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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Thessalonians 1

Verse 1

1. Paul Introducing the same apostolic triad as 1 Thessalonians 1:1, (where see notes,) with the same omission of apostolic title.

In God our Father and the (no article in Greek) Lord Jesus Christ Not from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ; but from God, Father of us and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 3

1. Thanks for their progress and firmness in persecutions which firmness is a premonition of divine justice at Christ’s coming, 2 Thessalonians 1:3-53.1.6.

3. Bound to thank For abundant graces and progresses impose a weight of obligation to thank.

Because Depends upon meet.

Faith Firm conviction of the truth, and self-committal to the cause of Christianity.

Groweth Trial did but confirm faith, and unite them in closer charity (more truly love) to each other.

Verse 5

5. Which Refers to their firm faith in the face of persecutions. It was a divine token, a premonition of the righteous judgment of God to be executed at the advent.

That To the end, or with the result that, so far as you are concerned, ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of glory.

Verse 6

6. Recompense Repay, like for like. For the individual, retaliation is no law. But for government, divine or human, it is a measure of righteousness.

Tribulation… trouble The same word in Greek for both; God repays trouble for trouble. The sinner is paid in kind, to teach the universe that sin and misery are inseparably one.

Verse 6

6. Recompense Repay, like for like. For the individual, retaliation is no law. But for government, divine or human, it is a measure of righteousness.

Tribulation… trouble The same word in Greek for both; God repays trouble for trouble. The sinner is paid in kind, to teach the universe that sin and misery are inseparably one.

Verse 7

2. Vivid description of the infliction of justice at the parousia, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-53.1.10.

7. And It is rightful for God to repay to you who are troubled by persecutors, a rest, repose, a relaxation from an overstrain. The Greek word for rest is literally applied to the remission of a musical chord after it has been strained. Here it is applied to the repose of paradise after the overstrain, that is, the toils, the persecutions, the martyrdoms of Christian earthly life. It is the reposeful side of future blessedness, the active side of which is glory. Compare 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2Co 7:5 ; 2 Corinthians 8:13; and the analogous expression, Acts 3:19.

With us Your apostolic fellow-sufferers.

When… from heaven Literal Greek, at the revelation (apocalypse) of the Lord Jesus from heaven. The picture is, of the person of Christ as revealing itself through the opening sky to human eyes. It is vividly given by John, Revelation 1:7. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:7.

Mighty angels Greek, angels of his power. The might belongs not to the angels, but to him. They are the offspring and instruments of his power. Their glorious procession, as his advance hosts, is a display of his power. Note on 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

Verse 8

8. In flaming fire Greek, in a fire (consisting) of flame; in a pure fiery flame. Not the penal fire of gehenna, but the resplendent and consuming blaze of his glorious epiphany. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Taking vengeance More literally, administering retribution.

Them The troublers, who are divided (as the repeated Greek article shows) into two classes, the pagans who ignore God, and the Jews who reject his Son Messiah.

Know not God Specifically applied to the Gentiles in 1 Thessalonians 4:5. They once in former ages knew God; they then began to bow in reverence to finite material or animal representatives of God; and they then lost sight of the Infinite in the finite, first forming finite living gods, as in classic mythology, and last, holding the worshipped object or idol as a god, as in fetichism.

Obey not the gospel Messiah’s glad announcement. Descriptive, especially, of the Jews rejecting their own Christ. Romans 10:3; Romans 10:16; Romans 10:21.

Lord Jesus Christ Repeated from 2 Thessalonians 1:7. The rejected one is the avenging one.

Verse 9

9. Who shall be punished Shall satisfy justice. The verb τισουσιν is in the active voice. It signifies: 1. To honour, to reverence. 2. To honour by making atoning, satisfying compensation. 3. To satisfy judicially, by undergoing ( δικην , the noun here) justice. Who shall undergo justice, namely, everlasting destruction; standing in opposition with, as explanatory of, the suffered justice or punishment. Destruction is not annihilation, that is, of the ultimate particles or essence of an object. Its normal meaning, however, is such a separation of the parts or constituents of the individual as to result in the cessation of his organic, individual existence.

From the presence Beware of understanding the destruction as issuing from his person, or produced by its blazing splendour, or executed by his hand. This is not that mystical descent to the earth, as warrior and destroyer, in Revelation 19:11-66.19.21, but the judicial coming of Matthew 25:31-40.25.46, and Revelation 20:11. The from, therefore, is identical with that of “depart from me, ye cursed,” etc., Matthew 25:41. Banishment from the gracious face of the Redeemer is the doom of the reprobate.

From the glory of his power That glory which is manifested in the exertion and exhibition of his power in raising the dead, judging the world, and bestowing eternal life on all his saints. Far removed alike from his smiling face and his glorious manifestation of power, the reprobate’s doom is in distance and darkness.

Verse 10

10. Shall come to be This is the primary purpose of his coming, salvation to the saints; the previous execution of wrath is in their and his own vindication.

Glorified in his saints In and for the glory with which he invests them. The glory he sheds upon them reflects back in his being glorified in them.

To be admired To be gazed upon with enraptured wonder as the most glorious object in the universe.

In all them that believe Not among those that believe, nor in the hearts of those that believe; but in the glory he confers on them that believe.

Because Explaining his special allusion to them that believe, and thus bringing the whole scene home to the Thessalonians.

Our testimony To the Messiahship, the gospel, and final advent of Jesus.

Was believed When first we brought it to Thessalonica, it was rejected by many, but accepted by you.

In that day When these great events shall be transacted.

Verse 11

3. Prayer for their salvation, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-53.1.12.

11. Wherefore Rather, To which end; that is, the end of Christ’s being finally admired in you.

Also we pray… for you As well as glory in you, 2 Thessalonians 1:4.

This calling The calling to be glorified in, and to glorify, Christ at his coming. This calling was first a call to repentance; next, in consequence of their obedience to the call, it was a calling to holiness and heaven.

Good pleasure Right-seeming.

His goodness From which your calling, election, and glorification result.

Work of faith In which both God and you co-work.

With power To produce holiness here, and holiness and glory hereafter.

Verse 12

12. Name… glorified in you By your examples inducing thousands to turn to Christ.

Ye in him By the beauty of holiness conferred on you here, and glory hereafter.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.