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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

2 Thessalonians 3

Verses 1-99

V. FINALLY (3:1-5)

This section, as τὸ λοιπό and

1. τὸ λοιπό. Though τὸ λοιπό, like λοιπό (I 4:1 and GF here), is often found at the end of a letter intimating that it is drawing to a close (2 Corinthians 13:11; contrast 1 Corinthians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 4:2, 1 Corinthians 7:29), yet it does not of necessity imply that “what remains to be said” is of secondary importance, as the instances in the other Macedonian letters demonstrate (I 4:1, Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:8). In fact, just as I 4:1-2 paves the way for the important exhortations in I 4:3-5:22 (which are placed, like vv. 1-15 here, between two prayers, αὐτὸς δε I 3:11-13, 5:23 and II 2:16-17, 3:16) so vv. 1-5, introduced as I 4:1-2 by (το) λοιπό and the affectionate

προσεύχεσθε κτλ. This appeal for the prayers of the readers is characteristic of Paul (1:11, I 5:25, Romans 15:30 f. Colossians 4:2, Colossians 4:18, Philemon 1:22; also 2 Corinthians 1:11, Philippians 1:19); it is inspired here by the circumstances in which he is writing, namely, as καὶ πάσχετ (1:4) has already intimated, by persecutions, and that too at the instigation of Jews, as οὐ γὰρ πάντωνπίστι in the light of I 2:15-16 suggests, and as the typical instances narrated in Acts (18:5 ff.) corroborate. This appeal for sympathy is intended not to remind the readers that they are not the only victims of Jewish opposition, but, as the tacit praise of their faith (καθὼς καὶ πρὸς ὑμᾶ) suggests, to stir up within them such love for him that they will obey with alacrity the command which he is about to give (vv. 6-15).

ἵναλόγος τοῦ κυρίου κτλ. The prayer requested is not so much for Paul and his companions personally (περὶ ἡμῶ) as for them as preachers of the gospel (2:14) and as sufferers in the common cause of the kingdom of God (1:4). Hence the object of the prayer (ἵν being here not, as in 1:11, of the purpose, but of the object as in Philippians 1:9, Colossians 1:9; cf. v. 12 below and I 4:1, 2 Corinthians 8:6) is both (1) that the word of the Lord (I 1:8) may run its race unhindered by the weight of opposition, and be crowned with glory; and (2) that the missionaries of the gospel of Christ may be delivered from those well-known unrighteous and evil men. In each of the clauses with ἵν there is an additional remark (a) in reference to the faith of the readers, καθὼς καὶ πρὸς ὑμᾶ; and (b) in reference to the adversaries common to Paul and the readers, the Jews whose hearts are hardened, οὐ γὰρ πάντωνπίστι

On Paul’s prayers and requests for prayer, see especially E. von der Goltz, Das Gebet in der ältesten Christenheit, 1901, 112 ff. The language here (προσεύχεσθε Hebrews 13:18) and is quite Pauline (Colossians 4:2); but the phrase as a whole reminds one of I 5:25 2 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:8), we should expect it to precede (as GF, et al.) not to follow (אBA, et al.) προσεύχεσθ (cf. DE, et al., which put Philippians 4:21 and πληρώσατ Philippians 2:2) with which Paul replies may perhaps be rendered: “Keep on praying as you are, brethren, for us.”

τρέχκαὶ δοξάζητα. “That the word of the Lord may run and be glorified.” This, the first object of the prayer, expressed in a collocation (τρέχειν καὶ δοξάζεσθα) which is not found elsewhere in the Gk. Bib., is to the general effect that the gospel of Christ “may have a triumphant career” (Lft.). The word τρέχει (used absolutely here as elsewhere in Paul) is, in the light of 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff. (cf. Romans 9:16, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5:7, Philippians 2:16), probably a metaphor derived from the races in the stadium. The word of the Lord is ὁ τρέχω (Romans 9:16), competing for the βραβεῖο (1 Corinthians 9:24) or στέφανο (I 2:19, 1 Corinthians 9:25), that is, for the acceptance of the gospel as the power of God unto salvation. But to indicate the victory of the runner, Paul adds, not, as we should expect, στεφανῶτα (cf. 2 Timothy 2:5), or λαμβάνστέφανο (1 Corinthians 9:25), but, with a turn to the religious, δοξάζητα “be glorified,” that is, “crowned with glory” (compare the kingly crown in Psalms 8:6, Hebrews 2:7, Hebrews 2:9). But while the general point of the metaphor is clear, the exact force of it is uncertain. In the light of v. 2, however, it is probable that τρέχῃ means not “to fulfil its course swiftly (Psalms 147:4 ἕως τάχου) and without hindrance” (so Riggenbach and many others); not “to run, that is, unhindered, and make its way quickly through the world” (Dob., who notes the hope expressed in Mark 13:10, Matthew 24:14); but to run its race unencumbered by obstacles (not self-imposed (cf. Hebrews 12:1) but) superimposed by adversaries, in this context, the Jews (cf. Theodoret

In view of the unique collocation, τρέχειν καὶ δοξάζεσθα, and of Paul’s fondness for metaphors from the race-course, it is unnecessary to see here a literary allusion either to “the faithful and expeditious messenger” (Briggs) of Psalms 147:4, or to Psalms 18:5 ὡς γίγας δραμεῖν ὁδόν αὐτου where “the path of the sun in the heavens is conceived as a race-course” (Briggs), or to Isaiah 55:11. In this phrase, evidently coined by Paul, the present tenses (contrast in v. 2 ῥυσθῶμε) regard the race and victory as in constant progress. Each person or group of persons is constantly recognising the gospel at its true worth and welcoming it as the word not of man but of God. The transition to the complimentary καθώς κτλ is thus easily made.—On ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίο, see I 1:8 where א has τοῦ θεου (cf. I 2:13) as do GFP, et al., here. On δοξάζεσθα, see 1:10, 12.


καθὼς καὶ πρὸς ὑμᾶ. “As it is running and is being glorified with you”; or succinctly, “as it does in your case.” The praise implied in the prayer that the gospel may succeed with all as it succeeds with the readers is designed probably as an incentive not to their prayers for him but to their obedience to the command in mind (v. 6). Sympathy for Paul is to create a willing compliance; if they love him, they will keep his commands. πρό (I 3:4) is to be construed with both τρέχῃ and δοξάζητα

2. καὶ ἵνα ῥυσθῶμε. The ἵν (parallel to ἵν in v. 1) introduces the second object of προσεύχεσθ: “that we may be delivered.” The aorist (contrast the present tenses in v. 1) regards the action of deliverance simply as an event in the past without reference to progress. As in 2 Corinthians 1:11 where the prayer requested is for deliverance (ῥύεσθα) from the danger of death, and as in Romans 15:30 ff. where it is for deliverance from those that are disobedient in Judæa (ἵνα ῥυσθῶ

τῶν Romans 15:31) and well known to the readers. That persecutions in Corinth are here referred to is likewise suggested by καὶ πάσχετ in 1:4; and that the Jews are the instigators of persecution is the natural inference both from οὐ γὰρ πάντωνπίστι when compared with I 2:15-16, and from the typical instances recorded in Acts 18:5 ff.

