2 Thessalonians 1

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1 1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


3 2We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,[a] as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
4 Therefore 3we ourselves boast about you 4in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith 5in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

The Judgment at Christ's Coming

5 This is 6evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be 7considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering--
6 since indeed God considers it 8just 9to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to grant 10relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when 11the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven 12with his mighty angels
8 13in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those 14who do not know God and on those who 15do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
9 They will suffer the punishment of 16eternal destruction, 17away from[b] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
10 18when he comes on 19that day 20to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our 21testimony to you 22was believed.
11 To this end we 23always pray for you, that our God may 24make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every 25work of faith by his power,
12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus 26may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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2 Thessalonians 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written soon after the first. The apostle was told that, from some expressions in his first letter, many expected the second coming of Christ was at hand, and that the day of judgment would arrive in their time. Some of these neglected their worldly duties. St. Paul wrote again to correct their error, which hindered the spread of the gospel. He had written agreeably to the words of the prophets of the Old Testament; and he tells them there were many counsels of the Most High yet to be fulfilled, before that day of the Lord should come, though, because it is sure, he had spoken of it as near. The subject led to a remarkable foretelling, of some of the future events which were to take place in the after-ages of the Christian church, and which show the prophetic spirit the apostle possessed.

The apostle blesses God for the growing state of the love and patience of the Thessalonians. (1-4) And encourages them to persevere under all their sufferings for Christ, considering his coming at the great day of account. (5-12)

Verses 1-4 Where there is the truth of grace, there will be an increase of it. The path of the just is as the shining light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day. And where there is the increase of grace, God must have all the glory. Where faith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for others, when trials from God, and persecutions from men, quicken the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of which the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to endure all their tribulations.

Verses 5-10 Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; and those have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how to value it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannot by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit heaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are prepared for the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man for eternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to the name and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble his people. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest from sin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved by the righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should be terrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith, looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand the book of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. The Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come in the glory and power of the upper world. His light will be piercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shall be found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to those that know not God, especially to those who rebel against revelation, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the great crime of multitudes, the gospel is revealed, and they will not believe it; or if they pretend to believe, they will not obey it. Believing the truths of the gospel, is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinners may be long spared, they will be punished at last. They did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishes sinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will be destruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of his anger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to those who believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day, Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. And Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and power will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchased for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon those who believe in him. Lord, if the glory put upon thy saints shall be thus admired, how much more shalt thou be admired, as the Bestower of that glory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wicked will be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in the salvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angels with holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints with eternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than the most enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ will be admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer not excepted.

Verses 11-12 Believing thoughts and expectations of the second coming of Christ should lead us to pray to God more, for ourselves and others. If there is any good in us, it is owing to the good pleasure of his goodness, and therefore it is called grace. There are many purposes of grace and good-will in God toward his people, and the apostle prays that God would complete in them the work of faith with power. This is to their doing every other good work. The power of God not only begins, but carries on the work of faith. And this is the great end and design of the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ, which is made known to us, and wrought in us.

Cross References 26

  • 1. For ver. 1, 2, see 1 Thessalonians 1:1
  • 2. 2 Thessalonians 2:13; See Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 3
  • 3. [2 Corinthians 7:14]; See 1 Thessalonians 2:19
  • 4. [1 Thessalonians 1:8]; See 1 Corinthians 7:17
  • 5. [Mark 10:30]; See 1 Thessalonians 2:14
  • 6. [Philippians 1:28]
  • 7. [Acts 14:22]; See Luke 20:35
  • 8. [Revelation 6:10]
  • 9. [Exodus 23:22; Joel 3:4, 7]
  • 10. [Revelation 6:11; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 14:13]
  • 11. See Luke 17:30
  • 12. See Jude 14
  • 13. Isaiah 66:15, 16; Matthew 25:41; 1 Corinthians 3:13; Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 12:29; 2 Peter 3:7; [Malachi 4:1]
  • 14. See Galatians 4:8
  • 15. Romans 2:8
  • 16. [Philippians 3:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:3]
  • 17. Isa. 2:10, 19, 21; [2 Thessalonians 2:8]
  • 18. See 1 Thessalonians 1:10
  • 19. See 1 Corinthians 3:13
  • 20. Psalms 89:7(Gk.); Isaiah 49:3; John 17:10
  • 21. [1 Corinthians 1:6]
  • 22. [1 Thessalonians 2:1, 13; 1 Timothy 3:16]
  • 23. Colossians 1:9
  • 24. [ver. 5]
  • 25. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
  • 26. [Isaiah 66:5; Acts 13:48]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated "brothers") refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God's family, the church
  • [b]. Or destruction that comes from

Chapter Summary


This second epistle was written, not from Athens, as the subscription testifies, nor from Rome, as Athanasius {a} supposes; but from Corinth, from whence was sent the former, and where the apostle and Timothy, and Silvanus met; and which was sent about half a year after the other. The design of which is to comfort and support the Thessalonians under the afflictions and persecutions they endured for the sake of the Gospel; and to rectify a mistake they had gone into, and which might be occasioned by what the apostle had said in his former epistle, concerning the second coming of Christ, as though it was just at hand; which might lead them to neglect their worldly business, and duties of civil life, and give the enemies of the Gospel an advantage against the whole of it as false, should not this prove true; as also to exhort this church to take notice of disorderly persons such as were idle, and busy bodies, and withdraw from them, and remove them from their communion, as being not only burdensome to them, but a reproach to their profession.

{a} Synopsis Sacr. Script. Tom. ii. p. 129.


This chapter, besides the inscription and salutation, contains a thanksgiving for the flourishing condition in which the graces of the Spirit were in these saints, and consolation for them under their suffering circumstances. The inscription and salutation are in 2Th 1:1,2 and are as usual: the thanksgiving is in 2Th 1:3 for the growth of their faith, the abounding of their love, and their constant patience under persecutions and afflictions, insomuch that the apostle also gloried of them for these things among other churches, 2Th 1:4 and as an encouragement to them to continue patient under sufferings, he observes that this was a token of the righteous judgment of God, and that they were reckoned worthy of his kingdom for which they suffered, 2Th 1:5 and of which righteous judgment they might be assured, from the nature of God himself, whose justice required a retribution of vengeance to their persecutors, and rest to them with the apostles, 2Th 1:6,7 the time of which rest and ease is pointed at, as that it will be at the coming of Christ; which is described by the place from whence he comes, heaven; by his retinue, his mighty angels; by the manner in which he shall come, in flaming fire; and by the vengeance he will execute: the objects of which are also described, by their ignorance of God, and by their disobedience to the Gospel of Christ; and by the nature of the punishment inflicted on them, which will lie in an expulsion from the presence, power, and glory of God, and in an everlasting destruction of soul and body, 2Th 1:7-9 but as for them, the persecuted saints, and which is mentioned for their comfort, Christ shall at this day be glorified and admired in them, and by them, 2Th 1:10 wherefore the apostle prays for this perseverance of them, that the good work of faith might be performed in them, and they enjoy the glory they were called unto; and that Christ might be glorified in them, and they in him; not according to their works, but according to the grace of God through him, 2Th 1:11.

2 Thessalonians 1 Commentaries