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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
2 Thessalonians 3

 

 

Verses 13-15

2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 2 Thessalonians 3:15. Hortatory portion of the Epistle.


Introduction

CHAPTER 3

2 Thessalonians 3:3. Instead of the Receptus κύριος, A D* F G 71, Vulg. It. Copt. Arm. in marg. and some Latin Fathers have θεός. Accepted by Lachm. But πιστὸς δέ ἐστιν κύριος does not elsewhere occur, whilst πιστὸς θεός is a usual form. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:13. Therefore the former might have been corrected according to the latter. κύριος is attested by B (e sil.) D*** E K L א, almost all min., most versions, many Greek Fathers, and Hier.—2 Thessalonians 3:5. τὴν ὑπομονήν] The Elz. reads ὑπομονήν. Against all uncial MSS. (also א), most min., and many Greek Fathers.—2 Thessalonians 3:6. Instead of παρέλαβον (D** D*** E K L א*** 23, 31, al., pl. edd. Aeth. Syr. p. Slav. Vulg. Clar. Germ. Bas. [alicubi] al., Cypr. [ter] Lucif. Aug. Ambrosiast. ed. Pelag. received by Matth. and Scholz, preferred also by Reiche), Elz. reads παρέλαβε (very weakly attested, namely, only by 3, 49, 57, 71, Syr.); Lachm. reads παρελάβετε (after B F G 43, al., Copt. Arm. Antonius, Theodoret [sem.], Ambrosiast. ed. Auct. de sing. cler.); Griesbach, Tisch. and Alford read παρελάβοσαν (after A א* Bas.; D* has for it the simple verb ἐλάβοσαν). παρέλαβε and παρελάβετε are corrections, and not so well attested as the third person plural. But the Alexandrian form παρελάβοσαν merits the preference before παρέλαβον, as the less usual form in the N. T., which on that account might easily have led to an alteration.—2 Thessalonians 3:8. Instead of the Receptus νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, B F G א 17, al., Chrys. ms. Damasc. (sem.) have νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας. Received by Lachm. Against the preponderating authority of A D E K L, the great majority of min., and many Fathers, and the probable conformity to 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10.—2 Thessalonians 3:12. Elz. Tisch. 2 read διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ʼιησοῦ χριστοῦ. Lachm. Tisch. 1 and 7, and Alford read ἐν κυρίῳ ʼιησοῦ χριστῷ. The latter is required by A B D* E* F G א* 17, 31, al., Vulg. It. Goth. Copt, al., Damasc. (sem.) Ambrosiast. Aug. Pel—2 Thessalonians 3:13. Elz. reads μὴ ἐκκακήσητε. Instead of this, Lachm. Schott, Tisch. and Alford have preferred μὴ ἐγκακήσητε, after A B D* א (Tisch. 7: μὴ ἐνκακήσητε). But the latter is a probable correction, as the writing ἐκκακεῖν, instead of ἐγκακεῖν, never elsewhere occurs with certainty in the N. T., and is authenticated by the Fathers. Comp. Meyer on 2 Corinthians 4:1.—2 Thessalonians 3:16. Elz. Tisch. 2 and 7 read τρόπῳ. Lachm. and Tisch. 1 read τόπῳ, after A* D* F G, 17, 49, Vulg. It. Goth. Chrys. Ambrosiast. Pel. Commended to attention by Griesb.; already preferred by Piscator, Beza, and Grotius. But τρόπῳ (attested by A** B [e sil.] D*** E K L א, almost all min. Syr. utr. Copt. al. m. Theodoret, Damasc. al.) decidedly merits the preference on account of the sense, and might, on account of the more frequent form ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:8), be easily transformed into τόπῳ. Also Bouman (Chartae theologicae, lib. I. p. 67) considers τρόπῳ as the original; but then he advances the following supposition for the origin of the false reading τόπῳ: “Proxime cum praecessisset διὰ παντός omni tempore, dictionis elegantiam ac concinnitatem hoc requirere putarunt librarii, ut nihil potius adjiceretur quam ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ omni loco; quippe qui temporis ac spatii notiones frequentissime conjungi, pro sua scilicet sapientia, optime novissent.”


