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Bible Commentaries

Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

2 Thessalonians 1

Verses 1-12


This epistle was written by Paul soon after the previous one, and for a reason not very different. Acts 17:0 shows that Paul emphasized the second coming of Christ at Thessalonica, which is corroborated by 1 Thessalonians 1:10 . It grew out of this that the anxiety was felt touching the relation of the dead to the living saints at His coming, which was dealt with in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:12 . But another error arose from the same source which was fostered by the false teachers. These had even forged a letter in Paul’s name, claiming that The Day of the Lord had already come, alarming many and leading them astray (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ). To meet this Paul writes this second letter, the chief interest in which begins at the “Thanksgiving” for their growing faith and abounding love (2 Thessalonians 1:3 ). All this was in the midst of persecutions and afflictions endured because of that faith (2 Thessalonians 1:4 ), and was a token to them that God had counted them worthy of the kingdom of God which was to be set up when Christ came (2 Thessalonians 1:5 ). The church would be at rest with Christ in that “Day” when those who afflicted her would themselves be afflicted (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 ). But the “Day” Paul now has in mind does not synchronize precisely with the coming of the Lord for His church as taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 . In other words, to rehearse what has been taught in other parts of this Commentary, the second coming of Christ is an act of two scenes. There is a “coming” for His church when the latter shall be caught up to meet him in the air, and then, after an interval, how long or short it is impossible to say, there is a “coming” or a “revelation’ in judgment on the unbelieving and wicked nations of Christendom that are left behind. It is this latter aspect of the Second Coming that associated with judgment, which the Old Testament prophets are ever speaking of as “the Day of the Lord.” They say nothing about His coming for His church, as indeed they say nothing about the church, but focus their attention upon the end of the age, when only Israel and the Gentile nations will be on the earth and the church shall have been taken away.

That Paul is speaking of this here is indicated in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 . The Lord Jesus will be “revealed from heaven with the angels of His power” (RV), “rendering vengeance.” This shall take the form of “everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” This is not annihilation, it is well to observe, but conscious separation from him. And the time it will take place is “when he shall have come to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thessalonians 1:10 ). The Greek second aorist tense is used here, indicating that the event spoken of (the glorifying of Christ in His saints) shall have taken place. In other words, it is after the translation of the church, as we understand it, that “the Day of the Lord” is ushered in with all its attendant judgments.

The apostle closes his allusion to these matters with a prayer (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ).


1. What can you recite as to the occasion for this epistle?

2. What shows the boldness of the false teachers in this case?

3. For what does Paul thank God on behalf of the Thessalonian Christians?

4. Of what were their afflictions a token?

5. What can you recite about the second coming of Christ?

6. What do you understand by The Day of the Lord?

7. When will it be ushered in?

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Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.