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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Thessalonians 3

Verse 1

2 Thessalonians 3:1 . Τρεχῃ , may run, have free course ) quickly; comp. Psalms 147:15 ; without impediment [liter, without a drag on the wheels of its course ], 2 Timothy 2:9 . δοξάζηται , may be glorified ) Acts 13:48 .

Verse 2

2 Thessalonians 3:2 . Ἀτόπων ) ἄτοπος , inept [liter, out of place ], unreasonable. οὐ πάντων , does not belong to all ) Tapeinosis, [24] i.e. of fear. The Thessalonians, who had believed with great readiness, might easily suppose that all would be equally ready. Paul declares, from his own experience of the very reverse, that it was quite otherwise. ἡ πίστις ; faith ) viz. in God through Christ. It is this alone that takes away τὸ ἄτοπον καὶ πονηρόν , what is inept [ unreasonable ] and wicked .

[24] Less said, than is to be understood. Append. ED.

Verse 3

2 Thessalonians 3:3 . Πιστὸς δὲ , but faithful ) After stating a very distressing fact, he immediately subjoins what may serve as a consolation; so ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . In opposition to the unbelief [ want of faith on the part] of men, he praises the faithfulness of the Lord. So 2 Timothy 2:13 . στηρίξει ὑμᾶς , will establish you ) although all others may not even receive faith. ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ ) from the wicked one [Engl. Vers. from evil ], from Satan; not merely from wicked men, by whom he assails faith.

Verse 4

2 Thessalonians 3:4 . Ἐν Κυριῳ , in the Lord ) Trust [“Have confidence in”] no man by himself. παραγγέλλομεν , we charge or command ) for example, that ye pray for us, that ye fortify yourselves. See 2 Thessalonians 3:1 [2, 3].

Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 3:5 . Κύριος , the Lord ) Christ. εἰς τὴν ἀγαάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ , into the love of God ) You will thus favour the running (free course) of the word of God, and will not be ἄτοποι , unreasonable . εἰς ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ , to the patience of Christ ) It is thus you will endure the hatred of the wicked enemies of Christ. Each must be taken objectively: love towards God, patience shown on account of Christ [But Engl. Vers. patient waiting for Christ ].

Verse 6

2 Thessalonians 3:6 . Στέλλεσθαι ) This word is properly applied to sailors and travellers, to be bound for some place , or to set out from some place . Hence to avoid; comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:14 . He keeps the Thessalonians in suspense, until at 2Th 3:11 he brings out the matter, at which he was aiming. They seem to have given up labour on account of the near approach of the day of Christ. The admonitions of the first epistle were more gentle; in the second, there is now some degree of complaint, although that complaint regards a slip of that kind which only tempts minds of high (spiritual) attainments. πάντος , from every ) although he may be otherwise walking speciously [with a fair show]. ἀτάκτως , disorderly ) Therefore the Order of Mendicants is not an order, but a burden [2 Thessalonians 3:8 , ἐπιβαρῆσαι ] upon the republic, 2 Thessalonians 3:8 . If the Thessalonians had bound themselves by a vow, what would Paul have said?

Verse 7

2 Thessalonians 3:7 . Πῶς ) [‘how’] in what manner of living?

Verse 8

2 Thessalonians 3:8 . Ἐργαζόμενοι , working ) This is construed with ἐφάγομεν , we ate . ἐπιβαρῆσαι , to be a burden to ) Whilst waiving (yielding) his right, he expresses what might have been viewed as a matter of justice (his just claim to maintenance) by a somewhat unfavourable term.

Verse 10

2 Thessalonians 3:10 . Ὅτε , when ) They had already seen the necessity of this commandment among the Thessalonians. ἔι τις οὐ θέλει , if any will not ) To be unwilling is a fault. μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω , let him not eat ) An Enthymeme. [25] Supply, But every man eats: therefore let every man labour. Paul does not mean, that such a man should have his food immediately withdrawn from him by others; but he proves from the necessity of eating the necessity of labouring, by throwing out this pleasantry, let such a one show himself as an angel . [26] There is a similar Enthymeme at 1 Corinthians 11:6 . [27]

[25] This is the oratorical Enthymeme, wherein the argument is confirmed from its contrary. The logical Enthymeme is a covert syllogism. ED.

