2 Thes 1:1-3:18
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- 1 Summary
- 2 Historical setting
- 3 Discussion
- 4 Points to ponder
- 5 I have a question
- 6 Relation to other scriptures
- 7 Complete outline and page map
- 8 Resources
- 9 Notes
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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.
- Verse 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.
Points to ponder
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I have a question
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Relation to other scriptures
This heading is for notes about the relationship of this book to other sections and passages. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- The relationship of 2 Thessalonians to the rest of the New Testament in general is addressed at New Testament: Organization.
Joseph Smith Translation
The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to the following verses in 2 Thessalonians. This list is complete:
- 2 Thes 1:1, 9
- 2 Thes 2:2-3, 7-9
Complete outline and page map
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This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
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
- 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.
- Verse 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).
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament, p. 288.
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