Verse 1

2 Thessalonians 3:1. τὸ λοιπόν] see on 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

περὶ ἡμῶν] on our behalf. But the apostle’s wish is completely unselfish, as he refers to the promotion of Christianity, and to himself only so far as he stands in connection with that object.

ἵνα] comp. on 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

λόγος τοῦ κυρίου] Genitivus subjectivus; see on 1 Thessalonians 1:8.

τρέχῃ] may run. A representation of quick and unimpeded advancing.

δοξάζηται] is passive: may he glorified. Pelt erroneously understands it as middle. But the gospel is only glorified when it is recognised as what it is, namely, as a δύναμις θεοῦ εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι (Romans 1:16). Nicolas de Lyra arbitrarily limits the verb to the “miracula, veritatem ejus declarantia.”

καθὼς καὶ πρὸς ὑμᾶς] even as it is among you. A laudatory recognition of the eager desire for salvation, with which the Thessalonians surrendered themselves to the preaching of the gospel. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 ff. The words are closely connected with καὶ δοξάζηται. According to Hofmann, with whom Möller, although wavering, coincides, the words are to be united with τρέχῃ, passing over καὶ δοξάζηται. Incorrectly, because δοξάζηται is a higher idea than τρέχῃ, whilst it adduces that point by which the external act of τρέχειν can only receive its internal value. Accordingly καὶ δοξάζηται is too important to be considered only as a subsidiary point “appended” to τρέχῃ.

πρὸς ὑμᾶς] see on 1 Thessalonians 3:4.


Verses 1-5

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5. Paul requests the Thessalonians to pray that the gospel may be more widely diffused, and that he himself (and his companions) might be delivered from the persecutions to which he was exposed. He then expresses his trust that the Lord will assist the Thessalonians, and also declares his confidence that they will obey his (the apostle’s) commandments, and he unites therewith an additional benediction.


Verse 2

2 Thessalonians 3:2. In deliverance from his adversaries lay the condition that he, the apostle, could work the more effectively for the diffusion of the gospel. Theodoret: διπλῆ μὲν αἴτησις εἶναι δοκεῖ, μία δὲ ὅμως ἐστίν· τῶν γὰρ πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων ἡττωμένων, ἀκωλύτως καὶ τοῦ κηρύγματος συντρέχει λόγος.

ἄτοπος] is used of that which is not in its right place. Used of persons, it denotes one who does or says that which is inappropriate under the circumstances. Thus it is equivalent to ineptus (Cic. de orat. ii. 4). From “propriety” it passes to its wider ethical meaning, and is used of men who act contrary to human or divine laws. Thus it receives the general signification of bad or godless. See examples in Kypke, Observ. II. p. 145 f.; Loesner, and Wetstein.

But the Thessalonian Jews are not to be understood by the ἄτοποι καὶ πονηροὶ ἄνθρωποι, from whose persecution the apostle had already, at an earlier period, frequently suffered (so, as it would seem, Pelt), for their influence hardly extended to Corinth. Persons must be meant who were then present in Corinth itself. But we are not to think on Christians who were only so in name (Zwingli, Musculus, Hemming, Flatt, Schrader, and others), and particularly on false teachers among the Jewish Christians (Schott), but on fanatical Jews.(70) Comp. Acts 18:6; Acts 18:12 ff. That the adversaries of the apostle could not have been already Christians, follows from the inferential clause setting forth the naturalness of the existence of such people, οὐ γὰρ πάντων πίστις, for faith is not an affair of all, i.e. it finds not a place among all, all have not a susceptible heart for it. On the form of the expression, compare the well-known proverb: οὐ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐς κόρινθόν ἐσθʼ πλοῦς (Strabo, viii. 6. 20, ed. Siebenk.; Suidas, T. 2, p. 739.)

