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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 2

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

By the coming [υπερ] . More correctly touching. Comp. Romans 9:27;

2 Corinthians 1:8. Uper never in N. T. in a formula of swearing.

Gathering together [επισυναγωγης] . Only here and Hebrews 10:25. The verb ejpisunagein is used, as the noun here, of the Lord 's gathering together his elect at his coming. See Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; comp. 2 Macc. ii. 7.

Verse 2

Shaken [σαλευθηναι] . From salov the tossing or swell of the sea. See Luke 21:25. Comp. Matthew 11:7; Matthew 24:29; Acts 4:31; Hebrews 12:26. In mind [απο του νοος] . More correctly, from your mind. Nouv signifies the judgment, sober sense. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:15, and see on Romans 7:23. They are to "keep their heads" under the temptation to fanatical extravagances concerning the Lord 's appearing.

Be troubled [θρεισθαι] . From qroov clamor, tumult. The meaning is be unsettled or thrown into confusion.

By spirit [δια πνευματος] . By prophetic utterances of individuals in Christian assemblies, claiming the authority of divine revelations.

By word [δια λογου] . Oral expressions falsely imputed to Paul.

By letter as from us [δι επιστολης ως δι ημων] . Const. as from us with word and letter. The reference is to a letter or letters forged in Paul 's name; not to the first Thessalonian Epistle, as misunderstood by the readers.

As that [ως οτι] . Indicating the contents of such communications.

Is at hand [ενεστηκεν] . Better than Rev. is now present. Lightfoot, happily, is imminent.

Verse 3

Deceive [εξαπατηση] . Better beguile; since the word means not only making a false impression, but actually leading astray.

Except there come a falling away. Before except insert in translation the day shall not come. Such ellipses are common in Paul.

Falling away [αποστασια] . Only here and Acts 21:21. Comp. LXX, Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19.

The man of sin - the son of perdition [ο ανθρωπος της ανομιας, ο υιος της απωλειας] . See on children of light, 1 Thessalonians 5:5. The phrase man of sin (lawlessness) does not occur elsewhere, either in N. T. or LXX Son of perdition is found John 17:12, o LXX : tekna apwlei. av children of perdition (A. V. transgression), Isaiah 57:4. The man of sin has been thought to refer to Caligula, Titus, Simon Magus, Nero, the Pope of Rome, Luther, Mahomet, etc.

Verse 4

That is called God [λεγομενον θεον] . Above the true God and the false gods. The opposer claims divine honors for himself.

That is worshipped [σεβασμα] . An object of adoration, including things as well as persons. Only here and Acts 17:23 on which see note under devotions.

Temple of God. According to some, a figure of the Christian Church. Others, the temple of Jerusalem.

Shewing [αποδεικνυντα] . Publicly asserting divine dignity. Rev. setting himself forth as God.

Verse 6

What withholdeth [το κατεχον] . Better restraineth. The verb means to hold fast, as Luke 8:15 : to hold back, as Luke 4:42. See on Romans 1:18. He refers to some power which hinders the revelation of the man of sin or Antichrist.

In his time [εν τω αυτου καιρω] . Better, in his own season, Not before his appointed season.

Verse 7

Mystery of iniquity [μυστηριον της ανομιας] . Better, of lawlessness. The phrase is unique in N. T. and o LXX Mystery is found in various combinations, as mystery of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 13:11; of God, 1 Corinthians 2:1 : of his will, Ephesians 1:9 : of Christ, Ephesians 3:4 : of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19 : of faith, 1 Timothy 3:9 : of godliness, 1 Timothy 3:16 : of the seven stars Revelation 1:20 : of the woman, Revelation 17:7. A mystery does not lie in the obscurity of a thing, but in its secrecy. It is not in the thing, but envelops it. Applied to a truth, it signifies a truth once hidden but now revealed or to be revealed; a truth which without special revelation would be unknown. It is almost universally found in connection with words signifying publication or revelation. See on Matthew 13:11. The mystery of lawlessness is the mass of lawlessness yet hidden, but which is to reveal itself in the person and power of Antichrist. The position of the word is emphatic, emphasising the concealed character of the evil power.

Only [μονον] . The sentence is elliptical : "only we must wait," or "only it must work in secret, until he that letteth," etc. For a similar instance see Galatians 2:10. The collocation of A. V. is wrong.

Letteth [κατεχων] . The same word as restraineth, ver. 6. Let is old English for hipder, prevent. Often in Chaucer.

"May I him lette of that?" (prevent him from it). Troil. and Cress. ii. 732.

"And bothe in love y - like sore they brente (burned) That noon or alle hir (their) frendes might hit lette." Legend of Good Women, 731.

