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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 3

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

2 Thessalonians 3:1

Finally -- Further more, For the rest, What remains is this; Paul comes to the last main section of his letter to them. The word he usually uses for his closing.

Brethren --

Pray for us -- Remarkable that Paul continually felt himself in nee of the prayers of others. Emphatic position in the Greek. Paul often solicited the prayers of the brethren in his epistles, 1 Thessalonians 5:25; Ephesians 6:19; the request at Colossians 4:2-3.

Word of the Lord -- Stressed the living, active and vital nature of the word of God.

Free course -- run swiftly, may speed ahead, spread rapidly. Not be hindered or slowed down; The idea seems to to have a race course that is free of obstacles and has the best traction and conditions for a speedy race.

Be glorified -- Recognition of admirable qualities; be honored; be glorified by its acceptance and obedience.

Even as -- with you -- The Thessalonians served as a wonderful example of the way the Word of God should be received.

Verse 2

2 Thessalonians 3:2

Delivered -- Awakens the Thessalonians that they are not the only ones who need encouragement and prayers. Paul seems to be referring to his particular problem he was meeting at Corinth, Acts 18:12-13.

Unreasonable and wicked -- Undoubted his refers to the violent and fanatical opponents whom Gallio drove from hs judgment seat in Corinth Acts 18:12-17. The Thessalonians themselves knew about this kind of men, Acts 17:5-9. Describes men who are corrupt in their principles and practices. "

The word [Greek word] which we translate unreasonable, signifies rather disorderly, unmanageable; persons out of their place - under no discipline, regardless of law and restraint, and ever acting agreeably to the disorderly and unreasonable impulse of their own minds." Adam Clark.

Faith -- trustworthy, "fidelity, or faithfulness is the usual sense of this word in the NT" (George Howard).

Verse 3

2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Lord is faithful -- A trustworthy God is more than a match for untrustworthy men.

Shall stablish you... by strengthening and protecting you.

And keep you from evil -- This genitive ending of the neuter (evil) and the masculine gender are the same, some translators considers it to be masculine, and translate it the evil one.

Keep -- Paul is fond of military terms, the term to guard, gives the picture of soldiers guarding their commander, or body guards to some official. Used in Luke 2:8, of the shepherd "keeping watch" over their flock by night, and in Acts 12:4 when four quaternions of solder are assigned to guarding Paul, and in Acts 23:35 where Paul is kept in for judgment by Felix. And in many other places.

Verse 4

2 Thessalonians 3:4

We -- Editorial "we."

Have confidence --

Lord touching you -- "Touched by the Lord" through the gospel. [TV series "Touched by an Angel"; Angel = messenger; Perhaps we are still today "touched" by God’s providence. Perhaps he sends/allows certain people to come into touch with you, to bring you blessings, or to allow you to minister to them.]

While this sounds good, and is somewhat refreshing to the soul, I really think that what it meant is that Paul is saying "we have confidence in the Lord concerning you," the "touching you" is not about "touch" but more about "regarding you" or "concerning you". Paul is saying that "we have confidence concerning your relationship to the Lord, that you are doing, and will continue to do the things that we command."

Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 3:5

Lord direct your hearts -- This seems to be in the form of a prayer, or Paul’s desire or wish for them.

Love of God -- ? 1)Is it God’s love for us, or our love for God; 2) is Paul talking about the Thessalonians patiently waiting for Christ, or is it Christ’s patience with us?

Our love for God, (Rom 8 is about God’s love for us.) cf. Romans 5:8, 2 Peter 3:9. Paul’s prayer for them is that their love for God will lead them to continue, to persevere, in patiently waiting for Christ’ return. (Problems here are whether to take the "love" and the "patience" as objective or subjective. )

Many, however, take this as God’s love for us, and thus, Paul is praying that they will remember God’s love for them, and that this will lead them to patiently waiting for Christ’s return. (The "subjective" sense.)

Patient waiting -- for His coming. (Or, that they will remember Christ’s patience with them?)

While we are foreigners to the Greek language and the culture of that day, and we have problems understanding the syntax of Paul’s words, it is most likely the Thessalonians would understand perfectly what Paul was getting at.)

Verse 6

2 Thessalonians 3:6


We command -- Paul, an apostle is the writer, and as such had the authority to write and direct this command.

In the name of -- Christ -- Paul makes it clear that his command carried the full weight and authority of Christ himself.

Withdraw yourselves -- Your company and fellowship; See v.14 for an explanation from Paul about what he meant.

From every brother ..

Walketh disorderly -- Marching out of rank.

Tradition -- Usually refers to oral teaching, here probably just a reference to the "teaching" from the apostles.

Received from us ..

Verse 7

2 Thessalonians 3:7

Yourselves know -- Because Paul had been with them and had taught them and served as an example.

How ye ought ..

Follow us -- Paul and company were examples. The Greek word is "mimic" but in a good sense. (Our word "mimic" has come to have a slight different meaning.) An example that is worthy of following or "imitating."

We behaved -- As at Corinth, Paul had work among them with his hands.

Not disorderly ..

Among you ..

Verse 8

2 Thessalonians 3:8

Neither did we eat -- Paul give a particular example in the way which he should be "imitated" or followed, he was not idle among them, but worked, he didn’t sponge off them while there.

