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2 Thessalonians

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©Michael Player

Chapter 1:1-4 (ESV)

Posted on May 07, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 1:1-4 (ESV) - Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Question to consider: How can we have God’s grace and peace and still face suffering?

There isn’t an exact date for this letter, but given that Paul is dealing with the same topics as his previous letter, I would assume that he wrote it within a short amount of time after he sent off the first one and received a report back on how it was received by the church. Paul doesn’t mention who reported back to him, but I would guess that Timothy was still the go-between while Paul was serving in Corinth. Thessalonica was in Macedonia and about 200 miles north of Corinth. Paul was prevented from traveling there because of those who desired to murder him. So if we are conservative about how long it would take to travel the distance both ways and spend enough time for a proper visit, we could safely say it was written by AD 52.

Most of this letter will address their questions related to Christ’s coming in judgment because the church in Thessalonica was still enduring persecution. If you have ever experienced times of tremendous stress or physical pain, you can relate to how time slows and patience wears thin. One solace in the midst of suffering is knowing that their endurance was inspirational to others in the faith who were beginning to face something similar.

Of this period of time, Jesus said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Matthew 24:21-22) I know there are many who attribute these verses to a future fulfillment. As we get into the rest of this letter, I believe there are other elements to which Paul spoke that indicate this was the time in which he was writing.

We may definitely face persecution for our faith. There are those in Islamic and Communist countries who face torture and death for the sake of Christ, and Islam and Communism seem to be spreading to many countries across the globe right now. However, there were specific signs to look for at the time in which Paul was writing, and I believe all of them were fulfilled before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. We still have the blessed hope that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead, but I would argue that there are no signs that need to come to pass in order for that to occur. We simply go about doing the work Christ has called us to do and look forward to His return.

Paul’s desire for the church to have God’s grace and peace was not an empty platitude, for we can endure the suffering of this world knowing that we have peace with God and eternal life in Christ.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us examples throughout history of those who put their faith in Christ and stood firm in the midst of their pain and suffering. May we be a support to our brothers and sisters who are going through the same. Amen.