So Shakespeare :

"What lets but one may enter?" Two Gentlemen of Verona, 3 1.

"I'll make a ghost of him that lets me." Hamlet 1 4.

"The flesh resisteth the work of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and lets it." - Latimer, Serm.

Verse 8

Consume [ανελει] . Better, slay, as Matthew 2:16; Luke 22:2; Acts 5:33.

Spirit [πνευματι] . Better, breath. Pneuma, almost always translated spirit, is from pnein to breathe or blow. Frequent in class. in this sense. Comp. John 3:8; Hebrews 1:7. LXX, Psalms 147:7; Ep. of Jer. 61. Philo says "the spirit of God signifies, in one sense, the air, the third element; and it is used in this sense in the beginning of Genesis... for air, being light, is born up, and uses water as its basis. In the other sense it is the pure wisdom in which every wise man participates" (De Gigantibus, 5). See on Romans 8:4.

Shall destroy [καταργησει] . See on cumbereth, Luke 13:7 and make without effect, Romans 3:3.

With the brightness [τη επιφανεια] . See on 1 Timothy 6:14. Rev., correctly, manifestation. See LXX, Esther 5:1; Amos 5:22; Amos 2:0 Macc. 2 21; 3 Macc. 2 9. In class. (but late) of deities appearing to a worshipper (Plut. Themistocles, 30) : of the sudden appearance of an enemy (Polyb. 1 54, 2) : of a manifestation of Providence (Diod. Sic 1:15) : of the heathen gods assuming shape and appearing in order to work mischief (Just. Mart. Revelation 1:5). In N. T. of the parousia. See 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13. In 2 Timothy 1:10, of Christ 's historical manifestation. So ejpifainw, Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4. Only here in Paul.

Coming [παρουσιας] . Or presence, which is the original meaning. In N. T. with a few exceptions, of the second coming of Christ. The combination manifestation of his presence (only here) appears to emphasize the resistless power of the Son of man, not (as Lightfoot) his splendor and glory. The mere appearing of his presence suffices to destroy his adversary.

Verse 9

After the working of Satan. The sense is that the coming of Antichrist proclaims itself to be according to the working of Satan by means of power, signs, etc. 'Energeia P o. power in exercise, used only of superhuman power. See Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:12.

Signs and lying wonders [σημειοις και τερασιν ψευδους] . Lit. signs and wonders of a lie. Of a lie characterizes the three words, power, signs, wonders. All bear the stamp of fraud. For signs and wonders see on Matthew 24:24, and mighty works, Matthew 11:20.

Verse 10

Deceivableness of unrighteousness [απατη αδικιας] . Better deceit of unrighteousness; which is characteristic of unrighteousness and is employed by it.

Verse 11

Strong delusion [ενεργειαν πλανης] . Rev., literally and correctly, a working of error. See on working ver. 9. The phrase is unique in N. T. It means an active power of misleading. For planh error which shows itself in action, see on 1 Thessalonians 2:3.

A lie [τω ψευδει] . Properly, the lie. The article gives the generic sense, falsehood in all its forms. Comp. John 8:44; Romans 1:25; Ephesians 4:25. Comp. the contrast of truth and unrighteousness in ver. 12. All wrongdoing has an element of falsity.

Verse 12

Might be damned (kriqwsin). More correctly, judged. See on damnation, 1 Timothy 5:12. 1 Timothy 5:35

Verse 13

Hath chosen [ειλατο] . The only case in N. T. in which this word is used of God 's election. LXX, Deuteronomy 26:18, of God 's choosing Israel to be his peculiar people. Comp. Philippians 1:22; Hebrews 11:25. From the beginning [απ αρχης] . Not elsewhere in Paul. His usual expressions are pro twn aijwnwn before the ages (1 Corinthians 2:7) : pro katabolhv kosmou before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) : ajpo twn aijwnwn from the ages (Ephesians 3:9). Before eternal times [προ χρονων αιωνιων] is found 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2.

Verse 14

Our gospel. See on 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

Verse 15

Traditions [παραδοσεις] . See on 1 Corinthians 11:2. Not emphasizing a distinction between written and oral tradition. Tradition, in the scriptural sense, may be either written or oral. It implies on the part of a teacher that he is not expressing his own ideas, but is delivering or handing over [παραδιδωμι] a message received from some one else. See 1 Corinthians 11:23. The prominent idea of paradosiv is therefore that of an authority external to the teacher. Comp. by word nor by letter, ver. 2.

Verse 16

Through grace [εν χαριτι] . Better, in grace, as the element of God 's gift. Const. with hath given, not with hath loved and hath given.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/2-thessalonians-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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