Paul sent this letter not long after 1 Thessalonians (around A.D. 51). Some of the new believers had confused the teachings of the first letter...thinking that Paul was saying that the return of Christ was imminent, at any moment. With that thought that the end of the world was at hand, they made the decision to stop working altogether, sit back, and wait on Him. This was causing an embarrassing situation.
Thessalonians, Second Epistle to The:
appears to have been written from Corinth not very long after the first, for Silvanus and Timotheus were still with St. Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:1). In the former letter we saw chiefly the outpouring of strong personal affection, occasioned by the renewal of the apostle's intercourse with the Thessalonians, and the doctrinal and hortatory portions are there subordinate. In the Second Epistle, on the other hand, his leading motive seems to have been the desire of correcting errors in the church of Thessalonica. We notice two points especially which call for his rebuke:- First, it seems that the anxious expectation of the Lord's advent. Instead of subsiding, had gained ground since the writing of the First Epistle. Second, the apostle had also a personal ground of complaint. His authority was not denied by any, but it was tampered with, and an unauthorized use was made of his name. It will be seen that the teaching of the Second Epistle is corrective of or rather supplemental to that of the first, and therefore presupposes it. This epistle, in the range of subject as well as in style and general character closely resembles the first; and the remarks made on that epistle apply for the most part equally well to this. The structure is somewhat similar the main body of the epistle being divided into two parts in the same way, and each part closing with a prayer (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17; 3:16). The epistle ends with a special direction and benediction (2 Thessalonians 3:17-18). The external evidence in favor of the Second Epistle is somewhat more definite than that which can be brought in favor of the first. The internal character of the epistle too, as in the former case, bears the strongest testimony to its Pauline origin. Its genuineness, in fact, was never questioned until the beginning of the present century.
Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the, https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=BT0004198
For additional introductory information on 2 Thessalonians see:
2 Thessalonians 1
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2-Paul’s Greeting
2 Thessalonians 1:3-13-The Report Paul has Received of Their Faithfulness in the Face of Persecution
2 Thessalonians 1:3-The report he has heard about their spiritual growth
Paul commends the Thessalonians for their faith and love in the midst of persecution.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-The testimony he tells others about their faithfulness in persecution
He says that God will bless them and that believers elsewhere will hear of them and be strengthened during their times of persecution.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10-God will judge those who persecute them
However, those who are persecuting them will be punished. Paul is very clear that there are consequences for not believing in Jesus. Notice the nature of these consequences:
- it is “righteous” (:5)…meaning that it is the right and correct thing to be done since they have chosen to not live in accord with God’s very nature…He is righteous
- it will cause “affliction” (:6) to those who have afflicted believers
Afflict (-ed), Affliction:
primarily means "a pressing, pressure" (see A, No. 4), anything which burdens the spirit. In two passages in Paul's Epistles it is used of future retribution, in the way of "affliction," Rom 2:9; 2Th 1:6. In Mat 24:9, the AV renders it as a verb, "to be afflicted," (RV, "unto tribulation"). It is coupled with stenochoria, "anguish," in Rom 2:9; 8:35; with ananke, "distress," 1Th 3:7; with diogmos, "persecution," Mat 13:21; Mar 4:17; 2Th 1:4. It is used of the calamities of war, Mat 24:21, 29; Mar 13:19, 24; of want, 2Cr 8:13, lit., "distress for you;" Phl 4:14 (cp. Phl 1:16); Jam 1:27; of the distress of woman in child-birth, Jhn 16:21; of persecution, Act 11:19; 14:22; 20:23; 1Th 3:3, 7; Hbr 10:33; Rev 2:10; 7:14; of the "afflictions" of Christ, from which (His vicarious sufferings apart) his followers must not shrink, whether sufferings of body or mind, Col 1:24; of sufferings in general, 1Cr 7:28; 1Th 1:6, etc.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2347&t=NASB
- it will be God’s “retribution” to those who have not accepted Christ
lit., "(that which proceeds) out of justice," not, as often with human "vengeance," out of a sense of injury or merely out of a feeling of indignation. The word is most frequently used of Divine "vengeance," e.g., Rom 12:19; Hbr 10:30. For a complete list see AVENGE, B, No. 2. The judgements of God are holy and right (Rev 16:7), and free from any element of self-gratification or vindictiveness.