πίστις] on account of the article, can only denote the Christian faith simply and generally. To understand the expression of fidelity or honesty, with Schoettgen, Moldenhauer, Koppe, Bolten, Krause, Flatt, and others, is as incorrect as to interpret it of true faith, with Schott. For in the first case οὐ γὰρ πάντες πιστοί would require to have been written, and in the second case οὐ γὰρ πάντων πίστις ἀληθής.


Verse 3

2 Thessalonians 3:3. A contrast to οὐ γὰρ πάντων πίστις, with a play upon the word πίστις, and a return to the statement in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

κύριος] not a designation of God (Schott, Schrader, Olshausen, and Hilgenfeld, Ztschr. f. wiss. Theol., Halle 1862, p. 261), but of Christ. His faithfulness consists in this, that He, as Protector of the church, watches over the continuance of the faith, and effects its diffusion in spite of all ἄτοποι and πονηροί. Strikingly, Calvin: “Ceterum de aliis magis quam de se anxium fuisse Paulum, ostendunt haec ipsa verba. In eum maligni homines improbitatis suae aculeos dirigebant, in eum totus impetus irruebat: curam interea suam ad Thessalonicenses convertit.”

τοῦ πονηροῦ] is, by Calvin, Musculus, Estius, Piscator, Menochius, Nat. Alexander, Benson, Bengel, Baumgarten, Moldenhauer, Macknight, Olshausen, Hofmann, also Cornelius a Lapide, Er. Schmid, and Beza, though not decidedly held by the latter, understood as masculine, accordingly as a designation of the devil. In itself nothing can be objected against this interpretation, as in Matthew 13:19 and elsewhere frequently in the N. T., also with Paul in Ephesians 6:16, πονηρός is found in this sense. But here this interpretation is untenable, because ὃς στηρίξει ὑμᾶς καὶ φμλάξει ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ evidently resumes στηρίξαι ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ ἀγαθῷ, 2 Thessalonians 2:17, and only arranges it positively and negatively. But if τοῦ πονηροῦ corresponds to the negation of the position ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ ἀγαθῷ, it must be neuter, and denote moral evil generally. But it would be arbitrary to make this neuter equivalent to τῶν πονηρῶν ἀνθρώπων, to which Koppe and Flatt give their countenance.


Verse 4

2 Thessalonians 3:4. The apostle has confidence in Christ that He will come to the assistance of the Thessalonians, promoting their faith and protecting them; but he is likewise confident in them, that they on their part will not fail in obedience to the apostle’s commands. Thus the apostle paves the way for a suitable transition to the exhortation in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 ff.

ἐν κυρίῳ] a statement of the element of his confidence annexed to πεποίθαμεν ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, in order to express that the apostle’s confidence in his readers was one founded on Christ, caused by the participation of Christianity. Comp. Galatians 5:10; Philippians 2:24; Romans 14:14.

ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς] see Meyer on 2 Corinthians 2:3.

καὶ ποιεῖτε] does not still belong to the protasis (see Erasmus on the passage), but begins the apodosis.


Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 3:5. A fresh involuntary effusion of piety on the part of the apostle, by means of which he calls down the divine blessing on every action of man as a condition of its success. Theodoret: ʼαμφοτέρων ἡμῖν χρεία, καὶ προθέσεως ἀγαθῆς καὶ τῆς ἄνωθεν συνεργείας. To assume that 2 Thessalonians 3:5 was added by Paul, because he could not yet entirely trust the Thessalonians (de Wette), is without foundation.

κύριος] Christ, as in 2 Thessalonians 3:3-4.

κατευθύναι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ θεοῦ] direct your hearts to the love of God, namely, in order to be filled and pervaded by it, not in order to remain contemplating it (Koppe, Olshausen).

ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ] is not “amor a deo praeceptus” (Clericus), or “amor, quem deus hominum quasi infundit animis” (Pelt), also not the love of God to men, which was to be the pattern for Christian brotherly love (Macknight, Koppe), or, more specially, the manifestation of the love of God in Christ and in His work of redemption (Olshausen, Riggenbach); but love toward God (Gen. object.). Paul wishes the Thessalonians to be inspired with it, because it is the centre uniting all commandments; comp. Matthew 22:37 ff.

καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ χριστοῦ] Oecumenius, Ambrose, Faber Stapulensis, Erasmus, Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide, Beza, Bernard a Piconio, and Benson, to whom recently Hofmann has attached himself, understand by this the patient waiting for Christ, that is, for His coming. Erroneous, because—(1) ἀναμονήν (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10) would require to be written instead of ὑπομονήν; and (2) the idea of patient waiting, by which addition the statement becomes only suitable, would require to be expressly brought forward by an additional clause. The stedfastness of Christ (Gen. possessiv.) is meant, inasmuch as the endurance which the Christian manifests in tribulation for the sake of the gospel is in its nature nothing else than the stedfastness which was peculiar to Christ Himself in His sufferings. Comp. the analogous expression τὰ παθήματα τοῦ χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 1:5, and Meyer in loco. The simple genitive cannot express stedfastness for the sake of Christ, as it is usually explained.


Verse 6

2 Thessalonians 3:6. παραγγέλλομεν δέ] An application of the general παραγγέλλομεν, 2 Thessalonians 3:4, to a special case.

ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ʼι. χρ.] belongs to παραγγέλλομεν, not to what follows. A solemn reference to the high authority for this injunction. Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:4.

στέλλεσθαι ἀπό τινος] to withdraw himself from every one, to avoid his company. Comp. ὑποστέλλειν ἑαυτόν, Galatians 2:12, and ὑποστέλλεσθαι, Hebrews 10:38.

ἀτάκτως] see on 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν, ἣν κ. τ. λ.] refers not to instruction by the example of the apostle (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Hofmann), which is first mentioned in what follows, but to the definite instruction which the apostle had given to them orally, during his presence at Thessalonica (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:11), and then confirmed by writing (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

παρελάβοσαν] A well-known constructio ad sensum adapted to the collective form ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ. See Kühner, II. p. 42.

On the verbal form, comp. Sturz, de dial. Alex. p. 60; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 349.


Verses 6-15

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. Dehortation from a disorderly and idle life in the church. Paul had already touched upon this subject in his First Epistle (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, 1 Thessalonians 5:14). But here it is more expressly treated, and also with greater severity, because, without doubt, in the restless and fanatical excitement of spirits on account of the advent, this evil had greatly increased instead of diminishing. Paul represents the core of the church as free from this fault; he exhorts them to withdraw themselves from every Christian brother living disorderly, in order to bring him to shame and amendment. Only in 2 Thessalonians 3:12 does he direct his apostolic word to the erring brethren themselves.


Verse 7

2 Thessalonians 3:7. Confirmation of κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν, ἣν παρελάβοσαν. The instruction imparted was sufficiently known to the readers: what Paul commanded, he practically exhibited by his own conduct.

αὐτοί] ye yourselves, without it being necessary for me to speak much about it.

πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς] a concise expression, meaning: What is your incumbent walk, and how, in consequence of it, ye will be my imitators.

ὅτι] for. Unnaturally, Hofmann: ὅτι is to be translated by that, and is added as a parallel expression to πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς, in which also 2 Thessalonians 3:9 is absorbed.

ἀτακτεῖν] equal to ἀτάκτως περιπατεῖν, 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Only here in the N. T.


Verse 8

2 Thessalonians 3:8. See on 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

δωρεάν] by way of gift.

ἄρτον φαγεῖν] to eat bread (Mark 3:20; Luke 14:1; ἄρτον ἐσθίειν, Matthew 15:2), has as the Hebrew אָכַל לֶהֶם (Genesis 43:25; 2 Samuel 9:7; Proverbs 23:6, etc.) the idea of eating generally, so that it is not to be distinguished from the simple φαγεῖν (Mark 6:31) or ἐσθίειν (2 Thessalonians 3:10). ἄρτον φαγεῖν παρά τινος denotes: to have maintenance from any one, without care on our part.