οὐ γὰρ πάντωνπίστι. “For not for all is the faith”; “it is not everybody who is attracted by the faith” (Rutherford). “The faith” (Galatians 1:23) is not “the word of the Lord” (v. 1), “the truth” (2:10, 12), or “the gospel” (cf. 2:14), but the faith which the gospel demands, the faith without which the gospel is not effective as the power of God unto salvation. The γά explains not the prayer for deliverance, as if “only deliverance from them is to be requested since their conversion is hopeless” (Schmiedel), but the reason why those unrighteous and evil men exist. The explanation is set forth not in terms of historical fact, “for not all have believed” (cf. Romans 10:16 οὐ πάντες ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ), but in terms of a general principle based on observation (ἐστί), which GF, et al., read, is to be supplied here as often elsewhere in Paul), “for not for all is the faith” (πάντω being either an objective or a possessive genitive; cf. Acts 1:7, 2 Corinthians 2:3 Hebrews 5:14). In view of the fact that under similar circumstances Paul had expressed himself similarly as regards the conversion of the Jews (I 2:15-16) it is quite likely that here too, in spite of πάντω, he has in mind the obstinacy of the Jews. It was their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah that raised a serious problem not only for Paul (Rom. 9-11) but for others (Mark 4:10-12, Acts 28:26 ff., John 12:37 ff.). Here, however, the mystery alone, not its solution, is stated.

ἄτοπο is used of persons only here in the Gk. Bib.; elsewhere, chiefly in Lk. Acts, Job, it is neuter; e. g. πράσσειν ἄτοπ (Job 27:6, Job 36:21) or ἄτοπο (Pr. 24:55, Proverbs 24:2 Mac. 14:23; cf. Luke 23:41) and ποιεῖν ἄτοπ (Job 34:12; cf. Polyc. Phil. 5:3). “From its original meaning ‘out of place,’ unbecoming,’ ἄτοπο came in late Greek to be used ethically = ‘improper,’ ‘unrighteous’; and it is in this sense that, with the exception of Acts 28:6, it is always used in the Lxx and N. T.” (Milligan, Greek Papyri, 72). For other instances of the word, see Wetstein and Loesner, ad loc., and on Luke 23:41, and the former on Acts 28:6. The prevailing ethical meaning makes unlikely the rendering “unbelieving” which the context might suggest (cf. I 2:16 θεῷ μὴ Job 36:21 both ἄδικ, and ἄνομ are noted as variants of ἄτοπ—On πονηρό see I 5:22; D in Luke 23:41 reads πονηρό for ἄτοπο On ῥύεσθαι Isaiah 25:4: Psalms 139:1 would serve as well: ἐξελοῦ με κύριε ἐξ Isaiah 9:17 πάντες ἄνομοι καὶ πονηροι However this may be, it is evident both that Paul read the Lxx and that the collocation ἄτοπος καὶ πονηρό is not found elsewhere in the Gk. Bib.

3. πιστος δέ ἐστινκύριος κτλ. “The Lord (Christ) is really (2:4) faithful (cf. Romans 3:3), and as faithful will surely strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” Prompted it may be by a passage in their letter to him saying that some of the converts, probably the idlers, were disposed to excuse their conduct on the ground that the Tempter was too strong for them, and being “more anxious about others than about himself” (Calvin), Paul turns somewhat abruptly (δε) from the situation in Corinth and his own trials to the similar situation, so far as persecution is concerned (1:4), in Thessalonica, and the moral dangers to which the devil exposed the readers (ὑμᾶ, not ἡμᾶ which Bentley and Baljon conjecture). With πιστό, here naturally suggested by πίστι (v. 2), and with an emphatic ἐστί (which is unexpected in the phrase πιστὸςθεό or κύριο), Paul reminds them that Christ is really to be depended on to give them strength sufficient to resist the enticement of the devil. Paul assures them not that they will be delivered from persecution (cf. I 3:4) but rather that they will be strengthened both in faith (I 3:2) and conduct (I 3:13, II 2:17), and thus be shielded from the power of Satan (I 2:18, II 2:9), that is, from the ethical aberrations, perhaps specifically the idleness and meddlesomeness to which the Tempter (I 3:2), by means of persecution, entices some of them. The similarity of 1 Corinthians 10:13 has not escaped Calvin’s notice: There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear; πιστὸς δὲθεό, ὃς οὐκ ἐάσει κτλ

The usual phrase in Paul is not πιστὸς δέ ἐστινκύριο but simply πιστὸςθεό (1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 1:10:13, 2 Corinthians 1:18; cf. I 5:24). The change from θεό to κύριο = Christ (v. 5) is in keeping with the tendency of II already mentioned (v. 2:13). In fact, the frequency of ὁ κύριο in vv. 1-5 (four-times) has an interesting parallel in another Macedonian letter, Philippians 4:1-5 (where ὁ κύριο occurs four times). The unexpected ἐστί (G, et al., omit, conforming to Paul’s usage), which emphasises the reality of the faithfulness of Christ, may be due simply to the contrast with the faithlessness of the Jews; or it may intimate, as said, that in a letter to Paul the converts, perhaps specifically not the faint-hearted (2:17) but the idle brothers, had expressed the feeling that the evil one was too strong for them, thus accounting for their yielding to temptation. Paul’s reply, emphasising the faithfulness of Christ who is stronger than the devil, serves both as a reminder that persecutions are not an excuse for idleness and as an incentive to do what Paul is about to command (vv. 3-4, 6-15).—ὁ κύριο stands in victorious antithesis to ὁ πονηρό; for, although grammatically τοῦ πονηρου may be either masculine (Ephesians 6:16) or neuter (Romans 12:9), yet the masculine, in view not only of I 2:18, 3:5, II 2:9 but also of Paul’s conception in general of the evil world (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15), is the more probable gender (so Calv. and most modern expositors). For supposed allusions in this passage to the Lord’s Prayer, see on the one side Lft. and Chase (The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church, 1891), and on the other Dibelius, ad loc.—On στηρίζει, see I 3:2. Elsewhere in the N. T. the future is στηρίξε (as אADP, et al., here); in the Lxx it is regularly στηριω The reading of B (στηρίσε) has a parallel in Jeremiah 17:5; that of GF (τηρήσε) is due either to a previous στηρήσε (cf. B in Sir. 38:34) or to an approximation to φυλάξε (Dob.); cf. Sir. 4:20 συντήρησον καιρὸν καὶ φύλαξαι Galatians 6:13, Romans 2:26 (used in reference to the law). On the construction here, cf. Psalms 120:7. The collocation στηρίζει and φυλάσσει is without a parallel in Gk. Bib.