"vengeance," is used with the verb poieo, "to make," i.e., to avenge, in Luk 18:7, 8; Act 7:24; twice it is used in statements that "vengeance" belongs to God, Rom 12:19; Hbr 10:30. In 2Th 1:8 it is said of the act of Divine justice which will be meted out to those who know not God and obey not the Gospel, when the Lord comes in flaming fire at His Second Advent. In the Divine exercise of judgment there is no element of vindictiveness, nothing by way of taking revenge. In Luk 21:22, it is used of the "days of vengeance" upon the Jewish people; in 1Pe 2:14, of civil governors as those who are sent of God "for vengeance on evildoers" (AV, "punishment"); in 2Cr 7:11, of the "self-avenging" of believers, in their godly sorrow for wrong doing, RV, "avenging," for AV, "revenge."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1557&t=NASB
- it will involve "eternal destruction”
"The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT, save the places noted above, may be seen in 2Cr 4:18, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, lit., 'for a season,' and in Phm 1:15, where only in the NT it is used without a noun. Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless, as, e.g., of God, Rom 16:26; of His power, 1Ti 6:16, and of His glory, 1Pe 5:10; of the Holy Spirit, Hbr 9:14; of the redemption effected by Christ, Hbr 9:12, and of the consequent salvation of men, Hbr 5:9, as well as of His future rule, 2Pe 1:11, which is elsewhere declared to be without end, Luk 1:33; of the life received by those who believe in Christ, Jhn 3:16, concerning whom He said, 'they shall never perish,' Jhn 10:28, and of the resurrection body, 2Cr 5:1, elsewhere said to be 'immortal,' 1Cr 15:53, in which that life will be finally realized, Mat 25:46; Tts 1:2.
"Aionios is also used of the sin that 'hath never forgiveness,' Mar 3:29, and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Hbr 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Mat 18:8; 25:41; Jud 1:7, and which is elsewhere said to be 'unquenchable,' Mar 9:43. "The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2Th 1:9, is not temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 232, 233.]
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G166&t=NASB
Destroy, Destroyer, Destruction, Destructive:
"ruin, destruction," akin to A, No. 6, always translated "destruction," is used in 1Cr 5:5, of the effect upon the physical condition of an erring believer for the purpose of his spiritual profit; in 1Th 5:3; 2Th 1:9, of the effect of the Divine judgments upon men at the ushering in of the Day of the Lord and the revelation of the Lord Jesus; in 1Ti 6:9, of the consequences of the indulgence of the flesh, referring to physical "ruin" and possibly that of the whole being, the following word apoleia (see No. 1) stressing the final, eternal and irrevocable character of the "ruin."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3639&t=NASB
- it will be “away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (:9). While the previous words detailing the consequences of God’s judgment may seem brutal and devastating…there could be no judgment any worse than to separated from God, His presence (His love and care) and His power (His provision and protection), for all of eternity. That is what Hell really is.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12-Paul’s prayer that God will be glorified through them
The word “worthy” means to be found fit to be identified with, or associated with something. In other words, Paul prays that their lives would be found to be worthy of being associated with Jesus. He also prays that God will answer all of their prayers when they ask Him to help them live a life worthy of Jesus (that is what “goodness” means, here) and that they will have His power in order to complete the “work of faith” that He has called them to.
Prayer: Father, I pray for Your deliverance from persecution. But, if there are times when I must face persecution, please give me the faith to stand strong and to be a witness to others of Your strength, and grace. And Lord, please give me the strength and wisdom to live in a way that is worthy of You, a life that honors and glorifies You.