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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Thessalonians 1

Verse 1

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

In God our Father - more endearing than 1 Thessalonians 1:1, "in God THE Father."

Verse 2

Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

From, [ apo (G575), emanation simply; para (G3844), form a personal source; 2 John 1:3 ]

God our Father. So 'Aleph (') A G g, Vulgate. But B Delta f omit "our."

Verse 3

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

We are bound, [ ofeilomen (G3784)] - 'We owe it as a debt' (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Their prayer having been heard (1 Thessalonians 3:12), it is a bounden return that they should thank God for it. Paul and his fellow-missionaries practice what they preach (1 Thessalonians 5:18). In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 their thanksgiving was for the Thessalonian 'faith, love, and patience;' here for their exceeding growth in faith ( huperauxanei (G5232): 'groweth above measure'], and for their charity abounding. "We are bound" - the duty of thanksgiving from its subjective side, as an inward conviction.

As it is meet - from the objective, as something answering to the circumstances (Alford). The prayer (1 Thessalonians 3:12), "The Lord make you to abound in love one toward another," and the answer, 'The love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth' (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:10). Not merely general love, but individual; also not shown only to particular friends, but, for Christ's sake, to all.

Verse 4

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

Glory in you - `boast in your case.' Not merely do we hear others speaking of the Thessalonians' faith, but we ourselves, who might be expected to be silent on what redounds to our own praise cannot but boast of it. In 1 Thessalonians 1:8 Paul said their faith was so well known in various places that he and his fellow-missionaries needed not to speak of it; here he says, so abounding is their love, combined with faith and patience, that he and his fellow-missionaries themselves make it their present glorying in the various churches (now at Corinth in Achaia, to which church he wrote subsequently, boasting, in the Lord, of the faith of the Macedonian churches, 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 10:15-17), besides looking forward to glorying thereat at Christ's coming (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

Patience. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 "patience of hope." Here hope is tacitly supposed as the ground of their brave patience: 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 state the object of their faith-namely, the kingdom for which they suffer.

Tribulations. The Jews instigated the populace and the magistrates against Christians. (Acts 17:5; Acts 17:8).

That ye endure - `are enduring.'

Verse 5

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

Which. Your enduring tribulations is a 'token of the (future) righteous judgment of God' at Christ's coming; your present suffering for Him, and your adversaries' opposition to Him, is a pledge that then you will reign, and they perish (2 Timothy 2:12). The judgment is even now begun; but its consummation will be then. David (Psalms 73:1-14) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 12:1-4) were perplexed at the wicked prospering and the godly suffering. But Paul, by the light of the New Testament, makes this very fact a consolation. It is a proof [ endeigma (G1730)] of the future judgment, which will set to rights all present anomalies, by rewarding the now suffering saint, and punishing the persecutor. Even now 'the Judge of all the earth does right' (Genesis 18:25); for the godly are in themselves sinful, and need chastisement. What they suffer unjustly from men they suffer justly from God: they have their evil things here, that they may escape condemnation with the world, and have their good things hereafter (Luke 16:25; 1 Corinthians 11:32) (Edmunds).

That ye may be counted worthy - the purpose of God's "righteous judgment" as regards you.

For which - `in behalf of which ye are also suffering' (cf. Acts 5:41; Acts 9:16; Acts 14:22; Philippians 1:29). Though men are justified by faith, they shall be judged "according to their works" (Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:12: cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:6-7). The "also" implies the connection between the suffering for the kingdom and being counted worthy of it (cf. Romans 8:17-18).

Verse 6

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Seeing (that) it is a righteous thing - justifying the assertion that there is a "righteous judgment" (2 Thessalonians 1:5); 'seeing that [ eiper (G1512), if, as we all admit: if so be that] it is a righteous thing with [ para (G3844), Theoo (G2316): at the tribunal of] God.' Our innate feeling of what is just confirms what is revealed.

Recompense - requite in kind; namely, tribulation to them that trouble you (affliction to those that afflict you); and to you who are troubled, rest from trouble.

Verse 7

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

Rest - governed by "to recompense" (2 Thessalonians 1:6) [ Anesin (G425), relaxation: loosening the tension, epitasis, which preceded; relaxing the strings of endurance now so tightly drawn. Anapausis (G372), "rest" (Matthew 11:28; Revelation 14:13), is cessation from labour. Sabbatismos (G4520) (Hebrews 4:9), 'a keeping of Sabbath.']

With us - namely, Paul, Silas, and Timothy, who are troubled like yourselves (2 Thessalonians 3:2).

When - not sooner, not later.

The, Lord Jesus shall be revealed - for now He is hidden, and our life hidden with Him (Colossians 3:3-4).

With his mighty angels (Greek, 'with the angels of His power') - i:e., the ministers by whom He makes His power to be recognized (Matthew 13:41-42). It is not their, but 'His might' which is prominent.

Verse 8

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

In flaming fire - Greek 'In (encompassed with) flame of fire ' B Delta G g Vulgate But 'Aleph (') A f read In flaming fire - Greek, 'In (encompassed with) flame of fire.' B Delta G g, Vulgate. But 'Aleph (') A f read, in fire of flame. This flame of fire accompanied His manifestation in the bush (Exodus 3:2); also His giving of the law at Sinai (Exodus 19:18); also it shall accompany His advent (Daniel 7:9-10; Malachi 4:1), symbolizing His own glory and His consuming vengeance against His foes (Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 12:29; 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:10).

Taking - literally, 'giving' them, as their portion, "vengeance."