4. πεποίθαμεν δέ κτλ. With δε again, introducing a new point, and with the Pauline phrase πεποίθαμεν ἐν κυρίῳ (Galatians 5:10, Philippians 2:24, Romans 14:14, but not in I), Paul, who is still intent on gaining the willing obedience of the converts, avows with tact his faith that what he commands they will do as they are doing. This confidence is defined as inspired by the indwelling Christ (ἐν κυρίῳ), and as directed to the readers (ἐφʼ ὑμᾶ; cf. 2 Corinthians 2:3; also εἰς ὑμᾶ Galatians 5:10). The insertion of ποιεῖτ (cf. I 5:11) tactfully prepares for ποιήσετ, as καθὼς καὶ περιπατεῖτ (I 4:1) prepares for περισσεύητε μᾶλλο (I 4:1). Though the words are general, “what (that is, quae not quaecumque) we command, both you are doing and will continue to do” (the future being progressive; BMT 60), yet it is natural in view both of παραγγέλλομε (cf. vv. 6, 12) and ποιήσετ to find a specific reference, namely, not to the faint-hearted (as if vv. 4-5 were a doublet of 2:15-17), and not to the request for prayer (vv. 1-2 Lft.), but to the command in vv. 6-15 (Calvin).

The underlying connection between v. 4 and v. 3 is not evident. In deed, πεποίθαμε is less obviously dictated by πιστό than πιστό is by πίστι The connecting idea may be that since Christ is really faithful and will surely protect the readers from the wiles of the devil, Paul may dare to express his faith in them, prompted by Christ, that they (probably the idlers) will no longer seek to excuse their idleness but will be willing, as they are able (v. 3), to do what he commands. Or it may be that v. 4 is suggested by something else said in the letter to Paul. In any case, v. 4 prepares for vv. 6-15, as most admit (Lün. Riggenbach, Ell., Wohl., Mill., et al.; so Find. who, however, refers ποιεῖτ to vv. 1-2).—πείθει is characteristic of Paul, though the word is not confined to his writings; the perfect tense here denotes the existing state, “I am confident.” The specifically Pauline ἐν κυρίῳ (see I 3:8) does not always appear in this phrase (πέποιθα ἐπι or εἰ). While v. 3 hints that the readers are “in the Lord,” the position of ἐφʼ ὑμᾶ intimates only that Paul is in the Lord, the one who inspires his confidence in the converts; contrast Galatians 5:10, πέποιθα εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ πείθει is construed with ἐφʼ ὑμᾶ (2 Corinthians 2:3, Matthew 27:43 and often in Lxx), with εἰ (Galatians 5:16 Sap. 16:24) with ἐ (Philippians 3:3), and with ἐπι and dative (2 Corinthians 1:9, etc.).—The expected ὑμῖ after παραγγέλλομε (I 4:11; cf. below, vv. 6, 10) is inserted by AGFKLP, et al.; but אBD, et al., omit. On ὅτ, cf. Galatians 5:10, Philippians 2:24, 2 Corinthians 2:3, etc.; on παραγγέλλει, see I 4:2.—καὶ ποιεῖτε καὶ ποιήσετ is read by P and Vulg and (without the first και) by אAD; GF have καὶ ἐποιήσατε καὶ ποιεῖτ; B alone is comprehensive with καὶ ἐποιήσατε καὶ ποιεῖτε καὶ ποιήσετ Either B is original with its unexpected aorist after the present παραγγέλλομε, or the seat of the trouble is the itacism ποιήσατ which D preserves.


5. ὁ δὲ κύριος κτλ. The new point, introduced by δε, is slightly adversative. Although Paul has confidence in the Lord that they will do what he commands (v. 5 looks not to ποιεῖτ but to ποιήσετ), yet he is certain that the help of the Lord is indispensable to incline their hearts to keep his command. What they need especially is a sense of God’s love to them and a reminder that Christ can give them an endurance adequate to face the persecutions. Hence the prayer: “May the Lord ( = Christ) direct (I 3:11) your hearts (I 3:13, II 2:17) unto the love of God and the endurance of Christ.”

In Paul, ἡ Romans 5:5, Romans 5:8:39, 2 Corinthians 13:13) means not our love to God but God’s love to us, the thought here being that their inner life may be directed to a sense of the divine love (see SH on Romans 5:5). With an appreciation of the meaning of God’s love, there would be no temptation to infringe upon φιλαδελφί by the continuance of idle habits (cf. I 4:9-12).—Since elsewhere in Paul ὑπομονη = “endurance,” the rendering Patientem exspectationem (Beza), “patient waiting” (AV), which demands the objective genitive, is here improbable (see Vincent); see, however, Lft., Schmiedel, and Deb. and compare Ign. Romans 10:3, ἐν ὑπομονῇ Ἰησοῦ Χριστου, an expression which is “probably derived from St. Paul” (Lft.). Taking ὑπομονη = “endurance,” Χριστου; may mean either the endurance which Christ possesses and shares (cf. δόξα τοῦ κυρίο in 2:14), or which is characteristic of him, and hence an object of imitation as in Polyc. Phil. 8:2; or it may mean the endurance which Christ inspires, as ὁ θεὸς τῆς ὑπομονῆ (Romans 15:5) suggests (cf. Moff.).—ὁ Χριστό is not found elsewhere in II; cf., however, I 2:6, 3:2, 4:16, and see Mill. 136. The total phrase ἡ ὑπομονὴ τοῦ Χριστου appears to be found only here in the Gk. Bib.—The phrase κατευθύνει (or εὐθύνει) τᾶς καρδία (or τὴν καρδία) occurs frequently in the Lxx (1 Chronicles 29:18, 2 Chronicles 12:14, 2 Chronicles 19:3, 2 Chronicles 20:33, Proverbs 21:2, etc.); on εἰ (cf. πρό in I 3:11), see Sir. 51:20, Judith 12:8. DE, Vulg have τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶ (I 2:4); but ὑμῶ referring to ἐφʼ ὑμᾶ in v. 4 is emphatic (B. Weiss).




