1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
The Judgment at Christ’s Coming
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Tone and text are sometimes hard to differentiate. We receive a text or email that comes across saying one thing and we read into it a completely different way. There are times it feels abrasive or misleading. There are times more confusion can come from it. Then we have the armchair opinions found on Facebook regularly.
It is so much easier for people to be hateful or spout an opinion in harsh wording as the only thing facing them is a screen. Had someone been sitting directly in front of them, words would have possibly been measured differently, clarification could have happened and possibly a lot of misunderstanding would not have happened. Real-time conversations are always better but as we know not always feasible due to circumstances.
In Paul’s second letter to Thessaloniki, he writes to clear up some misunderstandings of what he had written in the first. Paul had written earlier for them to grow in their faith and send massive amounts of encouragement their way to stand strong. In this, Paul spoke of Christ’s return and to keep that motivation for their focus.
Here’s where the breakdown happened. They interpreted Jesus was coming at any moment from what Paul wrote and some decided to simply stop and wait for it. Making matters worse the persecution was growing against Believers. The people felt this was a sign of it being “The Day of the Lord” and read into what Paul said as it was soon to be over.
Paul hits it head-on as he speaks toward them persevering through the trials they face and leads directly into Jesus’ return. He is quick to dispel the rumors that are affecting their behavior to simply wait for Him coming back. He reminds them they must stand firm and continue the work Christ has set before them.
Some 2000 years later we all wait for Jesus’ return. But until that time there is work for each of us to accomplish. The reality is He is coming back – but until that time we each have a role in living for Christ, making a difference that ‘none would be lost’. Our mission must be faced each and every day as we muddle through what seems to be life. Expect His return. It is coming. Encourage the timid, strengthen the weak, live in expectation. Fulfill your calling.
2 Thessalonians 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Paul knew that the Thessalonian church was enduring suffering, and he wanted to continue to encourage them in their suffering. This is what we read in verses 4-5.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 NASB therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.
Paul affirms the believers that this righteous judgment is something to be celebrated. These believers were not complaining at every little trial that came their way. They were continuing to persevere and grow despite the afflictions they were facing.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul told them this suffering was to be expected (1 Th. 3:3) and continues that theme here by stating that they were being made worthy of their calling to His kingdom by glorifying Him in suffering (2 Th. 1:12).
This was evidence that the church in Thessalonica was becoming stronger. Paul’s letter, though, is so foreign to today’s culture. Notice that he doesn’t even say he’s sorry. He seems genuinely pleased that they are enduring suffering and persevering through it. Many of us would expect something like, “I’m so sorry you are dealing with so much suffering. I will pray that God will take it away.”
Paul doesn’t write that.
He only states that relief will come when the Lord returns, which is why we should continue to move forward. I find this fascinating, as a lot of times my prayers and counsel focus on getting out of suffering instead of finding joy in them.
To further make that point, the suffering Paul is talking about here is far greater than what we experience on a daily basis here in America. I’m not minimizing our struggle, because I think it is very real, but it is also very different.
What would our church be like if we were excited that the Lord was taking others through trials? What would it look like to thank God for our suffering? It seems like a crazy thought – but is it really that crazy when we read Paul’s letters? What would Paul say to the Warehouse or your church if he were to write a letter to us today? Would he be pleased with the perseverance and patient endurance?
Take a moment and consider how you are responding to your suffering. Consider Paul’s words to the Thessalonian church. Consider that a trial is a deeply intimate and spiritual journey toward joy and maturity in the Lord. If we view suffering as a hindrance in every instance, it is difficult to experience the spiritual maturity found in so many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ we read about in Scripture.