2Thessalonians: Chapter 3
Paul ends his letter to the believers at Thessalonica with a prayer request, guidance concerning a Christian's behavior, and his final salutation.
|1-2||Asking for prayer from the Thessalonians|
|3-5||The Lord's faithfulness|
|6-10||Words concerning work and Paul's example|
|11-13||Words concerning busybodies|
|14-15||A brother's discipline|
In the previous verses in this book, Paul was encouraging the Thessalonians, but now in 2Thessalonians 3:1-2, he is asking them to pray for him and his team, and pray that they would be effectual in their work in the Lord, 1Thessalonians 5:25. He is also asking that the message of the Lord would spread rapidly and be honored. Since Satan had hindered Paul's efforts to return to the congregation at Thessalonians, 1Thessalonians 2:18, Paul also asked for his and his team's deliverance from the wicked. Paul was under constant attack from Satan and men who did not want the gospel of Christ preached, Acts 18:1-4, Acts 18:9-13.
In 2Thessalonians 3:3-5, Paul redirects his attention to the Thessalonians. Here he draws their attention to the Lord who is faithful. It is the Lord who continually strengthens them, and protects them from Satan. Paul affirms his confidence in the Lord that:
- That the believers at Thessalonica are established in the commandments that Paul taught them, 1Thessalonians 5:12-24
- That the Lord will continue to sustain them in these commandments
- That they would grow in God’s love, and Christ’s perseverance
In 2Thessalonians 3:6, Paul is now giving another commandment in the name of the Lord to keep. He is instructing the church to stay away from a brother who is idle and does not live according to Paul’s missionary team’s teachings. In 2Thessalonians 3:7-10, Paul spends some time writing about idleness, which appears to have been a big problem in this young church. This was a similar topic that Paul addressed this in his first letter as well, 1Thessalonians 4:11-12, 1Thessalonians 5:14. Paul uses his team and their behavior while with the Thessalonians as an object lesson for them.
In 2Thessalonians 3:11-13, Paul gives another commandment to the body of Christ concerning busybodies. Not only are these people idle, but they are minding the business of others and not taking care of their own business. Paul is using forceful language, both in the name of Christ and his own positional authority, that of an apostle, to direct those offenders in the Thessalonians' congregation. He charges them to settle down and to earn their own living. For the rest of the congregation, Paul is encouraging them to never tire of doing right.
In 2Thessalonians 3:14-15, Paul writes that there are consequences that will fall upon believers within a congregation if his instructions concerning their behavior within or without the church. This instruction is directed to the church body and the against the disobedient brother. Christian brothers of this disobedient brother, need to note the individual, Matthew 18:15-18, to not associate with him so that he would be shamed, 1Corinthians 5:9-13, and to treat him not as an enemy but as a brother, Galatians 6:1-2.
In 2Thessalonians 3:16-18 is Paul’s salutation to the church. Here, Paul is asking the Lord to bestow His presence, and peace upon them all, even the disorderly, at all times and in every way. He is asking for the Lord's complete coverage over them. Recall that one of the purposes of this letter is that the church had received a forged letter from Paul, so now he is sealing or signing the letter with his own hand, 2Thessalonians 2:1-2, which is a practice he continued in his other letters to other churches, 1Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, and Colossians 4:18. Paul ends with, "The grace of out Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."