Second Thessalonians might be only three chapters but don’t let its length fool you; it is full of hidden treasures just waiting for you to discover! But before you dive in to look for the gems, first get your feet wet with some introductory information that will help you appreciate even more the riches you are about to discover!
Author and Date
The author of 2nd Thessalonians is the Apostle Paul. Paul was born Saul in Tarsus, now modern-day Turkey, around 4 A.D., about the same time Jesus was born. Paul was a Pharisee and a religious zealot who persecuted Christians until Jesus appeared to him on the Road to Damascus. Jesus’ appearance so changed Paul that he became one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith. Paul wrote 13 of the 27 New Testament Books.
2nd Thessalonians is one of Paul’s earliest writings, thought to be written between A.D. 49 and 51 and within a few months after he wrote 1st Thessalonians while he was still in Corinth.
For more information on the Audience, Setting, Religion, and Background of 1st Thessalonians, see the overview for First Thessalonians here.
Jesus, in Matthew 24, warned His disciples that many things would happen before His return. In verse 21, He told them of a time when there would be great suffering.
“for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.”
As we discovered in 1st Thessalonians, the Thessalonians lived under severe persecution. Because of their persecution and false information (1 Thessalonians 2:2), they were concerned about the details of Christ’s return. Paul continues to give them details about the events surrounding His return in 2nd Thessalonians.
At some point, the Thessalonians were taught or told and then believed that Christ already returned and they had missed the lifeboat. As you can imagine, this was causing great distress to the Thessalonians. One of Paul’s primary purposes in writing this letter to the church in Thessalonica was to comfort the discouraged believers and reassure them that Christ had not yet returned. Another reason was to correct false teachings by reminding the Thessalonians what Paul had already taught them and explaining what would happen before Christ’s return.
Paul also used this letter to warn the Thessalonians against idleness and command and encourage them to “work quietly and to earn their own living.” (2nd Thessalonians 3:6). Apparently, some Thessalonians stopped working because of the misunderstanding surrounding Christ’s return.
2nd Thessalonians clarifies details around Christ’s Second Coming, including the judgment and punishment of the wicked, and the anti-christ. It also offers advice on what we are to be doing as we wait for Christ’s inevitable return. Enjoy!
Read 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 1