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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
2 Thessalonians 3



Verses 1-4

2 Thessalonians 3:1-4. Finally, brethren, pray for us — See on Colossians 4:3; that the word of the Lord may have free course — Greek, τρεχη, may run, go on swiftly without any interruption; and be glorified — Acknowledged as divine, and bring forth much fruit; even as it is with you — This is a very high commendation of the Thessalonian brethren, and was designed to encourage them in their attachment to the gospel. And that we may be delivered — Rescued and preserved; from unreasonable and wicked men — The word ατοπων, rendered unreasonable, properly signifies men who have, or ought to have, no place, namely, in society. Bishop Wilkins thinks that absurd, contumacious persons are intended; such as are not to be fixed by any principles, and whom no topics can work upon. Doubtless the apostle had in his eye chiefly, if not only, the unbelieving Jewish zealots, who were so exceedingly enraged against him for preaching salvation to the Gentiles, without requiring them to obey the law of Moses, that they followed him from place to place, and raised a furious storm of persecution against him wherever they found him, by inflaming both the rulers and the people against him; and they had lately made an insurrection at Corinth, with an intention to have him put to death. For all men have not faith — And all who have not are, more or less, unreasonable and wicked men. By faith, in this passage, it seems we are not to understand the actual belief of the gospel, (for that all men had not that faith was a fact too obvious to be thus noticed by the apostle,) but such a desire to know and do the will of God as would dispose a person to believe and obey the gospel when fairly proposed to him. And it seems, in making this observation, the apostle glances not only at the Jews, who boasted of their faith in the true God, and in the revelation of his will which he had made to them, but at the Greek philosophers likewise, who had assumed to themselves the pompous appellation of lovers of wisdom, or truth. But the Lord is faithful — And will not deceive the confidence, or disappoint the hopes of any that trust in him, and expect the accomplishment of his promises; who shall stablish you — Even all that cleave to him by faith and love; and keep you from evil — From all the mischievous devices of Satan and his instruments, 2 Timothy 4:18. The Greek, απο του πονηρου, is literally, from the evil one; the name given in other passages of Scripture to the devil, Matthew 6:13; Matthew 6:19; Ephesians 6:16. And we have confidence in the Lord — Or we trust in the Lord concerning you, that he will not withhold from you the aids of his grace; that ye both do already, and will do, in future, the things which we command — In thus speaking, the apostle expresses his good opinion of the greater part of the Thessalonian brethren, but not of every one of them without exception, as is plain from 2 Thessalonians 3:11-14.

Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 3:5. And the Lord — By his Holy Spirit, whose proper work this is; direct — Powerfully incline; your hearts unto the love of God — That is, into the exercise of love to God, in return for his love to you; and into the patient waiting for Christ — Namely, the patient waiting for his second coming, or for his coming to call you hence by death, 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Macknight, however, interprets the verse rather differently, thus: “May the Lord direct your heart to imitate the love which God hath showed to mankind, and the patience which Christ exercised under sufferings.” The patience of Christ has this sense Revelation 1:9 : A partaker in the kingdom and patience of Jesus. As the patience of Job means the patience of which Job was so great an example, so the patience of Christ may signify the patience which he exercised in his sufferings.

