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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
2 Thessalonians 1



Verse 1

Paul, etc. (Παυλοσ ετχPaulosclass="normal greek">ημων etc.). This address or superscription is identical with that in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 save that our (πατριhēmōn) is added after

Father (patri).

Verse 2

From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (απο τεου πατρος και Κυριου Ιησου Χριστουapo theou patros kai Kuriou Iēsou Christou). These words are not genuine in 1 Thessalonians 1:1, but are here and they appear in all the other Pauline Epistles. Note absence of article both after ενen and αποapo though both God and Lord Jesus Christ are definite. In both cases Jesus Christ is put on a par with God, though not identical. See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:1 for discussion of words, but note difference between en in the sphere of, by the power of, and apo from, as the fountain head and source of grace and peace.

Verse 3

We are bound (οπειλομενopheilomen). Paul feels a sense of obligation to keep on giving thanks to God (ευχαριστειν τωι τεωιeucharistein tōi theōi present infinitive with dative case) because of God‘s continued blessings on the Thessalonians. He uses the same idiom again in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and nowhere else in his thanksgivings. It is not necessity (δειdei) that Paul here notes, but a sense of personal obligation as in 1 John 2:6 (Milligan).

Even as it is meet (κατως αχιον εστινkathōs axion estin). ΟπειλομενOpheilomen points to the divine, αχιονaxion to the human side of the obligation (Lightfoot), perhaps to cheer the fainthearted in a possible letter to him in reply to Paul‘s First Thessalonian epistle (Milligan). This adjective αχιοςaxios is from αγωagō to drag down the scales, and so weighty, worthy, worthwhile, old word and appropriate here.

For that your faith groweth exceedingly (οτι υπεραυχανει η πιστις υμωνhoti huperauxanei hē pistis humōn). Causal use of οτιhoti referring to the obligation stated in οπειλομενopheilomen The verb υπεραυχανωhuperauxanō is one of Paul‘s frequent compounds in υπερhuper (υπερβαινωhupeṙbainō 1 Thessalonians 4:6; υπερεκτεινωhupeṙek̇teinō 2 Corinthians 10:14; υπερεντυγχανωhupeṙeṅtugchanō Romans 8:26; υπερνικαωhupeṙnikaō Romans 8:37; υπερπλεοναζωhupeṙpleonazō 1 Timothy 1:14) and occurs only here in N.T. and rare elsewhere (Galen, Dio Cass.). Figure of the tree of faith growing above (υπερhuper) measure. Cf. parable of Jesus about faith-like a grain of mustard seed (Matthew 13:31.).

Aboundeth (πλεοναζειpleonazei). Same verb in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, here a fulfilment of the prayer made there. Milligan finds diffusive growth of love in this word because of “each one” (ενος εκαστουhenos hekastou). Frame finds in this fulfilment of the prayer of 1 Thessalonians 3:12 one proof that II Thessalonians is later than I Thessalonians.

Verse 4

So that (ωστεhōste). Another example of ωστεhōste and the infinitive (ενκαυχασταιenkauchāsthai) for result as in 1 Thessalonians 1:7 which see.

We ourselves (αυτους ημαςautous hēmas). Accusative of general reference with the infinitive, but not merely ημαςhēmās (or εαυτουςheautous), perhaps in contrast with εν υμινen humin (in you), as much as to say, “so that we ourselves, contrary to your expectations, are boasting” (Frame). ΕνκαυχαομαιEnkauchaomai occurs here alone in N.T., but is found in the lxx and in Aesop‘s Fables, proof enough of its vernacular use. Paul was not above praising one church to other churches, to provoke them to good works. Here he is boasting of Thessalonica in Macedonia to the Corinthians as he did later to the Corinthians about the collection (2 Corinthians 8:1-15) after having first boasted to the Macedonians about the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:1-5). There were other churches in Achaia besides Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:1).