Any man’s bread ..

For nought ..

Wrought with labour -- worked. Paul wold not be chargeable to the current people he was preaching to, but would receive something after their conversion, to preach at other places. cf. Philippians 4:15-16.

Labour and travail -- Paul didn’t say what he worked, but since Thessalonica was also a sea port, he probably worked at his trade of making tents, which trade some think included making sails. Acts 18:3.

Night and day ..

Chargeable to any -- Paul, as an apostle and one preaching the gospel full time, did have the right to be supported by the brethren. But both at Corinth and Thessalonica he worked with his hands to avoid any suspicion regarding his true motives in preaching the gospel.

See Coffman’s excursion "Concerning Work" (p.124) on how our government has tipped the scales to the advantage of the loafer and freeloader... He wrote that the slave states of communism who outwork us may in the end destroy and supersede us (because of the work ethic).

Verse 9

2 Thessalonians 3:9

Power -- right, privilege

Make ourselves an ensample -- "Example" = "tupos" or the word "type" (Not the same word as in v.7)

To follow us -- Follow = "mimic."

Verse 10

2 Thessalonians 3:10

When -- with you -- This was something Paul had touched upon while there at Thessalonica.

We commanded -- A stern injunction.

Any not work -- This seems to have been a universal proverb that Paul quotes, not just a Jewish proverb.

Neither -- eat ..

Adam Clarke says, "This is not an unjust maxim." The PC outlined it this way:

1. It injures the recipient. Idleness is a sin.

2. It injures the giver (God, etc)

3. I injures those who are truly needy. (A case of taking the children’s bread and giving it to the dogs.)

4. It injures the community. It destroys initiative, dimishes industry, and propagates the worst element in society.

This wisdom of God shines in this command.

Verse 11

2 Thessalonians 3:11

Some see the motive for idleness as an understanding that Christ’s return was imminent and there was no further need of work.

We hear ..

Walk among you disorderly --

Working not ..

Busybodies -- cf. Acts 17:5. Not seen in English, but in the Greek Paul is making a play on words. Words that are related to each other, spelled almost the same way, and come from the same root. A paranomasia, or play on words; "work" and "busybodies" being cognate; so it may be translated, "who have no business, and yet are busy with everybody’s business"

"Doing none of their own business, yet overdoing in the business of others." Busy about everyone’s business but their own. JFB

"These theological dead-beats were too pious to work, but perfectly willing to eat at the hands of their neighbors while they piddled and frittered away the time in idleness." RWP

Verse 12

2 Thessalonians 3:12

Them that are such ..

We command ...

and exhort -- Intreat, encourage,

By our Lord Jesus Christ -- The authority of Christ is behind’s Paul’s words.

That ..

With Quietness -- Leave off their meddling, and disorderliness. (Walk quietly in rank.)

They work ..

Eat their own bread -- Eat = live off of, earn. ESV is good here, "earn their own living."

Moffat analyzed the problem at Thessalonica this way:

1. the tension produced by the thought of the advent of Christ;

2. the disturbing effect of persecution, and

3. the irregularity and social disorganization in the community.

Verse 13

2 Thessalonians 3:13

Ye brethren --

Be not weary ..

In well doing --

Libscomb wrote: "Nothing discourages the giving to the needy like having the lazy and meddlesome seeking support."

Verse 14

2 Thessalonians 3:14

Further word on what was meant above by "withdraw yourselves."

If any man --

Obey not our word ...

By this epistles ..

Note that man ..

Have no company with him -- "It is all social intercourse, visitation, and companioning with offenders that must be ceased. Christians are not to mix with persons living in open rebellion against the teachings of the Lord. The purpose of such ostracism is to produce shame and repentance on the part of the offender..." Coffman.

That ..

He may be ashamed ..

Verse 15

2 Thessalonians 3:15

Count not as an enemy ..

Admonish ...

As a brother -- Kelcy said, "This shows that Paul did not expect the faithful Christians to refuse to have any sort of contact with he disorderly."

Verse 16

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Lord of peace ..

Give you peace -- "Peace to be understood in the widest sense, peace with God, complete salvation."

By all means -- "All times ... all ways ... and all the Christians."

Lord be with you --

Verse 17

2 Thessalonians 3:17

Salutation of Paul --

With mine own hand ..

Token in every epistle -- Paul declares that all of his epistles were similarly authenticated. It is seems that the usual Pauline "grace and peace" at the end of his writings were always written by himself, whether so stated in the letter or not.

So I write ..

Verse 18

2 Thessalonians 3:18

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ -- The ending of 2Thee is like the ending of 1Thess with the addition of the word "all".

With you all ..

Amen --

[KJV footnote "The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens." ] A more careful study shows that this epistle was probably written from Corinth.

2Thess. Lessons for us Today

1) Be thankful for growth of faith and love, 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5

2) Rem that God will take vengeance, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, Romans 12:17-20

3) Don’t be quickly shaken by erroneous teaching about the Lord’s second coming. ch. 2

4) Those hardened against Christ will find it easy to believe a lie, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

5) Be thankful for the salvation God has revealed to us, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.

6) Pray for missionaries, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3.

7) Keep from those who walk disorderly, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15.

8) Labor honestly for our livelihood, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-thessalonians-3.html. 2021.
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