VI. COMMAND AND EXHORTATION (3:6-15)

This section contains the second main point of the letter, prepared for in vv. 1-5, “the case of the idlers” (Find.). Word has come to Paul (v. 11) orally and by letter to the effect that the idle minority, in spite of his oral (v. 10, I 4:11) and written (I 4:11-12, 5:14) instructions are still begging and meddlesome, some of them still refusing to obey his epistolary injunctions (I 5:27 and below, v. 14). The case having become acute, Paul orders the majority to take severer measures against the idle minority, to add to νουθετεῖ (v. 15, I 5:14), στέλλεσθα (v. 6) and μὴ συναναμίγνυσθα (v. 14). Insisting, however, that the delinquents are brothers (vv. 6, 15), and surmising that the majority have not always dealt tactfully with the excited idlers (vv. 13, 15), Paul is careful to explain just why he gives the command (vv. 7-12) and to have it understood that the discipline, being intended for reformation, is to be administered in love (vv. 14-15). In fact, his attitude throughout is not that of an apostle exercising his apostolic authority but that of a brother appealing to brothers in the name of a common authority, the Lord Jesus Christ. He believes that his word will suffice; but he contemplates the probability that a few of the idlers will persist in being recalcitrant.

The connection of thought is clear, the divisions being marked by δε (vv. 6, 12, 13, 14) and γά (vv. 7, 10, 11). Though the brethren as a whole are addressed throughout the section (even in v. 12), it is really the majority whom Paul has in mind and upon whom he places the responsibility for the peace of the brotherhood.

6Now we command you, brothers, using the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother who walks in idleness and not in accordance with the instruction which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we were not idle among you, nor did we receive the means of support from any one without paying for it; 8but in toil and hardship, night and day we kept at our work in order that we might not put on any of you the burden of our maintenance.—9not because we have no right to free support, but that we might give in ourselves an examplep for you to imitate. 10For also, when we were with you, this we used to command you: “If any one refuses to work, neither let him eat.” 11For we are informed that some among you are walking in idleness, not working themselves but being busybodies. 12Now such as these we command and exhort, prompted by the Lord Jesus Christ, that with tranquillity of mind they work and earn their own living. 13Now as for you, brothers, do not grow tired of doing the right thing. 14In case, however, any one is not for obeying our word expressed in this letter, designate that man; let there be no intimate association with him; in order that he may be put to shame; 15and so count him not as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

6. παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν κτλ. With a particle of transition (δε), the point prepared for in vv. 1-5 (especially παραγγέλλομε and ποιήσετ v. 4) is introduced, the responsibility of the majority in reference to the case of the idlers. The command (I 4:11 and 4:2) is addressed by a brother to brothers, and is based on the authority not of Paul but of Christ. The phrase “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” differs from “in the Lord Jesus Christ” (with which the idlers are indirectly commanded and exhorted in v. 12), and from “through the Lord Jesus” (I 4:2), in that it is not subjective “prompted by the indwelling name or person of the Lord Jesus Christ,” but objective, “with,” that is, “using” that name. By the actual naming of the name, Paul draws attention not only to the authoritative source of his injunction, but also to the responsibility which the recognition of that supreme authority entails.

στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς κτλ. The substance of the command is “that you hold aloof from (cf. I 4:3

On the phrase ἐν ὀνόματ, cf. 1 Corinthians 5:4, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 5:20, Acts 16:18 Ign. Polyc. 5:1; also 1 Corinthians 1:10 (διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματο); on the meaning of the phrase, see Heitmüller, Im Namen Jesu, 1903, 73.—ἡμῶ after κυρίο is to be omitted with BD, et al., “as a likely interpolation” (Ell.).—στέλλεσθα it found several times in the Lxx but only once elsewhere in the N. T. (2 Corinthians 8:20). From the root meaning “set,” the further idea, “set one’s self for,” “prepare” (Sap. 7:14, 14:1, 2 Mac. 5:1), or “set one’s self from,” “withdraw” (cf. 3 Mac. 1:19, 4:11, and especially Malachi 2:5 2 Corinthians 8:20, is clear here, “withdraw one’s self from,” “hold aloof from” = χωρίζεσθα (Theodoret), or Galatians 2:12) and ὑποστέλλεσθα (cf. GF in 2 Corinthians 8:20). On the word, see Loesner, ad loc., and Wetstein on 2 Corinthians 8:20; also Mill on our passage. For the subject accusative ὑμᾶ resuming ὑμῖ, see Bl 72:5.—It has already been stated (see I 5:14) that 1 Corinthians 5:11, a μηδὲ συνεσθίει It is not Paul’s intention to exclude the idlers from the brotherhood, for he insists that the admonitions even to the recalcitrant among the idlers, being designed to make them ashamed of themselves and return to their work, be tempered with love (cf. Chrys.). Furthermore, the fact that στέλλεσθα, as interpreted in vv. 14-15, is an advance over νουθετεῖ (v. 15, I 5:14) and calls for a slightly severer attitude to the delinquents suggests that, in the interval between I and II, the idlers, influenced both by the belief that the day of the Lord was near and by the severity of the persecutions (vv. 1-5), had become more meddlesome and contumacious than at the time of writing I (see note on πράσσειν τὰ ἴδι I 4:11). It is evident that some of them persist in refusing to obey Paul’s orders as conveyed by letter (v. 14, I 5:27); and it is not improbable that some of the more excited idlers were responsible for the disquieting assertion that the day of the Lord is present (2:2).—Most recent editors prefer the excellently attested reading παρελάβοσα (אA), which is supported by ἐλάβοσα (D), and, with corrected orthography, by παρέλαβο (EKLP). On the other hand, this reading puts an emphasis upon the idlers which would lead one to expect in the sequel not αἴδατ (v. 7) but οἴδασι Hence παρελάβετ (BG, et al.), which fits both ὑμᾶ and οἴδατ, is the preferable reading, leaving παρελάβοσα (on the ending, see B. 21:3) to be explained either (1) as an emendation (Weiss, 57) in accord with the adjacent παντὸς 1 Corinthians 11:23); cf. G in I 2:13.