[26] i.e . Let him do without food, as the angels do. ED.

[27] “If the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn” (But she is not shorn; therefore let her be covered). ED.

Verse 11

2 Thessalonians 3:11 . Ἀλλὰ , but ) From a state of idleness, the disposition of men is naturally prone to pass to the indulgence of curiosity. For nature always seeks something to do. [28] ΠΕΡΙΕΡΓΑΖΟΜΈΝΟΝς , busybodies [ curiously-inquisitive ]) Opposed to doing one’s own business , [29] 1 Thessalonians 4:11 .

[28] And if not doing one’s own business, a man for want of something to do meddles with his neighbour’s business. For “Nature abhors a vacuum.” ED.

[29] The antithesis is conveyed by the very sound of the words in the original, μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους , ἀλλὰ περιεργαζομέυους , doing none of their own business, and yet over-officious in the business of others. ED.

Verse 12

2 Thessalonians 3:12 . Μετὰ ἡσυχίας , with quietness ) Laying aside curiosity [over-officiousness or inquisitiveness ]. ἑαυτῶν , their own ) not another’s.

Verse 13

2 Thessalonians 3:13 . Καλοποιοῦντες , doing well ) even with the industry of your hands.

Verse 14

2 Thessalonians 3:14 . [30] Διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε , note this man by ( this ) letter ) This same epistle is meant; comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:27 , where the article has the same demonstrative meaning: σημειοῦσθε , mark , with a note of censure; using this epistle for the sake of admonishing him, and inculcating it upon him. Comp. ויהיו לנם , καὶ ἐγενήθησαν ἐν σημείῳ (said of Korah and his company), and they became a sign , Numbers 26:10 . The signification of the verb ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΓΜΑΤΊΖΕΙΝ is akin to this. It may be done to others either by letters, if they are in a foreign land, or face to face, if present. This diversity of circumstances does not alter the meaning. ἽΝΑ ἘΝΤΡΑΠῇ ) that , having seen the judgment of others (respecting him), he may humble himself [ be ashamed , Engl. Vers.]. נכנעו they humbled themselves , 2 Chronicles 12:7 .

[30] Τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν , our word ) already spoken, ver. 10. V. g.

Verse 15

2 Thessalonians 3:15 . Καὶ μὴ , and yet do not ) Caution is given us on all sides, lest we fall into extremes. νουθετεῖτε , admonish ) It is not enough not to keep company with a person: 2 Thessalonians 3:14 ; the man ought to know [ought to be made sensible] why it is so done.

Verse 16

2 Thessalonians 3:16 . Ὁ Κύριος τῆς εἰρήνης , the Lord of peace ) Christ. τὴν εἰρήνην , peace ) with the brethren. ἐν παντὶ τρόπῳ ) [“by all means”] in every mode ( way ) of living, even as to what concerns the doing of work; comp. ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 , κατὰ μηδένα τσόπον , by no means . Paul uses παντὶ τρόπῳ without ἐν , Philippians 1:18 .

Verse 17

2 Thessalonians 3:17 . Τῇ ἐμῇ χειρὶ , with my own hand ) Therefore the greater part of the epistle had been written by another hand. σημεῖον , token ) We have reason to believe that Paul [ with a view to guard against fraud of every kind , ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 . V. g.] distinguished, by a peculiar and inimitable painting (tracing) and formation of the letters, the words of the salutation, grace , etc., 2 Thessalonians 3:18 . ἐν πάσἐπ στολῇ , in every epistle ) He had at that time, therefore, already written more. οὕτω , so ) not otherwise. He hereby meets any doubt. [31]

[31] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 4 : Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bryce, Trans.) (213 237). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.