"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"
Introduction To The Epistle (2 Th 1:1-2)
1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we found it to be an epistle...
a. Written shortly after the establishment of the church in
b. Providing personal reflections (1 Th chapters 1-3) and apostolic
instructions (1 Th 4-5)
c. With the theme of "Holiness In View Of The Coming Of Christ"
d. Mentioning the coming of Christ in each of the five chapters
2. Not longer afterward Paul wrote Second Thessalonians, an epistle...
a. Containing three short chapters
b. In which the coming of Christ is again an important theme
c. Encouraging Christians in time of persecution
d. Cautioning them against false conceptions of the Lord's return
3. As we continue to wait for the coming of the Lord...
a. There may be times when we are persecuted
b. There are certainly many different views of the coming of the Lord
[Therefore this epistle is certainly relevant to our time. Thus we
begin a series of lessons based on Second Thessalonians, starting with
an "Introduction To The Epistle"...]
I. THE AUTHOR (1 Th 1:1a)
1. Confirmed by a reference to his own signature at the end - 2 Th 3:17
2. Early sources in church history that attribute this letter to
Paul include: Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.), Tertullian
(200 A.D.), and Irenaeus (200 A.D.)
B. JOINED BY SILVANUS AND TIMOTHY...
1. Silvanus, also known as Silas
a. Who together with Paul established the church in
Thessalonica - Ac 17:1-4
b. Who joined Paul in the salutation of the first letter - 1 Th 1:1
2. Timothy, also known as Timotheus
a. Paul's son in the faith - cf. 1 Tim 1:2
b. Who also joined Paul in the salutation of the first letter
- 1 Th 1:1
c. And served as Paul's emissary to Thessalonica - 1 Th 3:1-2; 1 Th 3:6
[Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were naturally concerned about the welfare
of the church in Thessalonica. Let's now review some things about...]
II. THE RECIPIENTS OF THE EPISTLE (2 Th 1:1b)
A. THE CITY OF THESSALONICA...
1. It was the capital and largest city of the Roman province of
2. Located on the Egnatian Way, a major road from Rome to the
3. The city served as a center of trade and commerce
-- Today, it is known as Thessaloniki (formerly Salonica)
B. THE CHURCH OF THE THESSALONIANS...
1. Its establishment is recorded in 1 Th 17:1-9
a. On his second journey, Paul and his companions had just left
b. Traveling through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they arrived at
c. Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath as an opportunity
d. For three weeks he reasoned with the Jews, converting some
and a number of prominent Gentiles
e. Unbelieving Jews soon caused a disturbance, forcing Paul to
2. Despite such ominous beginnings, a strong church was
a. It quickly gained a good reputation - 1 Th 1:8
b. It was mostly Gentiles - 1 Th 1:9
c. Members included Jason (Ac 17:9), Aristarchus and Secundus
3. From the first letter we learn...
a. Persecution of the church had continued, giving Paul grave
concern - 1 Th 3:1-5
b. Yet they had remained strong, giving Paul great comfort
- 1 Th 3:6-8
[Encouraged by what Timothy had reported, Paul wrote the first epistle.
But it was not long after that Paul found it necessary to write
III. THE PLACE AND DATE OF WRITING
A. THE PLACE...
1. In our study of First Thessalonians, we suggested Corinth as
the place from which it was written
a. Paul had only been gone a short time - 1 Th 2:17-18
b. He had sent Timothy from Athens, who had returned - 1 Th 3:1-6
c. Yet Paul did not stay long in Athens - Acts 17::16-34; Acts 18:1
d. And Timothy came back from Macedonia after Paul arrived in
Corinth - Acts 18:5
-- Thus the first letter was likely written soon after Paul's
arrival in Corinth
2. The second letter appears to been written just a few months,
perhaps a year later
a. Paul stayed in Corinth eighteen months - Acts 18:11
b. If Paul wrote the first letter at the beginning of his stay,
he could have easily written the second letter toward the
end of his stay
-- Thus the second letter was likely also written from Corinth
B. THE DATE...
1. Paul arrived in Corinth sometime around 50-52 A.D.
2. Writing the second epistle toward the end of his stay, the date
would be 53 A.D.
[Now let's consider...]
IV. THE PURPOSE AND CONTENT OF THE EPISTLE
A. THE PURPOSE...
1. From the letter itself, it appears that the church at
Thessalonica remained strong in the Lord despite persecution
- cf. 2 Th 1:3-4
2. But it is apparent from this letter that misunderstanding about
the Lord's coming was present in the church
a. Some of the members were being troubled by false reports
- cf. 2 Th 2:1-2
b. Others had stopped working, perhaps assuming that the Lord's
imminent return meant one did not need to work anymore
- cf. 2 Th 3:11-12
3. Paul appears to have a threefold purpose in writing this
a. To encourage them in their steadfastness under persecution
b. To correct their misunderstanding about the imminence of the
c. To instruct the congregation on what disciplinary action to
take toward those who refused to work
B. THE CONTENT...
1. Encouragement in persecutions - 2 Th 1:1-12
a. Salutation, and thanksgiving for their spiritual growth
- 2 Th 1:1-4
b. Encouragement in trials in view of the coming of Christ
- Vs 5-10
c. His prayer for them - Vs 11-12
2. Enlightenment about the coming of the Lord - 2 Th 2:1-17
a. The apostasy must come first - Vs 1-12
b. Steadfastness encouraged - Vs 13-17
3. Exhortation to Christian living - 2 Th 3:1-18
a. A request for prayer, and a prayer for them - Vs 1-5
b. A charge to discipline the disorderly - Vs 6-15
c. Concluding remarks - Vs 16-18
1. With an emphasis on remaining steadfast, an appropriate theme for
this epistle would be:
"Steadfastness While Waiting For The Coming Of Christ"
2. In keeping with such a theme, I offer the following passage as the
key verses of the epistle:
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you
were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus
Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us
everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts
and establish you in every good word and work." - 2 Th 2:15-17
As we proceed through this epistle, it will be my prayer that our study
will lead to steadfastness in our service to God as we wait for the
coming of Jesus, that we might truly be recipients of His grace and
peace (2 Th 1:2)!
About These Outlines ~~~ Submit An Outline ~~~ Back To Main Outlines ~~~ Home Page