7-11. In these verses, Paul gives the reasons why he commands the readers to hold aloof from the idle brethren among them, the separate points being introduced respectively by γά (v. 7), καὶ γά (v. 10), and γά (v. 11). (1) First with γά (v. 7), he reminds them of himself as an example of industry, how he worked to support himself when he was with them, so as to free them from any financial burden on his account, strengthening the reminder by referring to the fact that though he, as an apostle, was entitled to a stipend, yet he waived that right in order that his self-sacrificing labour might serve as an example to them of industry (vv. 7-9). (2) Next with καὶ γά (v. 10), he justifies the present command (v. 6) by stating that the instruction to the idlers referred to in v. 6 (ἡ παράδοσι) is but a repetition of what he had repeatedly commanded when he was with them, namely, “if any one refuses to work, neither let him eat” (v. 10). (3) Finally with γά (v. 11), he wishes it to be understood distinctly that he issues the command because he is informed that some among them are idle and meddlesome.

In reminding the converts both of himself as a visible example of industry (vv. 7-9) and of his repeated oral teaching in reference to idleness (v. 10), it would appear that Paul intends not only to arouse the majority to a sense of their own responsibility in the matter, but also to furnish them with arguments that would have weight even with those who might persist in refusing to obey this command as conveyed by letter (v. 14, I 5:27). At all events, this latter consideration helps to explain why Paul refers them not to what he had written in I, but to what he had said and done when he was yet with them. To be sure v. 8 is an exact reminiscence of I 2:9, and v. 12 recalls what was written in I 4:11-12; but both the example of Paul (vv. 7-9) and the precept in v. 10 (cf. καθὼς παρηγγείλαμε, I 4:11) hark back to the time of the first visit.

7. αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε κτλ With an appeal to the knowledge of the readers quite in the manner of I (2:1, 3:3, 5:2; cf. 1:5, 2:2, 5, etc.), Paul advances the first reason (γά) for commanding the readers to hold aloof from every brother who walks idly and not in accordance with the specific instruction received. The reason is that they themselves know, without his telling them, the manner in which they ought to imitate him, namely, by working and supporting themselves. Though addressed to all, the appeal is intended for the idlers. On the analogy of I 4:1, we expect πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν ὥστε μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶ (Lft.); but the abridged expression puts an “emphasis on μιμεῖσθα and gives the whole appeal more point and force” (Ell.).

ὅτι οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμεοὐδί κτλ. The ὅτ is not “that” (I 3:3) resuming πῶ, but “for,” explaining why they know how to imitate Paul. The explanation is stated (1) negatively, and in two co-ordinated clauses (οὐοὐδε), namely, (a) “because we were no loafers when we lived among your” (Rutherford), and (b) because “we did not receive our maintenance from any one for nothing”; and (2) positively (v. 8), “but we worked toiling and moiling night and day rather than become a burden to any of you” (Rutherford). That 2 Corinthians 11:7 ff.; also Exodus 21:11 δωρεὰν ἄνευ

On πῶσδει, cf. I 4:1, and Colossians 4:6 εἰδέναι πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶ; μιμεῖσθα, here and v. 9 in Paul, is rare in Gk. Bib. (Hebrews 13:7, 3 John 1:11, 3 John 1:4 Mac. 9:23, etc.); on μιμητή, a word found chiefly in Paul, see I 1:6.—The phrase ἐσθίειν ἄρτο, only here and v. 12 in Paul (cf. Mark 3:20, Mark 7:5, etc., and Lxx passim), represents the Hebrew אכל להם (see BDB sub voc. and Briggs, ICC on Psalms 14:4), which, like the simple אכל, denotes “take a meal,” “get food,” and, by a further extension of meaning “to spend one’s life” (or, “to earn a livelihood”; see Skinner, ICC on Genesis 3:19); so Amos 7:12 where Lxx has καταβιοῦ But the total phrase ἐσθίειν ἄρτον παρά τινο seems to be unique in Gk. Bib., Leviticus 10:12 (A) Luke 10:27, Philippians 4:18 not being exact parallels. A few minuscules, bothered with ἐφάγομεν παρα, read ἐλάβομεν παρα—For the adverbial accusative δωρεά, which is common in Lxx, cf. in N. T. Romans 3:24, Galatians 2:21. For οὐοὐδε


8.

The participle ἐργαζόμενο is loosely attached to both ἠτακτἠσαμε and ἐφάγομε, a construction not uncommon in Paul (see I 2:12, 2 Corinthians 7:5).—Some expositors separate the adverbial clauses, putting ἑν κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ in sharp opposition to δωρεάν, and taking νυκτὸἐργαζόμενο as an explanatory parallel of ἐν κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ “more remotely dependent on the foregoing ἐφάγομε” (Ell.; so also De W., Wohl., Schmiedel, et al.). But as Lillie, who inclines to the separation, remarks: “Grammatically, however, the words ἐν κόπῳἐργαζόμενο may just as well be taken together in one antithetical clause,” antithetical we may repeat, in the light of I 2:3, to both οὐκ ἠτακτήσαμε and οὐδὲ ἐφάγομεν—The reference to the manner and purpose of his work is evidently advised. But whether the reminiscence of I 2:9, which is almost verbal (except that ἐν κἁπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ is closer to 2 Corinthians 11:27 than to I 2:9), is likewise conscious is not certain.—אBG read here νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρα as in I 2:9; ADEKLP, et al., emphasise the duration of the labour by reading the accusative. On the repeated phrase as a whole, see on I 2:9.

9. οὐχ ὅτλ κτλ Using a common ellipsis (οὐχ ὅτ1 Corinthians 9:14, he fortifies his contention by quoting the point of a word of the Lord (Matthew 10:10 = Luke 10:7). The language in which he expresses here his right differs from that in I (2:6; see notes on 2:5-8, 9) where the same claim is made and waived, and agrees with that in 1 Corinthians 9:4 ff. μὴ οὐκ ἒχομεν ἐξουσίαν φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν; μὴ οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν άδελφὴν γυναῖκα περιἁγει (even the wives of missionaries being entitled to support), and especially ἢ μόνος ἐγὼ καὶ Βαρνάβας οὐκ ἒχομεν ἐξουσίαν μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι In the light of the latter citation, we may supply here after the absolute ἐξουσία a μὴ ἐργάζεσθαι

ἀλλʼ ἵνα κτλ “But (we worked, waiving our rights) in order that we might give ourselves as an example to you with a view to your imitating us.” Since Paul says not σχῆτ (cf. Philippians 3:17 ἔχετε τύπον ἡμᾶ) but δῶμεν ὑμῖν it is likely that he intends to emphasise the self-sacrifice involved in this waiving of his rights, an emphasis which is conspicuous in a similar connection in the first epistle (2:8 μεταδοῦνατὰς έαυτῶν ψυχά). The ἑαυτού here is likewise more emphatic than the ἡμᾶ just cited from Philippians 3:17; Paul gives not simply the command to work (v. 10), but also himself as an example of industry.

