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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
2 Thessalonians 2



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Verse 1

By the coming ( ὑπὲρ )

More correctly touching. Comp. Romans 9:27; 2 Corinthians 1:8. Ὑπὲρ never in N.T. in a formula of swearing.

Gathering together ( ἐπισυναγωγῆς )

Only here and Hebrews 10:25. The verb ἐπισυνάγειν 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 Maccabees 2:7.

Verse 2

Shaken ( σαλευθῆναι )

From σάλος 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 ( ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς )

More correctly, from your mind. Νοῦς 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 ( θρεῖσθαι )

From θροός clamor, tumult. The meaning is be unsettled or thrown into confusion.

By spirit ( διὰ πνεύματος )

By prophetic utterances of individuals in Christian assemblies, claiming the authority of divine revelations.

By word ( διὰ λόγου )

Oral expressions falsely imputed to Paul.

By letter as from us ( δἰ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς δἰ ἡμῶν )

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 ( ὡς ὅτι )

Indicating the contents of such communications.

Is at hand ( ἐνέστηκεν )

Better than Rev. is now present. Lightfoot, happily, is imminent.

Verse 3

Deceive ( ἐξαπατήσῃ )

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 ( ἀποστασία )

Only here and Acts 21:21. Comp. lxx, Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19.

The man of sin - the son of perdition ( ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας )

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, olxx: τέκνα ἄπωλείας childrenof 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 ( λεγόμενον θεὸν )

Above the true God and the false gods. The opposer claims divine honors for himself.

That is worshipped ( σέβασμα )

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

Temple of God

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

Shewing ( ἀποδεικνύντα )

Publicly asserting divine dignity. Rev. setting himself forth as God.

Verse 6

What withholdeth ( τὸ κατέχον )

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 ( ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ καιρῷ )

Better, in his own season, Not before his appointed season.

Verse 7

Mystery of iniquity ( μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας )

Better, of lawlessness. The phrase is unique in N.T. and olxx. 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, emphasizing the concealed character of the evil power.

Only ( μόνον )

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 ( κατέχων )

The same word as restraineth, 2 Thessalonians 2:6. Let is old English for hinder, 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, iii. 1.

“I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.”

Hamlet i. 4.

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

Verse 8

Consume ( ἀνελεῖ )

Better, slay, as Matthew 2:16; Luke 22:2; Acts 5:33.

Spirit ( πνεύματι )

Better, breath. Πνεῦμα , almost always translated spirit, is from πνεῖν tobreathe or blow. Frequent in class. in this sense. Comp. John 3:8; Hebrews 1:7. lxx, Psalm 147:7; Ep. of Romans href="/desk/?q=ro+8:4&sr=1">Romans 8:4.

Shall destroy ( καταργήσει )

See on cumbereth, Luke 13:7and see on make without effect, Romans 3:3.

With the brightness ( τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ )

See on 1 Timothy 6:14. Rev., correctly, manifestation. See lxx, Esther 5:1; Amos 5:22; 3 Maccabees 2:9. In class. (but late) of deities appearing to a worshipper (Plut. Themistocles, 30): of the sudden appearance of an enemy (Polyb. i. 54,2): of a manifestation of Providence (Diod. Sic. i. 15): of the heathen gods assuming shape and appearing in order to work mischief (Just. Mart. Apol. i. 5). In N.T. of the parousia. See 1Timothy href="/desk/?q=1ti+6:14&sr=1">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 ἐπιφαίνω , Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4. Only here in Paul.

Coming ( παρουσίας )

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. Ενέργεια Popower in exercise, used only of superhuman power. See Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:12.

Signs and lying wonders ( σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους )

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 see on mighty works, Matthew 11:20.

Verse 10

Deceivableness of unrighteousness ( ἀπάτῃ ἀδικίας )

Better deceit of unrighteousness; which is characteristic of unrighteousness and is employed by it.

Verse 11

Strong delusion ( ἐνέργειαν πλάνης )

Rev., literally and correctly, a working of error. See on working 2 Thessalonians 2:9. The phrase is unique in N.T. It means an active power of misleading. For πλάνη errorwhich shows itself in action, see on 1 Thessalonians 2:3.

A lie ( τῷ ψεύδει )

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 2 Thessalonians 2:12. All wrongdoing has an element of falsity.

Verse 12

Might be damned ( κριθῶσιν )

More correctly, judged. See on damnation, 1 Timothy 5:12.

Verse 13

Hath chosen ( εἵλατο )

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. Philemon 1:22; Hebrews 11:25.

From the beginning ( ἀπ ' ἀρχῆς )

Not elsewhere in Paul. His usual expressions are πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων beforethe ages (1 Corinthians 2:7): πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου beforethe foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4): ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων fromthe ages (Ephesians 3:9). Before eternal times ( πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων ) is found 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2.

Verse 14

Our gospel

See on 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

Verse 15

Traditions ( παραδόσεις )

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 ( παραδίδωμι ) a message received from some one else. See 1 Corinthians 11:23. The prominent idea of παράδοσις is therefore that of an authority external to the teacher. Comp. by word nor by letter, 2 Thessalonians 2:2.

Verse 16

Through grace ( ἐν χάριτι )

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


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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