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2nd Thessalonians
Comfort and Correction

Persecutions, the Day of the Lord, Exhortations.

Background: Paul again writes to the Thessalonian church from Corinth around 51 AD
Theme: Paul gives the Thessalonians both comfort and correction
Outline: Persecutions, the Day of the Lord and Exhortations
Key Verse: "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming." (II Th 2:7-8, NIV)

Second Thessalonians Chapter Index




These notes use and refer to the Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol 2, New Testament).

I. Salutation (1:1-2)

II. Commendation for Past Progress (1:3-12)

1:5 "Counted worthy of the kingdom of God." BKC states "The kingdom of God refers to God’s rule over all, which Christians share as His children." They will be counted worthy at the revelation (coming) of Christ. This being so, does the verse refer to the kingdom as the present rule of Christ (as implied by BKC), or to the coming Millennial Kingdom? In what sense do we share in God’s rule over all today? Perhaps in the sense that we serve God. It seems preferable to consider this as a reference to the coming Millennial Kingdom. where those worthy will be given positions of responsibility.

III. Correction of Present Error (2:1-12)

2:2 BKC: "It is clear that Paul had taught them a pre-tribulational rapture." This is not at all clear to me! I do see how the verses can be interpreted in that light, but I also see how they can be interpreted in a post-tribulational or other premillennial view of the end times.

2:7 BKC: I am of the view that human government does restrict sin to some degree. Admittedly, some governments encourage sin to some extent, but government does bring law and order to society. It is quite possible that legitimate government will collapse or be superseded by an illegitimate government in the Tribulation.

2:7 BKC: Mr. Constable seems to imply that those converted during the Tribulation will not be indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and will have no preserving influence on society at all. We do see that a great multitude of believers will come out of that period.

2:12 BKC: The separation of those who ‘knowingly reject’ the gospel (having heard and understood it) from other sinners is, in my opinion, unjustified. According to Romans 1:18, God has revealed himself to all mankind and they choose to suppress this knowledge.

IV. Thanksgiving and Prayer (2:13-17)

2:15 BKC: Mr. Constable refers here to the "imminent return of Jesus Christ." This is being read into the passage here. It implies that Jesus could return at any moment, without any predicted signs occurring first (such as a proclamation of the Gospel throughout the world). I disagree.

V. Exhortations for Future Growth (3:1-15)

3:1 Application of this verse: If we want our local church to be effective in reaching the local community, a top priority is to pray for God to prepare the hearts of people in our community. It is not our program that will effect change; it is God who will prepare hearts and bless His message.

3:2 We cannot forget that there are many enemies of the gospel in our world. In many countries (China, Malaysia, Sudan, ...) they have political control and frustrate efforts of missionaries.

VI. Conclusion (3:16-18)


New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney : Highly recommend this book for a good background to the life of Jesus and the New Testament. The first half covers background, what the world was like under Roman rule and what the conditions of the Jews were. The second half gives background, outline, and introductions to each of the New Testament books (including Acts).

Bible Background Commentary (New Testament) by Craig S. Keener : Printed by InterVarsity Press, this is an excellent one-volume resource for understanding the customs and background (history, language, and geography) behind the verses of the New Testament. It is not an interpretation of the New Testament as are most commentaries, its purpose is to give background information. I highly recommend this to the serious student of Scripture, who already has a good grasp of the meaning and application of the New Testament.

Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament, Volume II) by the Staff of Dallas Theological Seminary : Admittedly a 'dispensational' interpretation, meaning that the authors take the book of Revelation very literally and teach that Jesus will take the Church out of the world before the 'Tribulation Period'. Although I do not agree totally with their opinions, I have found this to be a fair commentary, also explaining the views of others which the authors do not hold. If you use my notes you will receive some insight as to where the points of disagreement are. Highly recommended as the best short commentary on the market. I am easily in agreement with 98% of what this commentary teaches, and who knows if I am right about the other 2%??

Updated March 2012
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