On the ellipsis οὐχ ὅτ (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24, 2 Corinthians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 7:9, Philippians 4:17), whose origin is forgotten in usage (cf. Philippians 4:11), see Bl 81:1; and on the ellipsis after 2 Corinthians 2:4, 2 Corinthians 13:7, Ephesians 5:27.—ἐξουσία is here not potestatem but ius, not “liberty of action” but moral “right” or authority; see Mill. and cf. ἔχειν ἐξουσία in Romans 9:21, 1 Corinthians 7:37, 1 Corinthians 9:4-6, 1 Corinthians 11:10.—On τὐπον, see I 1:7; on the use of διδόνα here, cf. Ephesians 4:11 ff.

10. καὶ γὰρ ὅτε κτλ “For also when we were with you (cf. I 3:4, II 2:5) this (that follows, τοῦτ being resumed by the ὅτ recitative as in I 4:15) we were wont to command you (παρηγγέλλομε; contrast παρηγγείλαμε in I 4:11), namely,” etc. The γά is parallel to γά in v. 7, and the και co-ordinates the first reason for the command of v. 6, that is, the example of industry (vv. 7-9), with the second reason, namely, the oral precept repeatedly given when he was with them (v. 10). The παράδοσι of v. 6, which is now stated (εἴ τις οὐ θέλει κτλ), is not a truism: “if any one does not work, he has nothing to eat,” but an ethical imperative: “if any one refuses to work, he shall not eat”; “nolle vitium est” (Bengel). In characterising as Christian this “golden rule of labour” (Dob.), Paul is true to the traditions of his Jewish teachers and to the example of the Master himself (Mark 6:3). The very phrase itself may well be the coinage of Paul, for the Thessalonians were mainly working people.

Many parallels to this word of Paul, both Jewish and Greek, have been suggested (see Wetstein); but the closest is that found in Bereshith Rabba on Genesis 1:2 (a midrash “redacted according to Zunz in Palestine in the sixth century”; see Schürer, I, 140): “if they do not work, they have nothing to eat.” But, as Dob. rightly urges, both in the passage cited and in other parallels that have been adduced, “the full valuation of labour as a moral duty” (Dob.), which is the point of Paul’s words, is absent. Deissmann would have it (Light, 318) that Paul was “probably borrowing a bit of good old workshop morality, a maxim coined perhaps by some industrious workman as he forbade his lazy apprentice to sit down to dinner.” Be that as it may, it is the industrious workman Paul who introduces this phrase, with its significant emphasis on θέλει into the realm of Christian ethics. On the imperative in the apodosis, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:18, 1 Corinthians 7:12, etc. For ου which negates θέλει instead of μη (which D reads) in conditional sentences, see BMT 370 f. The presence of μηδε instead of μη (1 Corinthians 7:12) is due to ου (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:7 ff., Ephesians 5:3, and Bl 77:12). B* and א* read ἐργάζεσθ; L reads θέλ

11. Romans 11:14), Paul speaks indefinitely (cf. Galatians 1:7, Galatians 1:2:12, 2 Corinthians 10:2, 2 Corinthians 10:12, etc.); but he has in mind definite persons whose names may have been known to him from his source of information. Idleness is an affair of the brotherhood (I 4:9-12, 5:12-14), and the brethren as a whole are responsible for the few among them who “do nothing but fetch frisks and vagaries” (Leigh).


μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους

The present tense 1 Corinthians 11:18, and contrast the aorist in Colossians 1:4, Ephesians 1:15) indicates not “we have just heard,” but either “we keep hearing,” a progressive present, or “we hear, are told, are informed,” a present for the perfect (BMT 16; Vulg. has audivimus). 1 Corinthians 5:1, 1 Corinthians 11:18); but it may just as well indicate information received by letter, by word of mouth, or both (cf. Luke 4:23, Acts 7:12, 3 John 1:4); note in P. Oxy. 294 ἁντιφώνησι of a “reply” to a letter, and 1 Corinthians 11:18) and 1 Corinthians 10:27 (possibly also 3:18, 15:12), and Schmiedel, Moff., Dob. Rutherford. D, et al., obscure the emphasis by reading τινὰς ἐν ὑυῖν περιπατοῦντα Vulg has inter vos quosdam ambulare.—To illustrate the “elegant paronomasia,” commentators refer among others to Demosthenes (Phil. IV, 72) ἐργάζη καὶ περιεργάζ, and to Quintilian (VI, 3:54) non agere dixit sed satagere. Various translations have been attempted (see Lillie); e. g. “keine Arbeit treibend sondern sich herumtreibend” (Ewald); “doing nothing, but overdoing; not busy in work, but busybodies” (Edward Robinson, Lex. 1850); “working at no business, but being busybodies” (Ell.). For other instances in Paul of this play on words, Lft. refers to Philippians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 7:31, 2 Corinthians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:3:2, 2 Corinthians 1:6:10, 2 Corinthians 1:10:12; see also Bl 82:4.—περιεργάζεσθα is found elsewhere in Gk. Bib. only Sir. 3:23 (cf. Sap. 8:5 א); cf. Test. xii, Reub. 3:10 and Hermas, Sim. IX, 2:7; it is sometimes equivalent to πολυπραγμονεῖ (2 Mac. 2:30). See further, Deissmann, NBS 52, and cf. περίεργο in 1 Timothy 5:13.


12. τοῖς δὲ τοιούτοις κτλ Having explained in vv. 7-11 why he commands the brothers to hold aloof from every brother who lives in idleness, Paul now turns (δε) to command the idlers to work and earn their own living in tranquillity of mind, the τοῖστοιούτοι being in contrast with ὑμῖ (v. 6). Paul, however, says not “we command you idlers,” or even “those idlers,” but in directly and impersonally “such as these.” Furthermore, though he uses παραγγέλλομε as in v. 6, he adds to it a παρακαλοῦμε, tempering the command with an exhortation. And still further, wishing it to be understood that he speaks on the authority not of himself but of the indwelling Christ, he adds “in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The tone of the verse is obviously tactful. Paul speaks as one of them, not as an apostle but as a babe (I 2:7); and he is confident that this word from him will suffice for most of the idlers, though in v. 14 he faces the contingency that a few of them will continue to be disobedient (I 5:27).

