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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 3

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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Verse 1

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

Finally, [ To (G3588) loipon (G3063)] - 'As to what remains.'

Pray for us - as I have prayed for you (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). May have free course, [ trechee (G5143)] - 'may run,' without a drag on the wheels of its course. That the now-creating word may 'run' as "swiftly" as the creative word at the first (Psalms 147:15). The opposite is, the word of God "bound" (2 Timothy 2:9).

Glorified - by sinners accepting it (stronger than in Acts 13:48; Galatians 1:23-24). Contrast "evil spoken of" (1 Peter 4:14).

As it is with you (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Verse 2

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

That we may be delivered from unreasonable, [atopoi] - men out of place, inept, out of the way, bad: an undesigned coincidence with Acts 18:5-9. Paul was now at Corinth, where THE JEWS 'opposed themselves' to his preaching: in answer to his prayers and those of his converts, 'the Lord, in vision,' promised exemption from "hurt," and the conversion of "much people." Paul's desire for "deliverance" was in order that it might enable him to further God's word (Romans 15:32). 'The synagogues of the Jews were fountains of persecutions' (Tertullian, 'Gnost. Scorp.' 10).

Have not faith - Greek, 'the (Christian) faith:' the only antidote to what is "unreasonable and wicked." The Thessalonians, from their ready acceptance of the Gospel, might think "all" would receive it; but the Jews were far from having such a readiness to believe.

Verse 3

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

Faithful - alluding to "faith" (2 Thessalonians 3:2): though many will not believe, the Lord ('Aleph (') A C Delta G. But B, 'God') is still to be believed as to His promises (1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:13). Faith on man's part answers to faithfulness on God's part.

Stablish you. Though wicked men were assailing himself, he turns away from asking prayers for HIS deliverance (2 Thessalonians 3:2: so unselfish was he), to express his assurance of THEIR establishment in the faith and preservation from evil. This assurance exactly answers to his prayer, 2 Thessalonians 2:17, "Our Lord ... stablish you in every good word and work." So the Lord's prayer, "Lead us not into temptation, hut deliver us from evil:" where, as here (in antithesis to "the Lord") is included, 'from the evil one:' the great hinderer of "every good word and work." Compare Matthew 13:19; Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 5:18.

Verse 4

And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.

And [ De (G1161)] - 'Yea.'

We have confidence in the Lord - as "faithful" (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Have confidence in no man when left to himself (Bengel).

That ye both do. B G (not 'Aleph (') A Delta, Vulgate) insert 'that ye both have done' before, 'and are doing, and will do.' He means the majority by 'ye;' not all (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:6).

Verse 5

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

And, [ De (G1161)] - 'But.' While I am confident touching you, yet may the Lord direct your hearts. If "the Lord" be here the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17), the three Divine Persons occur in this verse.

Love of God - love to God (Matthew 22:37).

Patient waiting for Christ, [ Teen (G3588) hupomoneen (G5281) tou (G3588) Christou (G5547)] - 'the patience (endurance) of Christ;' namely, which Christ showed (Alford) (1 Peter 2:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:3). Compare for the English version, Revelation 1:9; Revelation 3:10. At all events, this grace, "patience," is connected (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:10) with the "hope" of Christ's coming. Compare Hebrews 12:1-2, "Run with patience (endurance) ... looking unto JESUS ... who, far the joy ... before Him, endured the cross:" so WE are to endure, as looking for the hope to be realized at His coming (Hebrews 10:36-37).

Verse 6

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

He repeats the injunctions, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. We command you. Hereby he puts to a test their obedience in general, which he had recognized, 2 Thessalonians 3:4.

Withdraw, [ stellesthai (G4724)] - to furl the sails: to steer clear of (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:14). Some had given up labour, as though the Lord was immediately coming. He had enjoined mild censure of such in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, "Warn them that are unruly." Now that the mischief had become more confirmed, he enjoins stricter discipline-namely, withdrawal from their company (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 John 1:10-11); not a formal excommunication, such as was subsequently passed on more heinous offenders, as in 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20.

Brother - professing Christian; for, in the case of unprofessing pagan, believers were not to be so strict (1 Corinthians 5:10-13).

Disorderly. Paul plainly would not have sanctioned the Order of Mendicant Friars, who reduce such a "disorderly," lazy life to a system. Call it not an Order, but a burden to the community [Bengel, alluding to the epibaresai, 2 Thessalonians 3:8, "be chargeable;" literally, be a burden].

The tradition - the instruction orally given by him to them (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and subsequently committed to writing (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

Which he received of us. B G read 'ye received.' 'Aleph (') A C Delta f, 'they received.'

Verse 7

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

How ye ought to follow us - how ye ought to live so as to 'imitate' (so the Greek) us (cf. note, 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Verse 8

Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

Eat any man's bread - Greek, 'eat bread from any man;' i:e., live at anyone's expense. Contrast 2 Thessalonians 3:12, "eat THEIR OWN bread."