For (υπερhuper). Over, about, like περιperi (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

In all your persecutions (εν πασιν τοις διωγμοις υμωνen pasin tois diōgmois humōn). Their patience and faith had already attracted Paul‘s attention (1 Thessalonians 1:3) and their tribulations τλιπσεσινthlipsesin (1 Thessalonians 1:6). Here Paul adds the more specific term διωγμοςdiōgmos old word from διωκωdiōkō to chase, to pursue, a word used by Paul of his treatment in Corinth (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Which ye endure (αις ανεχεστεhais anechesthe). B here reads ενεχεστεenechesthe to be entangled in, to be held in as in Galatians 5:1, but ανεχεστεanechesthe is probably correct and the αιςhais is probably attracted to locative case of τλιπσεσινthlipsesin from the ablative ωνhōn after ανεχεστεanechesthe from which ye hold yourselves back (cf. Colossians 3:13).

Verse 5

A manifest token of the righteous judgment of God (ενδειγμα της δικαιας κρισεως του τεουendeigma tēs dikaias kriseōs tou theou). Old word from ενδεικνυμιendeiknumi to point out, result reached (μα̇ma), a thing proved. It is either in the accusative of general reference in apposition with the preceding clause as in Romans 8:3; Romans 12:1, or in the nominative absolute when ο εστινho estin if supplied, would explain it as in Philemon 1:28. This righteous judgment is future and final (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

To the end that you may be counted worthy (εις το καταχιωτηναι υμαςeis to kataxiōthēnai humas). Another example of εις τοeis to for purpose with first aorist passive infinitive from καταχιοωkataxioō old verb, with accusative of general reference υμαςhumas and followed by the genitive της βασιλειαςtēs basileias (kingdom of God). See note on 1 Thessalonians 2:12 for kingdom of God.

For which ye also suffer (υπερ ης και πασχετεhuper hēs kai paschete). Ye also as well as we and the present tense means that it is still going on.

Verse 6

If so be that it is a righteous thing with God (ειπερ δικαιον παρα τεωιeiper dikaion para theōi). Condition of first class, determined as fulfilled, assumed as true, but with ειπερeiper (if on the whole, provided that) as in Romans 8:9, Romans 8:17, and with no copula expressed. A righteous thing “with God” means by the side of God (παρα τεωιpara theōi) and so from God‘s standpoint. This is as near to the idea of absolute right as it is possible to attain. Note the phrase in 2 Thessalonians 1:5.

To recompense affliction to them that afflict you (ανταποδουναι τοις τλιβουσιν ημας τλιπσινantapodounai tois thlibousin hēmās thlipsin). Second aorist active infinitive of double compound ανταποδιδωμιanṫapodidōmi old verb, either in good sense as in 1 Thessalonians 3:9 or in bad sense as here. Paul is certain of this principle, though he puts it conditionally.

Verse 7

Rest with us (ανεσιν μετ ημωνanesin meth' hēmōn). Let up, release. Old word from ανιημιaniēmi from troubles here (2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13), and hereafter as in this verse. Vivid word. They shared suffering with Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:5) and so they will share (μετmeth') the rest.

At the revelation of the Lord Jesus (εν τηι αποκαλυπσει του Κυριου Ιησουen tēi apokalupsei tou Kuriou Iēsou). Here the ΠαρουσιαParousia (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23) is pictured as a Revelation (Un-veiling, αποκαλυπσιςapȯkalupsis) of the Messiah as in 1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 1:13 (cf. Luke 17:30). At this Unveiling of the Messiah there will come the recompense (2 Thessalonians 1:6) to the persecutors and the rest from the persecutions. This Revelation will be from heaven (απ ουρανουap' ouranou) as to place and with the angels of his power (μετ αγγελων δυναμεως αυτουmet' aggelōn dunameōs autou) as the retinue and in flaming fire (εν πυρι πλογοςen puri phlogos in a fire of flame, fire characterized by flame). In Acts 7:30 the text is flame of fire where πυροςpuros is genitive (like Isaiah 66:15) rather than πλογοςphlogos as here (Exodus 3:2).

Verse 8

Rendering (διδοντοςdidontos). Genitive of present active participle of διδωμιdidōmi to give, agreeing with ΙησουIēsou

Vengeance (εκδικησινekdikēsin). Late word from εκδικεωekdikeō to vindicate, in Polybius and lxx.

