|Overview - 2 Thessalonians 3|
|1||Paul craves their prayers for himself;|
|3||testifies what confidence he has in them;|
|5||makes request to God in their behalf;|
|6||gives them divers precepts, especially to shun idleness, and ill company;|
|16||and then concludes with prayer and salutation.|
2 Thessalonians 3:18 (King James Version)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
- Romans 16:20 Romans 16:24 The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, it is generally agreed,was the earliest written of all St. Paul's epistles, whence wesee the reason and propriety of his anxiety that it should beread in all the Christian churches of Macedonia--"I charge youby the Lord, that this Epistle be read unto all the holybrethren
- " (ch. 5:27 .) "The existence of this clause,"observes Dr. Paley, "is an evidence of its authenticity;because, to produce a letter, purporting to have been publiclyread in the church at Thessalonica, when no such letter had beenread or heard of in that church, would be to produce animposture destructive of itself
- ...Either the Epistle was publicly read in the church of Thessalonica, during St. Paul'slifetime, or it was not. If it was, no publication could bemore authentic, no species of notoriety more unquestionable, nomethod of preserving the integrity of the copy more secure
- ...If it was not, the clause would remain a standing condemnation ofthe forgery, and one would suppose, an invincible impediment toits success." Its genuineness, however, has never beendisputed; and it has been universally received in the Christianchurch, as the inspired production of St. Paul, from theearliest period to the present day. The circumstance of thisinjunction being given, in the first epistle which the Apostlewrote, also implies a strong and avowed claim to the characterof an inspired writer; as in fact it placed his writings on thesame ground with those of Moses and the ancient prophets. Thesecond Epistle, besides those marks of genuineness and authoritywhich it possesses in common with the others, bears the highestevidence of its divine inspiration, in the representation whichit contains of the papal power, under the characters of "the Manof sin," and the "Mystery of iniquity." The true Christianworship is the worship of the one only God, through the one onlyMediator, the man Christ Jesus; and from this worship the churchof Rome has most notoriously departed, by substituting othermediators, invocating and adoring saints and angels, worshippingimages, adoring the host, etc. It follows, therefore, that "theMan of sin" is the Pope; not only on account of the disgracefullives of many of them, but by means of their scandalousdoctrines and principles; dispensing with the most necessaryduties, selling pardons and indulgences for the most abominablecrimes, and perverting the worship of God to the grossestsuperstition and idolatry. It was evidently the chief design ofthe Apostle, in writing to the Thessalonians, to confirm them inthe faith, to animate them to a courageous profession of theGospel, and to the practice of all the duties of Christianity;but to suppose, with Dr. Macknight, that he intended to provethe divine authority of Christianity by a chain of regulararguments, in which he answered the several objections which theheathen philosophers are supposed to have advanced, seems quiteforeign to the nature of the epistles, and to be grounded on amistaken notion, that the philosophers designed at so early aperiod to enter on a regular disputation with the Christians,when in fact they derided them as enthusiasts, and branded theirdoctrines as "foolishness." In pursuance of his grand object,"it is remarkable," says Dr. Doddridge, "with how much addresshe improves all the influence which his zeal and fidelity intheir service must naturally give him, to inculcate upon themthe precepts of the gospel, and persuade them to act agreeablyto their sacred character. This was the grand point he alwayskept in view, and to which every thing else was madesubservient. Nothing appears, in any part of his writings, likea design to establish his own reputation, or to make use of hisascendancy over his Christian friends to answer any secularpurposes of his own. On the contrary, in this and in his otherepistles, he discovers a most generous, disinterested regard fortheir welfare, expressly disclaiming any authority over theirconsciences, and appealing to them, that he had chose tomaintain himself by the labour of this own hands, rather thanprove burdensome to the churches, or give the least colour ofsuspicion, that, under zeal for the gospel, and concern fortheir improvement, he was carrying on any private sinister view.The discovery of so excellent a temper must be allowed to carrywith it a strong presumptive argument in favour of the doctrineshe taught
- ...And, indeed, whoever reads St. Paul's epistles with attention, and enters into the spirit with which they werewritten, will discern such intrinsic characters of theirgenuineness, and the divine authority of the doctrines theycontain, as will, perhaps, produce in him a stronger convictionthan all the external evidence with which they are attended."These remarks are exceedingly well grounded and highlyimportant; and to no other Epistles can they apply with greaterforce than the present most excellent productions of theinspired Apostle. The last two chapters of the first epistle,in particular, as Dr
- A. Clarke justly observes, "are certainly among the most important, and the most sublime in the NewTestament. The general judgment, the resurrection of the body,and the states of the quick and the dead, the unrighteous andthe just, are described, concisely indeed, but they areexhibited in the most striking and affecting points of view."