ἵνα μετὰ ἡσυχίας κτλ. Not without reference to his own example, Paul commands and exhorts them (ἵν introducing the object) to work and earn their own living, and that too with tranquillity of spirit. They are to depend for their maintenance not upon others (I 4:12) but upon their own exertions (Chrys. notes the emphatic ἑαντῶ). In the light of ἡσυχάζει (I 4:11 q. v.), μετὰ ἡσυχία is to be understood as the opposite not of περιεργάζεσθα, as if “without meddlesomeness” were meant, but of the feverish excitement of mind stimulated by the belief that the Parousia was at hand, or, in its new and erroneous form (2:2), was actually present, a belief which together with the persecutions (vv. 1-5) accounts for the increase of idleness and meddlesomeness since the writing of I.

On τοιοῦτα, which defines the τινἀ with reference to them individually or as a class, see Bl 47:9 and cf. Romans 16:18, 1 Corinthians 16:16 ff., etc.—παραγγέλλει (I 4:11) and παρακαλεῖ (I 2:11) are not combined elsewhere in Paul; on the ἵν with παρακαλεῖ, cf. I 4:11; with παραγγελλει Paul elsewhere employs the infinitive (v. 6, 1 Corinthians 7:10; contrast 1 Timothy 5:7). After παρακαλοῦμε, supply αὐτούς ορ τοὺς τοιούτου—On the divine name with ἐ, see I 1:1; P omits Χριστῷ KL, et al., read the logically synonymous διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ with Romans 15:30 (see on I 4:2).—On ἡσυχί, cf. Acts 22:2, 1 Timothy 2:11 f., Sir. 28:16; μετα marks the quality of mind with which working and earning their own living are to be associated.—On έσθίειν ἄρτο, see v. 8.


13. ὑμεῖς δέ,

Chrys., however, thinks that the majority are here reminded that they are not to permit the idlers to perish with hunger. Calv., taking the words generally, interprets Paul as fearing that their experience of the abuse of liberality will tend to make the leaders uncharitable, even to the deserving members of the church.—With the exception of Luke 18:1, the verb ένκακεῖ is found elsewhere in Gk. Bib. only in Paul; cf. Galatians 6:9, τὸ δὲ καλὸν ποιοῦντες μὴ ἐνκακῶμε On the spelling ἐνκακεῖ (BD), ἐγκακεῖ (אA cf. Sym. Proverbs 3:11, Isaiah 7:16, etc.), or ἐκκακεῖ (GFKLP; cf. Sym. Jeremiah 18:2), see WH. App.2 157 f. From the literal meaning “to behave badly in” (Thayer), ἐνκακεῖ comes to mean also “flag,” “falter,” “tire,” “be weary.” On the μη here, see BMT 162.—καλοποιεῖ, a word found elsewhere in the Gk. Bib. only Leviticus 5:4 (F), is equivalent to καλῶ ποιεῖ (Leviticus 5:4, 1 Corinthians 7:37 f. Philippians 4:14, etc.); it means probably not “to confer benefits” (Chrys., Calv., Dob., et al.) but, as most take it, “to do the right.” Elsewhere Paul uses not καλὸν ποιεῖ (GF; cf. James 4:17) but τὸ καλὸν ποιεῖ (Galatians 6:9, Romans 7:21, 2 Corinthians 13:7).

14. εἰ δέ τις κτλ Anticipating the probability (cf. I 5:27) that some of the idlers would refuse to obey his evangelic utterance (τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶ referring especially to v. 12) expressed in this letter, he orders the brethren, if the case should arise, to proceed to discipline, not with a view to excluding the disobedient among the idlers from the brotherhood, but in the hope of inducing them to repent and amend their idle ways. (1) First of all, he commands: σημειοῦσθ, “designate that man.” Just how they are to note him, whether in writing or by naming him publicly at a meeting, is not explained. (2) Then with an infinitive for an imperative (Romans 12:15, Philippians 3:16), he continues, interpreting the στέλλεσθα of v. 6: μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι αὐτῷ, “let there be no intimate association with him.” The advance from νουθετεῖ (I 5:14) to “hold aloof from,” “do not associate with,” is necessary, and the severer measures are justified. It will be remembered that Paul had given orders to the idlers when he was present (v. 10, I 4:11), had repeated them in the first epistle (I 4:11-12; cf. 5:14), and has just reiterated them in a conciliatory manner in vv. 6-12 (cf. vv. 1-5), hinting at the same time (v. 13) that the majority must be tactful in their treatment of their delinquent brothers. If, however (εἰ δε), in spite of all this, some of the idle brothers persist in disobeying his orders as conveyed by letter (I 5:27), then they must be deprived of intimate association with the rest of their fellows (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9. 1 Corinthians 5:11). But even so, absolute separation from the companionship of the brethren is not in mind; for Paul does not add here, as he does in 1 Corinthians 5:11, the μηδὲ συνεσθίει; and above all he does add here the significant v. 15. (3) Finally, the purpose of the discipline is explicitly mentioned, ἵνα ἐντραπῇ “that he may be shamed.” Reformation, not exclusion from the brotherhood, is intended.

λόγος ἡμῶ (2 Corinthians 1:18) could be the equivalent of τὸ εὐκγγέλιον ἡμῶ (2:1); here, however, it refers most probably to that element of the message of the gospel which is specified in v. 12. The obedience required (cf. Philippians 2:12) is not to Paul’s word as such but to his word as inspired by Christ (ἐν κυρίῳ v. 12). B, et al., read ὑμῶ for ἡμῶ; cf. Bא in 2 Corinthians 6:11 (καρδία ὑμῶ)—διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆ refers naturally to the present letter (so most from Chrys. and Th. Mops. to Dob.); but the presence of the article (τῆ) is not conclusive for this interpretation, as 1 Corinthians 5:10 shows. However, were Paul alluding to a letter that the converts are to send him (Erasmus, Calv., Grot., et al.), there would be no point in specifying the procedure to be followed (Lün.); and furthermore in that case we should expect σημειοῦσθε τοῦτον διʼ ἐπιστολῆ (GF omit τῆ). The phrase διὰ ἐπιστολῆ is to be joined closely with τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶ, the article τῷ being supplied on the analogy of I 1:1 ἐκκλησίᾳ (τῇ) ἐν θεῷ—On εἰ δέ τι, cf. v. 10; for the condition, see BMT 242.—σημειοῦσθκ (BA have the imperative; אDGFP the infinitive) is found elsewhere in Gk. Bib. only Psalms 4:7; it occurs in Polybius and Philo; and frequently in papyri, of the signature in writing (e. g. P. Oxy. 42, 5:8 (a.d. 323) σεσημείωμαι ἐμῇ χειρι). See further, 1 Clem. 43:1, and Sophocles, Lex. sub voc.—συναναμίγνυσθα is found elsewhere in the Gk. Bib. only 1 Corinthians 5:9, 1 Corinthians 5:11, Hosea 7:8 (A) Ezekiel 20:18 (A). The command is not direct “don’t you associate,” but indirect “let there be no intimate association with him.” BאA, et al., read the infinitive (not of purpose, but equivalent to an imperative); EKLP, et al., have the imperative. To relieve the asyndeton, GFKLP, et al., insert και before μη In Hosea 7:8, Ezekiel 20:18, B has the imperative, AQ the infinitive.—ἐντρέπει occurs in Gk Bib. only 1 Corinthians 4:14; the more common ἐντρέπεσθα is used either absolutely or with the accus. (Mark 12:6, Luke 18:2 Sap. 2:10, 7:6, etc.); for the passive here, compare the refrain in Psalms 34:4, Psalms 69:2 (39:15) αἰσχυνθείησαν καὶ ἐντρατείησα


15. καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐχθρόν κτλ Even the disobedient idler is a brother, and to do the right thing (v. 13) for him means that the warning is to be administered in the spirit not of hate but of love. “And so” (και), that is, “that the moral result aimed at (ἵναἐντραπῇ) may not be hindered, this of course must be the spirit and style of your discipline” (Lillie), “regard him not as an enemy, but on the contrary warn him as a brother” (cf. I 5:14 νουθετεῖτε τοὺς

Chrys., who sees the fatherly heart of Paul manifested in vv. 13-15, is inclined to suppose that the admonition is to be given not publicly but privately. On ἡγεῖσθα, see I 5:13; on ἐχθρό, cf. Romans 12:20. The ὡ, if not a Hebraism (Bl 34:5; cf. Job 19:11 ἡγήσατο δέ με ὥσπερ ἐχθρό, 33:10, 41:22), is at least pleonastic, marking “the aspect in which he is not to be regarded” (Ell.). D, et al., omit the και before μη


VII. PRAYER (3:16)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace continually, in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.

16. αὐτὸς δέ κτλ The prayer for peace addressed to Christ, the Lord of peace, is prompted by the situation which the command (vv. 6-15) is designed to meet. The command alone, however, without the assistance of the indwelling Christ, will not suffice to restore harmony within the brotherhood; hence, to insure this concord, the Lord of peace himself must give them a sense of inward religious peace, and that too continually, in every circumstance of life. In the added prayer: “May the Lord ( = Christ) be (sc. ἔστ or εἴ) with you all,” the πάντω may be intentional (cf. I 5:26, II 1:3, 10, 3:18; but note also Romans 15:33); both the majority and the idlers need the personal presence as well as the peace of Christ as a surety for harmony and concord within the brotherhood.

A similar situation evokes a similar prayer to the God of peace in I 5:23-24, following the exhortations of 4:1-5:22. On εἰρήν, see I 1:1 and 5:23; on κύριο = Christ, see 2:13. GFL, et al., read θεό conforming to Paul’s regular usage (see on I 5:23). On δώῃ, cf. Romans 15:5 and the note of SH; on διδόναι εἰήνη, cf. Numbers 6:26, Isaiah 26:12.—διὰ παντό occurs elsewhere in Paul only Romans 11:10 = Psalms 68:24; it is equivalent to άδιαλείπτως, Psalms 33:2); see on I 5:16 ff.—ἐν παντὶ τρόπῳ (אBEKLP, et al.) is used elsewhere in Gk. Bib. only 3 Mac. 7:8 (A); cf. παντὶ πρόπῳ (Philippians 1:18, Philippians 1:1 Mac. 14:35) and κατὰ πἀντα τρόπο (Romans 3:2, Numbers 18:7). As Ven. in 3 Mac. 7:8, so ADGF, the Latins, Chrys. and Ambst, here have the more common expression ἐν παντὶτόπῳ (I 1:8).


VIII. SALUTATION (3:17)

The greeting by the hand of me Paul; this fact is a taken of genuineness in every letter; this is the way I write.

17. ὁ ὀσπασμός κτλ. It would appear that Paul, like his contemporaries, occasionally wrote (Phil. 19) but regularly dictated (Romans 16:22) his letters; and that, again like his contemporaries, he was in the habit of adding to every dictated letter a few concluding words in his own handwriting. Sometimes, and for varying reasons, he calls attention to the autographic conclusion, thus purposely authenticating his letter; so for example in 1 Corinthians 16:21, Colossians 4:18 where as here we have ὁ Galatians 6:11 = Philemon 1:19 ἔγραψα τῇ ἐμῇ χειρι It is not at all necessary to assume in any of these instances that a particular suspicion of forgery prompted the summons to attention, though it is not inconceivable in our passage that mention is made of the autographic conclusion in view of the fact that some of the idle brethren (I 5:27, II 3:14) may have excused their intention to disregard Paul’s epistolary injunctions on the score that the letter to be read was not genuine.

ὲστιν σημεῖον κτλ “Not ‘which salutation,’ nor ‘which hand,’ as if ο were attracted by σημεῖο; but ‘which autographic way of giving the salutation’” (Lillie). The σημεῖο = “token” refers to what Paul has written in his own hand; it is a proof of authenticity. In view of the ancient habit of writing, or at least of signing a letter, just as we sign with our pen a letter written or typewritten by the stenographer, it is quite unnecessary to limit the scope of the phrase “in every letter.” The οὕτως γράφ refers not to the fact but to the manner of the autographic conclusion; “mark the handwriting” (Rutherford). The Thessalonians had already received a letter from Paul, in which, according to epistolary custom, he had himself written a few closing words (I 5:28 or 26-28). His handwriting, which was characteristic (Galatians 6:11), is assumed to be known. In case of necessity, the majority could direct the attention of the recalcitrant among the idlers to the same hand in I and II.


Deissmann (Light, 153, 158 f.) calls attention to ancient procedure in the matter of writing autographic conclusions in evidence of authenticity, and properly urges that it is a begging of the question to assume that Paul “only finished off with his own hand those letters in which he expressly says that he did.” In a very brief letter from Mystarion to a priest, dated September 13, 50 (BGU, 37), a reproduction of which is given by Deissmann (ibid, 157), the ἔρρως and the date are written in another hand, that is, “in Mystarion’s own hand,” a circumstance that “proves that somebody at that date (about the time of our letter) closed a letter in his own hand without expressly saying so.” In the Passalacqua papyrus (Deissmann, BS. 212 f., Witk., 35), a σύμβολο = σημεῖο is given, as a token of genuineness, to the messenger along with the letter:

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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/2-thessalonians-3.html. 1896-1924.