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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 3

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-18

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 . Finally, brethren, pray for us. This request is of constant occurrence. Ephesians 6:18-19. Paul often ascribes his preservation to the prayers of the saints. He solicits prayer that the Lord would go before his messengers in all places, and clear the race ground of all opposing powers, that the word might be glorified in the conversion of multitudes. His personal preservation he makes but a secondary consideration, to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom. For all men, high pretenders to the law of Moses, have not faith, being destitute of probity, truth, and justice. They obstruct our course, and fight against God.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 . The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, by a thorough conviction of sin, and by a manifestation of his pardoning mercy. Romans 5:5. Also by causing your love to him to abound yet more and more, in return for all his kindness towards you, that by daily receiving earnests of heaven, you may not faint in waiting for Christ’s appearing. The husbandman, after all his labours in the field, is obliged to wait the appointed months of harvest.

It is here observable, that the sacred Trinity is distinctly recognized in the great work of human redemption. The Lord the Spirit is invoked for his abiding influences on the hearts of his people. God the Father, the fountain and origin of grace and mercy, is to be the object of their supreme affection and adoration; while Christ the Saviour is to be expected and waited for from heaven, as the consummation of all their hopes. Nor is it to be forgotten, that so long as there is any remaining depravity within us, it will tend to abate the ardour of spiritual affections, and to alienate us from the life of God, so as to require the renewed and constant influence of the Holy Spirit to give a new direction and impulse to our affections, that we may be guided and kept in the love of God, and in the lively hope of the second advent. No christian can go on well, unless “the inner man be renewed day by day.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6 . We command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly. Otherwise, by associating with such a one, you justify his conduct, and become partakers of his sin. You make the church also to cover the defects of which the public complain; but if he be a penitent, and exhibit the fruits of repentance, then the church may own him as a son. In all the churches St. Paul left a written code for the regulation of their conduct. He exhorts them however to admonish him as a brother, and not to treat him as an alien: 2 Thessalonians 3:15.

2 Thessalonians 3:8 . We wrought with labour night and day. This humiliating circumstance is frequently referred to, and must be regarded as a singular instance of self-denial in the primitive ministers, who were prepared for any sacrifice in order to disseminate the gospel. Act 18:3 , 1 Corinthians 9:6.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 . This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Here we find in the critics a fine ado. Sixtus, of Sienna in Italy, gives us five columns in defence of the monks, that they ought to eat, though they do not work. He pleads the approbation of Augustine, but in his days monkery was of small account. He also pleads that they do work, in singing psalms at the altar; that they acquire learning and defend religion. He uses rough language against Wickliffe, Luther, Calvin, and other heretics, as the papists always call them, who have written against the monkish habits of life. His best argument is, that the monks were poor and aged, and really could not work for their bread.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 . Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace, by an influx of his divine serenity let down into your heart and mind, and that all the reconciliation procured by the mediation of the Saviour may be communicated to your conscience, and followed by peace and quiet in your worship, and among yourselves.

2 Thessalonians 3:17 . The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. That is, he wrote the last verse, and signed it. There was probably something remarkable in his autograph. Tertullian, in his apology, remarks that in his time, the churches had preserved the originals of Paul’s epistles. The ancients preserved the holy scriptures with the greatest care. The writers by profession made the most beautiful manuscripts that can be conceived, as is remarked by Rollin in his work on Les Belles Lettres: and in reading Dr. George Hickes’s treasures of Saxon literature, I found fac similes of manuscripts which must have been written in England, whose beauty it is scarcely possible to exceed.

2 Thessalonians 3:18 . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. St. Paul generally begins and closes his epistles with apostolic benedictions. He blesses the churches out of the fulness of his heart.

“The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens.” Most versions say the same. But Syrus, a man profoundly learned in the Greek and Hebrew scriptures, contends that it was written from Laodicea, and sent by Tychicus.


The apostle having given the brethren a portrait of antichrist, turns all his regards to the building of the true temple, and commences the work, as on the morning of pentecost, by prayer. He asks their prayers, that the gospel might run and be glorified among all the gentiles, even as in their city and province. The mercy he asks for himself is but secondary to the success of the gospel.

While we are praying for ourselves, let us not forget the ministers of Christ. They are but men, and weak as other men; but they have to stand in the front of the battle, and Satan has a peculiar malice against them that they may fall; and then his adherents shout as when a standard-bearer fainteth. Let us pray that their faith and love may abound, that they may be diligent, that they may preach with boldness, that their word may be glorified, or made illustrious and magnified, and that they may be delivered from wicked and unreasonable men.

Ministers must also pray daily for the people. Yea, and sometimes mix the thread of their sermons with prayer, as St. Paul does in his epistles, that God would fill the people’s hearts with love, and direct them into a patient waiting for Christ. Thus the husbandman waiteth for his harvest, and so the good woman cheers herself and her children with the hope of her husband’s return, when he is gone to sea. And the Lord will surely come in his own time.

The honour of a christian society requires them to withdraw themselves from every disorderly walker. The rules are fixed by Christ, our business is to keep them. Hence we should place the disobedient last on the list, and admonish them in the Lord. The paternal vigour of discipline alone can preserve a pure church. The charge to walk uprightly is repeated here, as in all the epistles. This being the only test by which the world can judge of us, the want of it is destructive to religion. It is required of the church to conciliate brotherly affection, and no man without it can be satisfied that he is a child of God. The church should always be like the golden harvest fields, or the ripening fruits of autumn, delightful to the eye.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/2-thessalonians-3.html. 1835.
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