ἐργαζόμενοι] is not to be taken in the sense of temp. finit. (Flatt and others), but ἐν κόπῳἐργαζόμενοι is to be taken together, and forms a statement of mode attached to ἄρτον ἐφάγομεν in contrast to δωρεάν. Yet we may, with Winer, p. 314 [E. T. 442], de Wette, and Hofmann, assume that to ἐφάγομεν, as a contrast to δωρεάν, are added first ἐν κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ taking the place of an adverb, and then to this νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν ἐργαζόμενοι as a parallel clause.


Verse 9

2 Thessalonians 3:9. Paul has indeed the right to be maintained by the churches, but he freely renounces this right, in order to present believers with a good example. Comp. 1 Corinthians 9:4 ff.

οὐχ ὅτι] My meaning is by no means that; by no means as if. A restriction of the previous statement, in order to prevent a possible misunderstanding. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 3:12; Philippians 4:11; Philippians 4:17; Hartung, Partikellehre, II. p. 153 f.

ἐξουσίαν] power or authority, sc. τοῦ δωρεὰν φαγεῖν ἄρτον.

ἀλλʼ] sc. ἐν κόπῳ καὶ μόχθῳ νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν ἐργαζόμενοι ἄρτον ἐσθίομεν.

On ἑαυτούς, comp. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 272; Winer, p. 136 [E. T. 187].


Verse 10

2 Thessalonians 3:10. A further reason, along with the example of the apostle, which should preserve them from ἀτάκτως περιπατεῖν.

γάρ] co-ordinate with the γάρ in 2 Thessalonians 3:7. καί cannot serve to bring out ὅτε ἦμεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς (so Hofmann), so that it would be explained, with Theodoret: οὐδὲν καινὸν ὑμῖν γράφομεν, ἀλλʼ ἅπερ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὑμᾶς ἐδιδάξαμεν. For ὅτε ἦμεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς is no new additional idea, but only again resumes what was at least already implied in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8. καί must accordingly be taken with τοῦτο παρηγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, and the emphasis lies on τοῦτο, which is placed first. The meaning is: for even when we were with you, this we commanded you.

τοῦτο] namely, what follows: ὅτι εἴ τις κ. τ. λ.

εἴ τις οὐ θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι, μηδὲ ἐσθιέτω] was a Jewish proverb; see Schoettgen and Wetstein in loco. It has its root in the expression in Genesis 3:19, that man in the sweat of his brow shall eat his bread.

οὐ θέλει] Bengel: Nolle vitium est.


Verse 11

2 Thessalonians 3:11. The reason for reminding them of this saying, 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Arbitrarily, Hofmann: γάρ refers to the whole section 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10. The verb περιεργάζεσθαι is only found here in the N. T. (but comp. περίεργος, 1 Timothy 5:13, and τὰ περίεργα πράσσειν, Acts 19:19). It denotes a bustling disposition, busy in useless and superfluous things, about which one should not trouble himself. Paul thinks on the fanatical excitement, on account of which one busied himself about everything except the fulfilment of the duties of his earthly calling. περιεργαζομένους forms a paronomasia with μηδὲν ἐργαζομένους.(71) Comp. Quintilian, inst. orat. vi. 3. 54: Afer enim venuste Mallium Suram, multum in agendo discursantem, salientem, manus jactantem, togam dejicientem et reponentem, non agere dixit sed satagere.


Verse 12

2 Thessalonians 3:12. καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν] sc. αὐτούς.

μετὰ ἡσυχίας ἐργαζόμενοι] with quietness, i.e. applying yourself to your earthly calling, subjectively with a quiet and collected mind, and objectively with noiseless modesty. Contrast to μηδὲν ἐργάζεσθαι ἀλλὰ περιεργάζεσθαι. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

ἑαυτῶν] emphatic, their own bread, that is to say, their self-earned sustenance, avoiding a maintenance which depends on the charity of others.