To them that know not God (τοις μη ειδοσιν τεονtois mē eidosin theon). Dative plural of perfect active participle ειδωςeidōs Apparently chiefly Gentiles in mind (1 Thessalonians 4:3; Galatians 4:8; Romans 1:28; Ephesians 2:12), though Jews are also guilty of wilful ignorance of God (Romans 2:14).

And to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus (και τοις μη υπακουουσιν τωι ευαγγελιωι του κυριου ημων Ιησουkai tois mē hupakouousin tōi euaggeliōi tou kuriou hēmōn Iēsou). Repetition of the article looks like another class and so Jews (Romans 10:16). Both Jews as instigators and Gentiles as officials (πολιταρχςpolitarchs) were involved in the persecution in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6). Note the use of “gospel” here as in Mark 1:15 “believe in the gospel.”

Verse 9

Who (οιτινεςhoitines). Qualitative use, such as. Vanishing in papyri though surviving in Paul (1 Corinthians 3:17; Romans 1:25; Galatians 4:26; Philemon 4:3).

Shall suffer punishment (δικην τισουσινdikēn tisousin). Future active of old verb τινωtinō to pay penalty (δικηνdikēn right, justice), here only in N.T., but αποτινωapotinō once also to repay Philemon 1:19. In the papyri δικηdikē is used for a case or process in law. This is the regular phrase in classic writers for paying the penalty.

Eternal destruction (ολετρον αιωνιονolethron aiōnion). Accusative case in apposition with δικηνdikēn (penalty). This phrase does not appear elsewhere in the N.T., but is in 4 Maccabees 10:15 τον αιωνιον του τυραννου ολετρονton aiōnion tou turannou olethron the eternal destruction of the tyrant (Antiochus Epiphanes). Destruction (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3) does not mean here annihilation, but, as Paul proceeds to show, separation from the face of the Lord (απο προσωπου του κυριουapo prosōpou tou kuriou) and from the glory of his might (και απο της δοχης της ισχυος αυτουkai apo tēs doxēs tēs ischuos autou), an eternity of woe such as befell Antiochus Epiphanes. ΑιωνιοςAiōnios in itself only means age-long and papyri and inscriptions give it in the weakened sense of a Caesar‘s life (Milligan), but Paul means by age-long the coming age in contrast with this age, as eternal as the New Testament knows how to make it. See note on Matthew 25:46 for use of aiōnios both with zōēn life, and αιωνιοςkolasin punishment.

Verse 10

When he shall come (οταν ελτηιhotan elthēi). Second aorist active subjunctive with οτανhotan future and indefinite temporal clause (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 971ff.) coincident with εν τηι αποκαλυπσειen tēi apokalupsei in 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

To be glorified (ενδοχαστηναιendoxasthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive (purpose) of ενδοχαζωendoxazō late verb, in N.T. only here and 2 Thessalonians 1:12, in lxx and papyri.

In his saints (εν τοις αγιοις αυτουen tois hagiois autou). The sphere in which Christ will find his glory at the Revelation.

And to be marvelled at (και ταυμαστηναιkai thaumasthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive (purpose), common verb ταυμαζωthaumazō

That believed (τοις πιστευσασινtois pisteusasin). Why aorist active participle instead of present active πιστευουσινpisteuousin (that believe)? Frame thinks that Paul thus reassures those who believed his message when there (1 Thessalonians 1:6.; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.). The parenthetical clause, though difficult, falls in with this idea:

Because our testimony unto you was believed (οτι επιστευτη το μαρτυριον ημων επ υμαςhoti episteuthē to marturion hēmōn Ephesians' humas). Moffatt calls it an anti-climax.

On that day (εν τηι ημεραι εκεινηιen tēi hēmerāi ekeinēi). The day of Christ‘s coming (2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8).

