Background: Shortly after Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he heard of some additional problems that had arisen among them that he needed to address. They were still experiencing persecution for their faith, and so he writes in this letter to encourage them to persevere in their afflictions, reminding them that the day of the Lord is coming when He will “repay with affliction those who afflict you” and “give relief to you who are afflicted” (2Th 1:6-7). Also, some were deceived, perhaps even by a forged letter purported to be from Paul, that the day of the Lord had already happened (see 2Th 2:2). This would have been a great discouragement to the new believers so as to undermine their faith in Christ. Thus Paul writes in this letter to let them know that the day of the Lord had not come, and reminds them of what events must first precede that day. Paul had also heard that some of the Thessalonians were leading an unruly life and acting in an undisciplined manner by not working, perhaps in light of their misunderstandings about Christ’s return. He therefore wrote to also address this problem.
2Th 1:1 Who wrote this letter? From where was it written? See notes on 1 Thess. What does it mean that the church is “in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”? See Rom 8:1, 16:7, 2 Cor 5:17, etc…. What is the significance of calling Jesus Christ Lord? See Mat 7:21-23, Luke 6:46. Who was the “Lord” of the Roman Empire?
2Th 1:2 Note: “Grace to you and peace” is the standard Christian greeting in the New Testament. See Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4; Phlm 1:3; 1 Pet 1:2; 2 Pet 1:2; 2 Jn 1:3; Rev 1:4. What is the great importance of grace and peace to Christianity in general and to a Christian personally?
2Th 1:3 For what two reasons did Paul feel obligated to continually (implied by the Greek tense used) give thanks for the Thessalonians? What is the great importance of faith and love to Christianity in general and to a Christian personally? See Gal 5:6, Eph 1:15, 3:17, 6:23, Col 1:4, 1 Thess 1:2-3, 3:6, 5:8, 1 Tim 1:14, 2:15, 2 Tim 1:13, 2:22. Is there a connection between the faith and love he speaks of here, and the grace and peace of 2Th 1:2? See Eph 2:8, 1 Thess 5:13. Note: “your faith is greatly enlarged” means “your faith grows exceedingly”. What was the nature of the Thessalonians’ great faith? See 2Th 1:4. Notice once again the emphasis Paul places upon love for the new Thessalonian believers. Confer 1 Thess 3:12, 4:9-10.
2Th 1:4 Paul boasted of the Thessalonians’ steadfastness and faith in the midst of persecution to the Corinthians; later he would boast of the Corinthians’ readiness to give to the Macedonians (see 2 Cor 9:2). What does this teach us about how to apply Heb 10:24? How had Paul prepared the Thessalonians to stand firm in the midst of their persecution? See 1 Thess 3:4. Are we prepared to stand firm when faced with persecution? See 2 Tim 3:12.
2Th 1:5 What is the “plain indication” (evidence, NIV, manifest token, KJV, i.e., proof) of God’s righteous judgment? See Phil 1:27-30, esp. Phil 1:28. Hint: what proof also indicated that the Thessalonians were worthy of the kingdom of God? Note: By patient endurance in the midst of affliction and suffering a Christian proves God’s judgment that shall befall the wicked is just and right, for by not retaliating (see 1 Thess 5:15) it is manifestly plain that the wicked have received no recompense for their evil here and must receive it from God in the day of judgment. How does such patient endurance also indicate that one is worthy of the kingdom of God? See 1 Pet 2:19-23. See also Eph 4:1-2.
2Th 1:6-7 What is the righteous judgment of God spoken of in vs. 5? See Luke 16:25, Rev 6:10, 11:18. What does Paul mean by “and to us as well”? See 2Th 3:1-2, Acts 18:5-6,9-10,12-13. When does 2Th 1:7 say that the righteous judgment of God shall take place? See Luke 17:30 and context. Who is with Jesus at His revelation from heaven? See Mat 16:27, 25:31, Mark 8:38. How is Jesus revealed from heaven, and what is its significance? See Is 66:15, Mat 13:40-43, 1 Cor 3:13, Heb 10:27, 2 Pet 3:7.
2Th 1:8 To what two classes of people will Jesus deal out retribution or vengeance in that day? See 1 Thess 4:5, Rom 2:4-8. How is this a warning to us?
2Th 1:9 Note: “penalty” = “punishment”, as in Jude 1:7. What penalty or punishment shall those who do not know God or do not obey the gospel suffer? Does “eternal destruction” mean annihilation? What does it mean? See Ps 51:11, Mat 7:23, 22:13, Luke 13:27.
2Th 1:10 What does this verse and the preceding ones teach us about the two-fold nature of the day of the Lord? See 1 Thess 4:13-5:4. In what way shall the Lord be glorified in His saints on that day? See 2Th 1:11-12, Is 60:21.
2Th 1:11 Why is it important for a Christian to be counted worthy of his calling? See Mat 22:14. What makes one worthy of his calling? See 2:13-14, Eph 4:1-3, 1 Pet 1:14-16, 2 Pet 1:10-11, Rev 3:4. Who makes one worthy? See 1 Thess 5:24, 1 Cor 1:8-9, Phil 1:6, 2 Pet 1:3-4. What makes one not worthy? See Mat 10:37-38, 22:2-8, Acts 13:46. Is it enough to have a desire for goodness or to just begin a work of faith?
2Th 1:12 How is the Lord glorified in us? See 2Th 1:11, Jn 15:8. How are we glorified in Him? See 2:13,14, 2 Cor 3:18, 1 Thess 2:12. What is the connection between patient endurance in the midst of suffering and affliction (vs. 4), being counted worthy (2Th 1:5 and 11) and being glorified in Christ Jesus (vs. 12)? See Luke 24:26, Rom 8:17-18, 1 Pet 4:12-14. Are we able to glorify or be glorified in our own power?