2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Submitted by admin on Sun, 2007-02-04 12:31.

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Paul introduced his second letter to the Thessalonians in basically the same way as he did his first one. “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the congregation of the Thessalonians in God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ. Favor to you and peace from God our Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1, 2; see 1 Thessalonians for comments.)

Paul used the editorial first person plural verbs and pronouns, but it is not always apparent when he also meant to include Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy. The apostle considered it as something noble or deserving to feel obligated always to thank God for the Thessalonians, as their faith (their trust in God and his Son) was growing wonderfully and their love for one another was increasing. Faced with persecutions and distress of various kinds, the Thessalonians had maintained exemplary endurance or steadfastness and faith. Therefore, Paul, with an appropriate pride, could mention their example in faith and perseverance to other congregations of God. (1:3, 4)

The faith and steadfastness of the Thessalonians while undergoing suffering revealed God’s righteous judgment. This may be from the standpoint that they were sustained and strengthened through help made available through his spirit and that they were considered worthy to be dishonored for him and his beloved Son. (Compare Matthew 5:10-12; Acts 5:41; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Philippians 1:27-30; 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:17; 1 Peter 2:19-21.) Their faith and endurance confirmed that they had God’s approval and would be found deserving of his kingdom for which they were suffering. As part of God’s kingdom, they would share with his appointed king, the Lord Jesus Christ, all the joys and blessings associated with his royal realm. (1:5)

God’s righteousness or justice would also be revealed in his repaying those responsible for causing believers to suffer unjustly. At the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, accompanied by his powerful angels, “in flaming fire,” afflicted believers would experience relief, but all who deliberately and defiantly chose not to know God and refused to obey the evangel of the Lord Jesus would face doom. Disobeying the evangel would mean rejecting Jesus Christ as God’s Son and his sacrificial death as the means for having sins forgiven and being delivered from divine wrath. The execution of divine justice on defiant unbelievers is unalterable—eternal destruction or ruin “from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” This would signify that the defiant ones would be permanently cut off from the Lord Jesus Christ and his glorious strength employed for beneficent purposes. Never would the face of God’s Son be turned to them in a favorable way. They would have no share in the marvelous things Jesus Christ would accomplish by his extraordinary might. (1:6-9)

Paul referred to the “revelation of the Lord Jesus” as the “day” he would be “glorified in his holy ones and to be marveled at in all those having believed.” This could mean that, by reason of what Christ had done for them, his glory, magnificence, or splendor would be reflected in the holy ones or the believers and that the wonderment with which he would be regarded would likewise be the result of his effectual working within them. The Greek preposition en (“in”), however, may also mean “by” or “among,” and this would allow for other possible meanings. Christ would be glorified by or among believers and also be marveled at among them. Or, Christ would be glorified in believers and marveled at among them. The apostle included the Thessalonians as participants in the blessings of Christ’s revelation by specifically mentioning them as suffering affliction (1:7) and then saying that “our testimony to you was believed.” (1:10) They had responded in faith to the message about God’s Son.

In view of all that the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ would mean for the Thessalonian believers, Paul always prayed that God would consider them worthy of the “calling” to be his people or his children and would fulfill “every good will of goodness and work of faith in power.” The expression “good will of goodness” could denote the will or desire to carry out what is good. It has been rendered “good purpose” (NAB, NIV, REB), “good resolve,” and “desires for goodness” (NJB). The “work of faith” would signify the activity or conduct that is a product of faith. If “in power” is specifically linked to “faith,” this would mean that the activity would be the result of the powerful working of faith. There is a possibility, however, that “in power” relates to divine action. The words could then be understood to mean that God, by his power, would fulfill every good purpose and work of faith or make it possible for the Thessalonians to carry out their noble desires and the activity motivated by faith. (1:11)

In his prayer for the Thessalonians, Paul’s desire was, as he said, that “the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the favor of our God and [the] Lord Jesus Christ.” The “name” denotes the person of the Son of God, and “in you” may be understood to mean by or among the Thessalonian believers. Because they were at one with Christ as members of his body, they would share in his glory, splendor, or grandeur and so would be glorified “in him.” The bringing of glory to Christ’s name and the sharing of the Thessalonian believers in his glory were made possible through the favor, unmerited kindness, or grace of God and of his Son. (1:12)

Note: In verse 2, manuscripts variously read “our Father and [the] Lord,” “Father and our Lord,” and “our Father and our Lord,” and “Father and Lord.”