Book of the Week 53: II Thessalonians


Human Author: Paul (and Silvanus and Timothy) 

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 3

Basic Facts

  1. II Thessalonians is the fifty-third book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, II Thessalonians is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of II Thessalonians is PROS THESSALONIKEIS B, which means “to the Thessalonians – Two” or “for the benefit of the Thessalonians – Two.”

  4. II Thessalonians warns of the coming of the man of lawlessness.

  5. This letter’s final verses were written personally by Paul in his own hand to ensure its authenticity against those who sought to falsely imitate Paul.

Story of the Book

Paul begins this letter with a greeting for the church, which includes his note of thanks to God for their perseverance in faith (II Thessalonians 1:1-5). The letter continues as Paul prays for the church in Thessalonica, saying that the salvation they are receiving and the punishment God gives to those who afflict them are both a demonstration of God’s justice (II Thessalonians 1:6-12). Paul warns the church against the coming of a lawless man of destruction who will do false signs and wonders, and in so doing will deceive many. He also warns of false teachers and some who will write letters to the church pretending to be Paul and his companions (II Thessalonians 2:1-12). Paul urges the believers to remain strong in faith and in the grace of Christ (II Thessalonians 2:13-17). He continues by praying that Christ would guard and protect the believers of Thessalonica from the evil one and from evil men who are without faith (II Thessalonians 3:1-5). Paul urges the believers to be hard working and diligent in obeying God through serving others and building up the body. He sets himself up as an example to follow, so that no one in the body of Christ would be idle in order that all might diligently serve the Lord. The church is told not to welcome or associate with those who do otherwise, but to warn the idle person as a brother. Paul commands that everyone must work diligently (II Thessalonians 3:6-13). The letter closes with a final blessing, and Paul writes the last greeting with his own hand to seal the letter’s authenticity (II Thessalonians 3:14-18).

Jesus Revealed in II Thessalonians

Jesus is revealed in II Thessalonians as the one who is able to protect us from the evil one. In the midst of persecution, false teaching, lawlessness, and affliction, Paul prays for the church that Jesus might protect them from the evil one (II Thessalonians 3:1-5). During the time of Paul’s ministry there were many false teachers who were traveling about trying to imitate Paul and deceive the believers in Thessalonica by falsely stating that the day of the Lord had already come (II Thessalonians 2:1-2). Paul specifically prays that Christ would protect them from the evil one, and to guard their hearts and minds against faithless men. When we face false teachers and those who try to deceive believers, we too can pray that God would guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7; II Thessalonians 3:1-5). Paul also reveals Jesus as the one who is steadfast in obedience to the Father (II Thessalonians 3:5) so that believers in Thessalonica may be imitators of Christ by being active in the work of God, avoiding idleness (II Thessalonians 3:6-13). Jesus is steadfast in His obedience to the Father in all things, and by protecting us from the evil one, He can also free us up toward full obedience in our walk with God.