The epistle is addressed to the church of the Thessalonians (1:1). See Lesson 1 for more information about this church.
Paul wrote this epistle in about A.D 50-51, shortly after he wrote 1 Thessalonians.
Three developments in the church called for Paul’s second epistle: 1) persistent persecutions and tribulations; 2) false teaching that the day of Christ had already come, causing confusion and disturbance in the church; 3) presence of some brethren who were disorderly and idle. To strengthen those who were suffering, Paul assured the believers the certainty of divine retribution on the day of the Lord. To remove misapprehensions about the Lord’s return, Paul pointed out events that must take place before that day to show that the day had not yet come. Finally, Paul instructed the church to take disciplinary action on the disorderly and idle and exhorted the believers to lead responsible lives.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2:15).
Read the entire epistle once for general impressions and answer the following questions.
- Write down a chapter heading for each chapter.
Chapter 1:Chapter 2:Chapter 3:
- Based on your first reading, what similarities and differences do you see between 1 and 2 Thessalonians?
Record briefly what is taught about each of the following themes.
Persecutions and Tribulations
The Day of Christ
Dealing with Those Who Are Idle
What this epistle instructs concerning the hardships and challenges the Thessalonians faced can also instruct present day believers. Everyone who enters the kingdom of God needs to persevere under persecutions while trusting in the righteous judgment of God. Just as there were misleading doctrines about the day of Christ, deceptions will surely abound in the last days and have indeed become prevalent today. But the epistle foretells of the coming of the lawless one, an event that must take place before the Lord’s return. By heeding this prophecy, we will not be troubled and confused. The epistle’s exhortations on Christian responsibility also certainly warrant the attention of every believer. Even in view of the Lord’s imminent return, we need to continue to fulfill our daily duties and persist in doing good.
Map & Chart
Map A Geography in the time of the early church