Wrought (Acts 20:34). In both letters they state they maintained themselves by labour; but in this second letter they do so to offer an example to the idle; whereas, in the first, their object is to vindicate themselves from imputation of mercenary motives in preaching (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:9) (Edmunds).

Labour and travail - `toil and hardship' (note, 1 Thessalonians 2:9).

Night and day - scarcely allowing time for repose.

Chargeable - Greek, 'burdensome.' It is at the very time and place of writing these letters that Paul is said to have worked at tent-making with Aquila: an undesigned coincidence.

Verse 9

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

(1 Corinthians 9:4-6, etc.; Galatians 6:6.)

Verse 10

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For even. Translate 'For also;' coordinate with "For," 2 Thessalonians 3:7. We set you the example, and also gave a 'command.'

Commanded - Greek imperfect, 'We were commanding:' we kept charging you.

Would not work - Greek, 'is not willing to work.' The argument is, not that such a one is to have his food withdrawn from him by others; but Paul proves from the necessity of eating the necessity of working.

Verse 11

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Busybodies. In the Greek [ meeden (G3367) ergazomenous (G2038) alla (G235) periergazomenous (G4020)] the similar sounds mark the antithesis, 'Doing none of their own business, yet over busy in that of others.' Idleness is the parent of busybodies (1 Timothy 5:13). Contrast 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Verse 12

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

By, [ dia (G1223)]. So C. But A 'Aleph (') B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'IN the Lord Jesus.' So the Greek, 1 Thessalonians 4:1: the sphere wherein such conduct is appropriate and consistent. We exhort you as ministers IN Christ, exhorting our people IN Christ.

With quietness - quiet industry; laying aside intermeddling officiousness (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Their own - earned by themselves, not another's bread (2 Thessalonians 3:8).

Verse 13

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Be not weary. 'Aleph (') A B read [ engkakeeseete (G1457a)] 'be not cowardly in;' be not wanting in strenousness in doing well: with patient industry and general consistency. In contrast to the 'disorderly, not-working busybodies' (2 Thessalonians 3:11: cf. Galatians 6:9).

Verse 14

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Note that man - in your own minds, as one to be avoided (2 Thessalonians 3:6).

That he may be ashamed, [ entrapee (G1788)] - 'made to turn and look into himself, and so be put to shame.' Feeling himself shunned by godly brethren.

Verse 15

Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Admonish him as a brother - not yet excommunicated (cf. Leviticus 19:17). Do not shun him in contemptuous silence, but tell him why he is so avoided (Matthew 18:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Verse 16

Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

Lord of peace - Jesus Christ. The same title is given to Him as to the Father (Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:11). An appropriate title here, where the harmony of the Christian community was liable to interruption from the "disorderly" (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Philippians 4:7). Greek, 'give you the peace' which it is 'His to give.' "Peace" outward and inward, with God, with one another, with the world, here and hereafter (Romans 14:17). Isaiah 26:3, 'The deep tranquillity of a soul resting on God' (Ellicott).

Always - not changing with outward circumstances.

By all means - Greek, 'in every way.' [So 'Aleph (') B, tropoo (G5158). But A Delta G f g, Vulgate, topoo (G5117).] 'In every place:' thus he prays for their peace in all times ('always') and places.

Lord be with you all. May He bless you not only with peace, but also with His presence (Matthew 28:20). Even the disorderly brethren (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:15, "a brother") are included in this prayer.

Verse 17

The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.

The letter was written by an amanuensis (perhaps Silas or Timothy), and only the closing salutation, 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18, by Paul's "own hand" (cf. Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18). Wherever Paul does not subjoin this autograph salutation, we may presume either he wrote the whole letter himself (Galatians 6:11), or deemed formal attestation needless.

Which - which autograph salutation.

The token - to distinguish genuine letters from spurious ones in my name (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

In every letter. Some think he signed his name to every letter with his own hand; but as there is no trace of this in any manuscripts of all the letters, it is more likely that he alludes to his writing with his own hand in closing every letter, even in those letters (Rom., 2 Cor., Eph., Phil., 1 Thess.) wherein he does not specify his having done so.

So I write - so I sign: this is a specimen of my handwriting, by which to distinguish my genuine letters from forgeries.

Verse 18

He closes every letter by praying for GRACE to "all" those whom he addresses, even to those who incurred his reproof: a significant addition to 1 Thessalonians 5:28.

Amen. So A C Delta G f g. Omitted in 'Aleph (') B. Perhaps the response of the congregation after hearing the letter read publicly.

The subscription is spurious, as the letter was written, not "from Athens," but from Corinth.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-thessalonians-3.html. 1871-8.
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