1 Thessalonians 2 Study Notes


2:1 Brothers and sisters: Christians have a new spiritual family relationship based on their common faith (Mt 12:46-50).

2:2 At Philippi Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned for casting a demon out of a slave girl. As Paul stated at that time, it was illegal to punish Roman citizens like this without a trial (Ac 16:16-40). Paul’s statement also indicates that, along with Paul, Silas was a Roman citizen. In spite of great opposition, which continued into Thessalonica, the gospel of God was faithfully proclaimed.

2:3 Paul’s motives for ministry were to proclaim truth and to please God.

2:4-7 Paul tried to please God in all he did and said because he was appointed by God to this task. God also continually examined Paul’s heart, so he did not want to deceive his audience or try to win their approval at the expense of God’s approval. Such should be the attitude of all Christians.

2:8 Paul’s method of ministry was not only the impartation of the gospel but the sharing of his own life as well.

2:9 Paul preached God’s gospel to the Thessalonians, not taking any financial support but working not to burden them. It was clear that Paul was not in the ministry for the money, and this helped testify to the truth of his message. Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Ac 18:3).

2:10-12 Having compared himself to the gentleness of a nursing mother in v. 7, Paul here compares himself to a father who encourages, comforts, and implores his children to live worthy of God. A “worthy” life was a life that was appropriate or suitable.

2:13 This verse introduces renewed thanksgiving for the Thessalonians, connected to 1:2. Paul thanks God because they received the message preached as the very word of God, which it was.

2:14 Though the Thessalonian church was founded in the midst of persecution, Paul pointed out that their sufferings were not unique. Starting with the crucifixion of Jesus and continuing into the churches of Judea, persecution was ever present in the early church. Persecution was usually initiated by hostile Jews trying to use the Roman authorities to help them. It was not until the later reign of Nero, following the great fire that burned Rome (AD 64), that the first major empire-wide persecution of Christians began as an official Roman policy.

2:15 They refers to the Jews of v. 14. This is the only place in Paul’s writings where he identified those who were responsible for Jesus’s death. Prophets appears to be a reference to the OT prophets who also suffered persecution at the hands of their countrymen (Ac 7:52). The pattern is clear—rejection of the message first, then persecution of the messenger.


Greek pronunciation [STEH fah nahs]
CSB translation crown
Uses in 1 Thessalonians 1
Uses in the NT 18
Focus passage 1 Thessalonians 2:19

In the Gospels, stephanos (crown) refers exclusively to the thorny crown Jesus wore during his passion (Mt 27:29; Mk 15:17; Jn 19:2,5). Paul consistently exhorts the saints by using the promise of a crown as their future reward. Believers should run the Christian race to obtain an imperishable crown, even as athletes run for a perishable crown (1Co 9:25; cp. Rv 3:11) and a crown of righteousness belongs to all who love the Lord’s appearing (2Tm 4:8). Certain congregations are the crown with which Paul will appear before the Lord at his return (Php 4:1; 1Th 2:19). James speaks of a crown of life given to those who, despite persecution, maintain their love for God (Jms 1:12; cp. Rv 2:10); and an unfading crown of glory awaits elders who lovingly shepherd their congregations (1Pt 5:4). Crown appears frequently in the apocalyptic imagery of Revelation. There it is usually associated with pictures of authority, rule, dominion, power, and/or enablement for a task. Another Greek word for crown (diadÄ“ma) occurs three times in the NT (Rv 12:3; 13:1; 19:12).

2:16 Some Jews objected to offering the message of the gospel to Gentiles (Ac 13:46-50; 14:2; 17:5,13). The phrase filling up their sins implies that God will tolerate only a certain number of sins before his judgment falls.

2:17-18 The intensity of Paul’s desire to see the Thessalonians again is evident by these emphatic descriptions: greatly desired . . . made every effort . . . even I, Paul, time and again. The phrase Satan hindered us probably refers to the persecution Paul was experiencing or possibly an illness (2Co 12:7). Perhaps the security bond that Jason gave to the city officials to calm things down after persecution broke out in Thessalonica ensured that Paul himself would not return. In any case the Thessalonian believers had to send Paul and Silas quickly away at night (Ac 17:8-10). The name Satan means “adversary,” as one who is opposed to God, his plan, and his people.

2:19-20 Paul viewed the Thessalonian church as his crown of boasting, which would be evident at Jesus’s coming. The reference to a “crown” carries the image of a laurel wreath worn on the head in reward for victory at a Greek athletic contest.