Verse 11

To which end (εις οeis ho). So Colossians 1:29. Probably purpose with reference to the contents of 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10. We have had the Thanksgiving (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10) in a long, complicated, but rich period or sentence. Now he makes a brief Prayer (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12) that God will fulfil all their hopes and endeavours. Paul and his colleagues can still pray for them though no longer with them (Moffatt).

That (ιναhina). Common after προσευχομαιproseuchomai (Colossians 4:3; Ephesians 1:17; Philemon 1:9) when the content of the prayer blends with the purpose (purport and purpose).

Count you worthy (υμας αχιωσηιhumas axiōsēi). Causative verb (aorist active subjunctive) like καταχιοωkataxioō in 2 Thessalonians 1:5 with genitive.

Of your calling (της κλησεωςtēs klēseōs). ΚλησιςKlēsis can apply to the beginning as in 1 Corinthians 1:26; Romans 11:29, but it can also apply to the final issue as in Philemon 3:14; Hebrews 3:1. Both ideas may be here. It is God‘s calling of the Thessalonians.

And fulfil every desire of goodness (και πληρωσηι πασαν ευδοκιαν αγατωσυνηςkai plērōsēi pasan eudokian agathōsunēs). “Whom he counts worthy he first makes worthy” (Lillie). Yes, in purpose, but the wonder and the glory of it all is that God begins to count us worthy in Christ before the process is completed in Christ (Romans 8:29.). But God will see it through and so Paul prays to God. ΕυδοκιαEudokia (cf. Luke 2:14) is more than mere desire, rather good pleasure, God‘s purpose of goodness, not in ancient Greek, only in lxx and N.T. ΑγατωσυνηAgathōsunē like a dozen other words in συνη̇sunē occurs only in late Greek. This word occurs only in lxx, N.T., writings based on them. It is made from αγατοςagathos good, akin to αγαμαιagamai to admire. May the Thessalonians find delight in goodness, a worthy and pertinent prayer.

Work of faith (εργον πιστεωςergon pisteōs). The same phrase in 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Paul prays for rich fruition of what he had seen in the beginning. Work marked by faith, springs from faith, sustained by faith.

With power (εν δυναμειen dunamei). In power. Connect with πληρωσηιplērōsēi (fulfil), God‘s power (Romans 1:29; Colossians 1:4) in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:24) through the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Verse 12

That (οπωςhopōs). Rare with Paul compared with ιναhina (1 Corinthians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 8:14). Perhaps here for variety (dependent on ιναhina clause in 2 Thessalonians 1:11).

The name (το ονομαto onoma). The Old Testament (lxx) uses ονομαonoma embodying the revealed character of Jehovah. So here the Name of our Lord Jesus means the Messiahship and Lordship of Jesus. The common Greek idiom of ονομαonoma for title or dignity as in the papyri (Milligan) is not quite this idiom. The papyri also give examples of ονομαonoma for person as in O.T. and Acts 1:15 (Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 196ff.).

In you, and ye in him (εν υμιν και υμεις εν αυτωιen huminκατα την χαρινkai humeis en autōi). This reciprocal glorying is Pauline, but it is also like Christ‘s figure of the vine and the branches in John 15:1-11.

According to the grace (του τεου ημων και κυριου Ιησου Χριστουkata tēn charin). Not merely standard, but also aim (Robertson, Grammar, p. 609).

Of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (τεουtou theou hēmōn kai kuriou Iēsou Christou). Here strict syntax requires, since there is only one article with κυριουtheou and Κυριοςkuriou that one person be meant, Jesus Christ, as is certainly true in Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 (Robertson, Grammar, p.786). This otherwise conclusive syntactical argument, admitted by Schmiedel, is weakened a bit by the fact that σωτηρKurios is often employed as a proper name without the article, a thing not true of εν τηι βασιλειαι του Χριστου και τεουsōtēr in Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1. So in Ephesians 5:5 τεοςen tēi basileiāi tou Christou kai theou the natural meaning is in the Kingdom of Christ and God regarded as one, but here again Κυριοςtheos like Kurios often occurs as a proper name without the article. So it has to be admitted that here Paul may mean “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” though he may also mean “according to the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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