Verses 6-12

2 Thessalonians 3:6-12. We command you, brethren — We solemnly charge you; in the name of the Lord. (see on 1 Corinthians 5:4,) the credit and progress of whose religion are so nearly concerned in the matter; that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother — Whatever his rank, circumstances, or profession may be; that walketh disorderly — Particularly (as the apostle here means) in not working; that you have no unnecessary converse or society with such. Disorderly persons, ατακτοι, are they who profess to be subject to the discipline of the gospel, yet do not walk according to its precepts. See 1 Thessalonians 5:14. What the apostle here condemned under this description, was idleness, 2 Thessalonians 3:11; and by the solemnity with which he introduces his charge, we are taught, that it is most offensive to God, and dangerous to ourselves and others, to encourage, by our company and conversation, such as live in the practice of that or any gross sin! May all who have a regard to religion attend to this! The same important charge is repeated 2 Thessalonians 3:14. And not after the tradition which ye received of us — The admonition we gave both by word of mouth and in our former epistle. Yourselves know how ye ought to follow — ΄ιμεισθαι, to imitate, us — As if he had said, My own conduct entitles me to rebuke the disorderly; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you — We were not irregular in our conduct, but endeavoured to conduct ourselves so as to recommend and enforce our doctrine by our example. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for naught — Greek, δωρεαν, gratis, or as a free gift, but wrought with labour and travail — Or toil, as μοχθω signifies: night and day — This intimates that the apostle was frequently obliged to work at his business of tent-making a part of the night, that he might be at leisure during the day to preach the word, and teach those that came to him for religious instruction. See on 1 Thessalonians 2:9. Not because we have not power εξουσιαν, authority, or right, to receive a maintenance from those to whom we minister. See on 1 Corinthians 9:4-7. When our Lord first sent out the twelve to preach, he said to them, (Matthew 10:10,) The workman is worthy of his meat; and by so saying conferred on his apostles a right to demand subsistence from those to whom they preached. This right Paul did not insist on among the Thessalonians, but wrought for his maintenance while he preached to them. Lest, however, his enemies might think this an acknowledgment that he was not an apostle, he here asserted his right, and told them that he had demanded no maintenance from them, that he might make himself a pattern to them of prudent industry. This we commanded, that if any among you, capable of working, would not work — For his own maintenance; neither should he eat — Be maintained by the charity of his fellow-Christians; do not support him in idleness. From this precept of the gospel we learn, that all men, without distinction, ought to employ themselves in some business or other which is useful; and that no man is entitled to spend his life in idleness. We hear there are some, &c. — After writing the former epistle, the apostle, it seems, had received a particular account of the state of the Thessalonian church; working not at all, but are busy-bodies — Idleness naturally disposes people to busy themselves with the concerns of others. Such we command and exhort παρακαλουμεν, beseech; by our Lord Jesus — To his command the apostle added earnest entreaty; and he did so by the direction of Christ. Or the meaning may be, We command by the authority, and beseech by the love of our Lord Jesus, that with quietness they work, forbearing to meddle, in any shape, with other people’s affairs.

Verses 13-15

2 Thessalonians 3:13-15. But ye, brethren — Who are not guilty of these, and such like miscarriages; be not weary in well-doing — In pursuing that line of conduct which is reputable and useful, which brings glory to God, and good to mankind. The original expression, μη εκκακησητε, properly signifies, do not flag, through sloth or cowardice. The Thessalonians, therefore, are here cautioned against flagging in the performance of their duty, either to God or their fellow-creatures. If any man obey not our word — Whether spoken to you during our short abode with you, or signified by this, or our former epistle; note that man σημειουσθε, set a mark upon, or point out, that man. Probably he intended that the rulers of the church should point him out to the rest, that they might avoid all familiarity and needless correspondence with him, which is meant by having no company with him; that he may be ashamed — In order that, being shunned by all as an evil-doer, he may be ashamed of his conduct and amend. Yet count him not as an enemy — An obstinate, incurable sinner, no more to be regarded; but admonish him as a brother — Remind him of his duty and danger as a member of the same body with yourselves; or tell him lovingly of the reason why you shun him.

Verse 16-17

2 Thessalonians 3:16-17. Now the Lord of peace himself — See on Romans 15:33; or Christ may be here intended, and called the Lord of peace, in allusion to Isaiah 9:6, where he is foretold under the character of the Prince of peace, because he was to reconcile Jews and Gentiles to God and to one another. Give you peace by all means — In every way and manner. This prayer the apostle subjoins to the foregoing command, to intimate that if the rulers of the church are faithful in their exhortations and admonitions, it is to be expected that the Lord will follow their labours with his blessing, and make them effectual for producing peace and righteousness among the members of his body. The Lord be with you all — A wish this founded on Christ’s promise, (Matthew 28:20,) Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, with which promise it is probable Paul was made acquainted. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand — See on 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; which is the token in every epistle — The mark to know those that are true from such as are counterfeit. So I write — This is my custom in all my epistles.


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

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Saturday, December 5th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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