Verse 13

2 Thessalonians 3:13. The apostle again turns himself to those who had kept themselves free from this fault.

ἐκκακεῖν] with the following participle (see Kühner, II. p. 369) denotes to be weary in doing something.

καλοποιεῖν] cannot signify “to be charitable” (Calvin, Estius, Flatt, Pelt, de Wette, Bloomfield, Ewald, Bisping, and most critics), so that the sense would be: But suffer not yourselves, through those who abuse your charity, to be restrained from exercising charity in general. The verb can only denote, so act as is right and proper. Comp. Galatians 6:9. As Paul still speaks, even in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, of the special matter which he treated of in the preceding words, καλοποιεῖν cannot be understood in its most general sense, but must be referred to the matter in question. Accordingly, the apostle requires that those who had kept themselves free from this fault should not be weary in doing what is right and proper, that is to say, that they should not suffer themselves to be infected with the evil example given.(72)


Verse 14

2 Thessalonians 3:14. διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς] is, by Nicolas de Lyra, Luther, Calvin, Musculus, Hemming, Bullinger, Lucius Osiander, Balduin, Grotius, Calovius, Clericus, Sebastian Schmid, Bengel, Moldenhauer, Zachariae, Koppe, Krause, Pelt, Winer, p. 108 [E. T. 147], and others, united with what follows. It is usually explained: If any obey not my word, note that man to me in writing, sc. in order that I may direct what punishment is to be inflicted on him. But this interpretation is to be rejected—(1) on account of the article τῆς, which, if unforced, can only denote a definite epistle lying before them, not an epistle to be written only at a later period; (2) as the inversion of the words: διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε, instead of the natural order: τοῦτον διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς σημειοῦσθε, would not be justified; (3) lastly, because it is very improbable that Paul should still have retained for himself a statement of the punishment, as he has already in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 stated the mode of punishment, and again repeated it in this verse, commanding them to withdraw from the society of every brother acting contrary to his admonitions. But interpretations in this connection, as that of Bengel: “notate notâ censoriâ, hanc epistolam, ejus admonendi causa, adhibentes eique inculcantes, ut, aliorum judicio perspecto, se demittat,” or that of Pelt: “eum hac epistola freti severius tractate,” alter the idea of the verb σημειοῦσθαι. We are obliged to unite διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς with τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν. So, correctly, Chrysostom, Clarius, Estius, Piscator, Andrew Osiander, Aretius, Menochius, Vorstius, Cornelius a Lapide, Beza, Fromond., Hammond, Nat. Alexander, Joachim Lange, Harduin, Whitby, Benson, Bolten, Flatt, Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bloomfield, Alford, Ewald, Bisping, Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 80 [E. T. 92]; Hofmann, Riggenbach, and others. It was not necessary to repeat the article τῷ before διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, because τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς is blended into the unity of the idea of a written command. Comp. Winer, p. 123 [E. T. 169]. ἐπιστολή denotes the definite Epistle, i.e. our Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:27; Romans 16:22; Colossians 4:16); and the command expressed by that Epistle is the admonition in 2 Thessalonians 3:12. The meaning is: But if any one acts contrary to my prohibition repeated in this Epistle, note that man, i.e. mark him, sc. in order to avoid intercourse with him (comp. 1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11), and thereby to bring him to shame (and amendment); as Paul, explaining himself, expressly adds: καὶ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθε αὐτῷ, ἵνα ἐντραπῇ. This meaning also remains, if, instead of the Receptus καὶ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθε, we read, with Lachmann and Tischendorf 1, after A B D* א, the infinitive μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι, only the form of expression being changed.

ἐντραπῇ] is passive, not middle (Pelt). Comp. Titus 2:8; 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:24.


Verse 15

2 Thessalonians 3:15. But no hostile feeling against the erring was to be conjoined with this avoidance of social intercourse; on the contrary, as he is a Christian brother, advice and admonition are not to be omitted in order to convert him from his error by convincing reasons.

ὡς] united with ἡγεῖσθαι, otherwise unusual, brings still more prominently forward the subjective notion or representation implied in the verb. In a corresponding manner ὥσπερ occurs with ἡγεῖσθαι in the LXX. Comp. Job 19:11; Job 33:10.


