to his request for prayer in v. 1
    But this also applies to a more general obedience to Paul's teaching
    4c-d You are doing and will continue
    4c You are doing
    4d And you will [continue to] do
    5 May the Lord lead/guide your hearts into the love of God and into the endurance of Christ
    Paul's blessing and prayer for the Thessalonians
  • 3:6-15 The Unruly Idle
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    This section takes up an issue first addressed in 1 Thes. 5:14
    Apparently the first epistle did not completely clear up the issue and Paul had to address it again
    Possibly because of the misunderstanding of the timing of the parousia, some people quit their jobs and were sponging off others as they waited for the second coming
    Possibly some were by nature lazy and used the parousia as an excuse to be lazy
    Paul has corrected the teaching on the parousia
    Now he corrects the ethics/lifestyle of the Gospel
    6-12 Deal with entitled, lazy idlers
    6-10 Don't be, and shun entitled, lazy idlers
    6 Command: Shun all entitled lazy idlers
    6a Brothers, we are commanding to you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ
    Strong Warning, with language affirming the authority and seriousness of the command
    6b For you to stand aloof from/avoid every brother
    Who is living as an entitled, lazy idler
    Both laziness and disorderliness that has a connotation of expecting others to provide
    And not according to the tradition which you received from us
    -cf. 2:15 on "tradition"
    see 1 Thes. for the content of the tradition
    7-10 Reason: You have already been taught against being entitled lazy idlers
    7a For you yourselves know how it is necessary to emulate us
    7b-10 We taught and modeled against being entitled, lazy idlers
    7b Because we did not behave as entitled, lazy idlers among you
    8-9 We modeled NOT being entitled, lazy idlers among you
    8 We worked to avoid being a burden to others for support
    8a Neither did we eat bread from anyone for free
    8b-c Reason: We worked for our food to not burden others
    8b Working by labor and toil night and day
    -cf. 1 Thes. 2:9, 3:10
    8c Purpose: in order to not burden anyone of you
    -cf. 2 Cor. 12:14 children don't support parents, parents support children
    9 Explanation of the motivation: To model Christian responsibility
    9a-b Neg: We didn't do this because we had to
    9a [We did] not [do this]
    9b Reason: because we don't have authority
    (because we do have authority to receive payment, see 1 Cor. ch. 9)
    9c-e Pos: We did this to teach you Christian responsibility
    9c But [we did this]
    9d-e Purpose: To model responsible work ethic
    9d so that we might give ourselves to you as an example
    9e Purpose: so that you might emulate us
    10 We taught you that entitled, lazy idlers were not to be supported
    10a When we were with you
    10b-d We told you not to support someone not willing to work
    10b We commanded this to you
    10c-d Unwillingness to work should be met with denied ability to eat
    10c Condition: If someone is not willing to work
    Notice the issue is willingness, not ability
    There is a place for welfare/charity toward those who are unable to work
    There is no place for welfare cheats, who are unwilling to work
    10d Effect: Neither let them eat
    The two go together - working and eating
    11-12 Reason: Entitled, lazy idlers are a problem, and need to be dealt with
    11 We know there are lazy, unruly bums among you
    11a For we have heard
    11b-d What we have heard: that there are unruly, lazy bums among you
    11b That some among you are behaving as entitled, lazy idlers
    11c-d Specifically: They don't work, but meddle
    11c Doing no work
    11d But meddling in the affairs of others
    There is a wordplay in the original language
    "Not busy working, but busybodies/busy meddling"
    12 Therefore: We command them to support themselves peaceably
    12a-b We are commanding and exhorting the unruly idle
    12a We are commanding
    12b And we are exhorting in the Lord Jesus Christ to such as these
    Notice the repeat of the solemn language of exhortation in the Name of the Lord
    -cf. v. 6
    Paul is using his serious voice to emphasize the gravity of the command
    12c-d Purpose: So that they can support themselves peaceably
    12c That by working with a peaceful manner
    Without disturbance, peaceably
    12d They would eat their own bread/food
    13-15 Therefore: Continue to do good and deal with the bad in your midst
    13 Pos: Continue to do good with perseverance
    13a Brothers, you yourselves, do not lose enthusiasm
    13b In doing good
    14-15 Neg: Deal with a stubborn, unrepentant brother
    14a Condition: If someone does not listen to our word through this command
    In light of Paul's repeatedly invoking the authority of Christ in these commands cf. v. 6, 12
    Disobedience to Paul's command is disobedience to Christ, and therefore sin
    And it should be dealt with accordingly
    14b-15 Then: Confront his sin with a goal of repentance and change
    14b-d Exclude him from fellowship as a rebuke for his sin
    14b-c Take note of and shun him
    14b Take note of this one
    Take note of them, recognize what they are doing
    14c To not associate with this one
    to show that you do not approve of their sin - positive peer pressure
    so that they will be ashamed of their sin
    14d Purpose: in order that he may become embarrassed and/or ashamed
    15 Do this with an aim toward his repentance and restoration
    15a-b Neg: Do not consider him an enemy
    15a As [being] an enemy
    15b Do not consider [him]
    15c-d Pos: But warn him as a brother
    15c But admonish [him]
    15d As [you would admonish] a brother
  • 3:16-18 Conclusion
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    16 Peace Wish/Prayer
    16a May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace
    Through all/everything
    In every way/manner
    16b May the Lord be with all of you
    17 Autograph/Greeting
    17a The greeting with my own hand - "Paul"
    17b-c This is my trademark signature
    17b This is a sign in every epistle [of mine]
    17c I write in this way
    Possibly to counteract possible forgery
    -cf. 2:2 "epistle supposedly form us"
    18 Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you