Know not God - the Gentiles primarily (Psalms 79:6; Galatians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:5); not those involuntarily, but those willfully not knowing Him, as Pharaoh, who might have known God if he would, but boasted, "I know not the Lord" (Exodus 5:2); and as the Thessalonians' persecutors, who might have known God by the preaching of those whom they persecuted. Also all pagans who sin against whatever knowledge of God they have by conscience and from His visible works (Romans 1:20-21; Romans 2:12; Romans 2:14-16). Secondarily, all who 'profess to know God, but in works deny Him' (Titus 1:16).

Obey not the gospel - primarily the unbelieving Jews (Romans 10:3; Romans 10:16). The distinct article implying two distinct classes, marks that primarily the former clause refers to the pagan; this clause to the Jews. Secondarily, all who obey not the truth (Romans 2:8).

Christ. So 'Aleph (') A G f g, Vulgate. Omitted in B Delta.

Verse 9

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

Who, [ hoitines (G3748)] - 'persons who,' etc.

Everlasting, [ aioonion (G166)]. The oldest Greek commentators, Theophilus, Theodoret, etc. (Ellicott), expound 'eternal,' 'unending,' not in the qualitative aspect given by some.

Destruction from the presence of the Lord - the sentence emanating from Him in person, sitting as Judge (Bengel). But thus "presence of the Lord" would be a circumlocution for the personal Lord. Rather, driving them far from Him (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 12:14: cf. Isaiah 2:10; Isaiah 2:19; 1 Peter 3:12).

From the glory of his power - the instrument BY which the sentence is carried into execution (Edmunds). But the same preposition [ apo (G575)] must have the same sense in both clauses. Rather, '(driven) FROM the glory of His might:' the glory emanating from His might is the sphere wherein the saints shall be 'glorified;' "the presence of the Lord" is the sphere wherein He shall be "admired in all them that believe." His presence shall be the spring of their blessedness (Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:15; Matthew 18:10; Revelation 22:4). Thus 2 Thessalonians 1:10 is parallel to and explains this verse. Cast out from the presence of the Lord is the sting of eternal death; the law of evil left to its unrestricted working, without one counteracting influence of the presence of God, the Source of all light and holiness (Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:44).

Verse 10

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

'When He shall have come.'

Glorified in his saints - as the element and mirror IN which His glory shall shine brightly; not, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, including angels, but only saints (Isaiah 49:3), which involves their being glorified (John 17:10; John 17:22).

Admired in all them that believed - Greek, 'them that believed.' Once they believed; now they see. They took His word on trust; now His word is made good, and they need faith no longer. With wonder all celestial intelligences (Ephesians 3:10) shall admire the Redeemer, because of the glory He has worked in them that believed during their earthly probation.

Because ... Supply 'among whom (namely, those who shall be found to have believed) you, too, shall be; because our testimony (1 Corinthians 1:6) unto [ epi (G1909): "among"] you was believed,' and not rejected, as by those who "obey not the Gospel" (2 Thessalonians 1:8). The early preaching was not abstract discussions, but a testimony to facts and truths experimentally known (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8). Faith is (Dr. Pearson) 'an assent unto truths, credible upon the testimony of God, delivered unto us by the apostles and prophets' (at first orally, but now in their writings). "Glorified in His saints" reminds us that holiness is glory in the bud; glory is holiness developed.

Verse 11

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

Wherefore, [ Eis (G1519) ho (G3588)] - 'With a view to which;' namely, His glorification in you as His saints.

Also. We not only anticipate generally the coming glorification, but we also pray concerning [ peri (G4012)] YOU.

Our God - whom we serve.

Count you worthy. The prominent position of "YOU" in the Greek makes it emphatic: May you be found among the saints whom God shall count worthy.

Of (this) calling - `of the [ tees (G3588)] calling' (Ephesians 4:1) wherewith He hath called you. There is no dignity in us independent of God's calling (2 Timothy 1:9). Here not merely the first actual call, but the whole of God's electing art, originating in His "purpose of grace given us in Christ before the world began," and having its consummation in glory.

All the, [ pasan (G3956) eudokian (G2107)] - rather, 'every.'

Good pleasure of ... - on the part of God (Bengel).

Faith - on your part.

Of (his) goodness. The Greek [agathosunee] for goodness is never applied to God elsewhere in the New Testament; and there is no "His" in the Greek. But as in the parallel clause, "calling" refers to God's purpose, and as [ eudokia (G2107)] "good pleasure" mostly is used of God [which is against Ellicott's reference of eudokia to the Thessalonians' good pleasure, Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9 ] - translate, 'fulfil (His) every gracious purpose of goodness' (on your part) - i:e., fully perfect in you all goodness, according to His gracious purpose. Thus, "the grace of our God," 2 Thessalonians 1:12, corresponds to God's "good pleasure" here.

The work of faith - Greek (no article): faith manifested by work, which is its perfected development (James 1:4; note, 1 Thessalonians 1:3). Strict parallelism would require "work" to be God's, as "good pleasure" is. But this may be dispensed with, as 'faith's work' is tacitly understood as really God's in and by man (Philippians 2:13), and so is parallel to God's "good pleasure."

With power - Greek, 'IN power;' i:e., 'powerfully' (Colossians 1:11; Colossians 1:29).

Verse 12

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The name of our Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus in His manifested personality as the God-man.

In you, and ye in him - reciprocal glorification (cf. Isaiah 28:5 with Isaiah 62:3).

Glorified (John 21:19; Galatians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:14). The believer's graces redound to Christ's glory, and His glory, as Head, reflects glory on them, the members.

According to - in accordance with the blessed end contemplated by.

The grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ. The one Greek article to both implies the inseparable oneness of Goal and the Lord Jesus.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.