2 Thes 1:1-3:18

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Historical setting[edit]

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Chapter 1[edit]

Chapter 2[edit]

  • 2 Thes 2:1-3: Second Coming. Paul's teaching about the Second Coming in these verses seems incongruent with his words in 1 Thes 5:2-3. In one case he tells the Thessalonians to watch carefully because Christ will come suddenly when you least expect it. On the other hand, he says that the Great Apostasy has to happen first and that they should not be troubled by those who say that the day of Christ is at hand.
When Paul warned the saints in Thessalonica that the day of Christ would come suddenly as a thief in the night and that they should be prepared, they seem to have misunderstood. While he probably meant that they should watch their lives to be “children of the day… not of the night” (1 Thes 5:5) so that they would always be ready for Christ’s coming (if you're always ready, you won't be caught off-guard, if it's always day-time then a thief can't come in the night) some of the Thessalonians took him more literally. They thought that the day of Christ’s coming was imminent. Some even stopped working (see 2 Thes 3:11-12).
So it is that Paul had to reassure the Thessalonians that they should not be soon shaken by spirit, word, or letter as that the day of Christ is at hand. He tells them of one of the things that must happen before the second coming is that there must be a falling away. Since that hadn’t happened yet, it's implied that the second coming has not yet occurred, and may be a ways off yet.
  • 2 Thes 2:2: At hand. The Greek phrase os oti enesteken ("at hand" in the KJV) is rendered "already here" in the NET and NRSV translations, with a similar connotation given by other contemporary translations. If this is the case (though that several modern scholars still defend the meaning given by the KJV), then this verse doesn't eliminate the possibility that Paul believes the Second Coming is imminent, but is clarifying that it has not already happened.

Chapter 3[edit]

Complete outline and page map[edit]

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Points to ponder[edit]

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These are still pointed at Matthew

  • Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
  • NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
  • NIV • New International Version
  • NRSV • New Revised Standard Version
  • RSV • Revised Standard Version

Joseph Smith Translation[edit]

The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to the following verses in 2 Thessalonians. This list is complete:[1]

  • 2 Thes 1:1, 9
  • 2 Thes 2:2-3, 7-9

Cited references[edit]

  • Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2005. (ISBN 1590384393) BX8630 .A2 2005.

Other resources[edit]

  • 2 Thes 2:3. Russell M. Nelson, "The Gathering of Scattered Israel," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 79–82. "All previous dispensations were limited in time and location. They were limited in time because each ended in apostasy. They were limited in location to a relatively small segment of planet earth... This dispensation of the fulness of times would not be limited in time or in location. It would not end in apostasy, and it would fill the world" (see D&C 128:18).


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  1. Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament, p. 288.

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