Verse 16

2 Thessalonians 3:16. The apostle, hastening to a conclusion, annexes a benediction to the exhortation. By κύριος τῆς εἰρήνης is meant not God, but Christ, and the genitive designates Him as the Creator and Producer of εἰρήνη.

τῆς εἰρήνης and τὴν εἰρήνην] are usually interpreted, either of mutual harmony or of peace of mind (or even, as e.g. by Schott, of both together, external and internal peace). The first-mentioned interpretation is untenable, because there is in the Epistle not the slightest trace of dissensions in the church; and the shift that the fanatical excitement in the church, and the idleness consequent upon it, might lead to external disquiet, and accordingly the wish of the apostle was occasioned with a view to the future, is far-fetched and arbitrary, because Paul prays for what was immediately to occur. There is nothing against the second interpretation, as calmness of mind or peace of soul is undoubtedly indicated by εἰρήνη (Philippians 4:7). See Meyer and Weiss in loco. Yet it is also admissible to understand εἰρήνη both times (corresponding to the Hebrew שָׁלוֹם; see Fritzsche, ad Rom. I. p. 22 ff.) in the sense of salvation or blessing, and, indeed, on account of the article τῆς and τήν, of the definite,—that is to say, the specifically Christian blessing or salvation. This interpretation is also supported by the fact, that as χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη at the commencement of the apostolic Epistles corresponds to the Salutem or εὖ πράττειν of profane writers, so the apostolic benediction at the conclusion of the Epistles is nothing else than the Christian transformation of the usual Valete or ἔῤῥωσθε.

διὰ παντός] always, Romans 11:10; Matthew 18:10; Acts 2:25.

μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν] accordingly even with the ἀτάκτως περιπατοῦντες.


Verse 17-18

2 Thessalonians 3:17-18. Autographic salutation, with a repeated benediction. Paul had not written the letter with his own hand, but dictated it Comp. Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18.

] does not stand by attraction for ὅς, nor also does it bring forward a simple special point from the foregoing (so Wieseler on Galatians 6:11; and Laurent in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 639; Neutestam. Studien, Gotha 1866, p. 5: “which, namely, the autographic writing”), but it refers to the whole preceding idea: which circumstance of the salutation now written.

σημεῖον] a sign, i. e. a mark of authenticity. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Bullinger, Estius, Piscator, Menochius, Cornelius a Lapide, Er. Schmid, Beza, Joachim Lange, Harduin, Benson, Bengel, Moldenhauer, Zachariae, Baur (Paulus, p. 489), Hofmann, Riggenbach, and most critics, incorrectly find this mark in the addition of the words following in 2 Thessalonians 3:18; for the autographic salutation is expressly designated as this mark. But a salutation and a benediction are different from each other.

ἐν πάσῃ ἐσιστολῇ] in every Epistle, can only be referred to all the Epistles which the apostle has, perhaps, at a later period, still to write to the Thessalonians. For only for the Thessalonians, who had already been actually deceived by a false Pauline Epistle, and led into error, was such a precaution of practical importance against a new deception. Besides, if ἐν πάσῃ ἐπιστολῇ is to be understood absolutely instead of relatively, the autographic salutation would be found in all the Epistles of the apostle. But it is only found in 1 Corinthians 16:21 and Colossians 4:18.

οὕτως γράφω] thus—that is to say, in such characters as are given in 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18

I write. The handwriting of the apostle was accordingly still unknown to the readers. From this it follows, that also the First Epistle to the Thessalonians was not written by the apostle’s own hand. Moreover, Zeltner (de monogrammate Pauli, Altorfii 1721), Bengel, and Moldenhauer erroneously—because transferring a modern custom into antiquity—consider that we are here to think on characters artificially twisted into a monogram by the apostle and rendered incapable of imitation. Against Zeltner, see Wolf, p. 402 ff.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/2-thessalonians-3.html. 1832.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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