Commentary On Second Thessalonians
Chapter One
By Jonathan Mitchell

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1. Paul, Silvanus (or: Silas), and Timothy, to the called-out community of [the] Thessalonians within God our Father, even (or: and) [the] Lord (or: in union with God, our Father and Lord), Jesus Christ:

2. Grace and peace (or: Favor and harmony) to you from God, our Father and Lord (or: our Father, and [the] Lord), Jesus Christ ([the] Anointed)!

3. We continue being indebted to be constantly expressing gratitude to God (or: We are continually owing [it] to be habitually acknowledging the goodness of grace and the well-being from the favor in God) – always – concerning you, brothers (= fellow believers; = Family members), according as it is continually valuable (pushes the scales down; is worthy), because your faith (or: trust; conviction; loyalty) is constantly flourishing (growing above; over-growing; exceedingly increasing) and the love of each one of you all continuously abounds (exists in abundance) unto and into the midst of each other

4. so that we ourselves boast in you folks among God's summoned-forth ones (among those called-out of God; or: in union with God’s called-out communities) over your steadfast remaining under to give support (or: persistent patient endurance) and faith (or: loyalty) within all your pursuits (or: chasings; or: persecutions; harassments) and the pressures (squeezings; constrictions; contractions; tribulations; oppressions; ordeals) which you habitually have again (or: sustain; hold up)

5. a demonstration (a pointing-out; a display) of God's fair and equitable (just; righteous; in accord with the Way pointed out) decision (separation for making a distinction and an evaluation or a judging), unto your being accounted worthy (of equal value) of God's kingdom (or: the sovereign reign which is God), over (or: on behalf of) which you are also constantly having sensible experiences (or: normally feeling emotions; or: repeatedly suffering),

6. since respecting one who observes the way pointed out – a rightwised person – [it is right] in the presence of God (or: if it is after all the right thing with and beside God), to repay pressure (or: squeezing and oppression; ordeal; trouble) to those continuously pressuring (squeezing; oppressing; troubling) you folks,

7. and to (or: for) you – the folks being continuously pressed – relaxation (ease; a relaxing of a state of constriction; relief), together with us, within the midst of the uncovering (the unveiling; the laying bare; the revelation; the disclosure) of the Lord Jesus from [the] atmosphere (or: sky; heaven), along with agents of His power (or: with His agents of ability) –

8. within a fire, of flame [with other MSS: in union with a blaze of fire] continuously giving justice (or: repeatedly imparting the effects of fair and equitable dealings from out of the way pointed out, and a maintenance of right) to (or: for; in) those not knowing (or: perceiving) God, even to (or: for; in) those not continuously listening to or paying attention and obeying the message of goodness and well-being, which is our Lord, Jesus (or: which comes from and pertains to our Master and Owner: Jesus),

9. the certain folks who will pay the thing that is right (justice; fairness and equity): ruin pertaining to the Age (or: an unspecified period of ruin or destruction; or: ruin for an age; age-lasting destruction) [coming] from the Lord's face [= the Christ's or Yahweh’s presence], even from the glory of His strength (or: the manifestation which calls forth praise regarding, and having the character of, His strength) –

10. whenever He may come to be made glorious within (to be glorified in union with; to have a reputation within) His separated folks (set-apart, holy and sacred ones), and to be wondered at (marveled at; admired) within all the folks believing in that day, seeing that our testimony (or: evidence), [being placed] on you, was believed and is trusted.

11. Unto which end we always continuously pray (think or speak toward goodness and things going well), also, concerning you in order that our God would account you worthy of the calling (or: of equal value to the invitation) and would fill (or: make full) every delight (pleasure, good thought) of virtue (excellence; goodness) and work of faith in power (or: and may make every good disposition of excellence and action of trust full, in union with ability),

12. so that the Name of our Lord, Jesus [other MSS add: Christ], may be made glorious (invested with glory; glorified; made of good reputation) within you folks, and you within Him, according to (down from; in line with; on the level of) the grace and favor of our God and Lord (or: Owner; Master), Jesus Christ.

To begin, I want to point out that vs. 12 ends with the phrase "our God and Lord, Jesus Christ." A similar construction begins this chapter in vs. 1-2, where I give two possible renderings: one separating the terms Father from Lord; one joining them – either is a legitimate translation. May the Spirit make clear to you the correct rendering, or, that they are both correct. Note that the definite article is absent in the Greek text of these phrases.

Vs. 3 begins with a verb which says that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are continuously indebted because the faith, trust, conviction and loyalty of the believers is constantly flourishing, and their love continuously interpenetrates. The debt that they owe is to be constantly expressing gratitude to God for this. The infinitive for expressing gratitude is composed of the word "charis" (grace; favor) prefixed by "eu," which means goodness, ease and well-being.

So we see solidarity expressed here: the flourishing of some members of the body brings a debt upon the rest of the body to live a life that expresses gratitude to God and also acknowledges the goodness of the favor and grace that are resident in Him. Thus, in his letter, Paul "enters His courts with praise, and passes through His gates with thanksgiving." What a beautiful way to begin our days, as well as our engagements with others.

In vs. 4 he notes their persistent patient endurance in giving support as they "remain under" whatever situations they encounter, which he describes as their being pursued and persecuted, as well as being ordeals which "squeeze" them. The negative environment has brought forth abundant growth and increase, which manifests in a network of love. Paul notes that they habitually have this environment. As the word "have" also means "hold," we can also read this as their being able to constantly sustain it, and hold up under it.

Now note that I end vs. 4 with a colon, since vs. 5 begins with a defining clause of what Paul has just been talking about: their persecutions and pressures, as he notes in the end of vs. 5.

These constant sense-experiences (normal emotional situations; repeated sufferings) are a demonstration – a display – of God's fair and equitable decision! They lead unto the believers being accounted worthy of God's kingdom! They point out that separations, evaluations and judging are expressions of God's Way, which He has pointed out to us, but also that they engender justice and right relationships (the interpenetrating love and loyalty), and display the value of being a part of God's sovereign reign within the harassments of things that constantly pursue us – and they enable us to sustain them, and support one another within them.

He continues the subject of the pressures and tribulations which they are enduring in vs. 6-9, here focusing on repayment to everyone who has been involved: relief, ease and a relaxing of the situation of constriction to the believers (vs. 7 – and note that Paul includes himself, Silas and Tim in this, with them: solidarity, once more); and squeezing pressure to those that were afflicting them (vs. 6).

Consider this: Paul has just said that the squeezing pressure that the believers were enduring were leading to their being of appropriate value to God's reign; now he says that their persecutors will undergo this same experience! It will have the same effect! This is the fairness of God's Way. This is His work of turning folks in the right direction (rightwising).

Vs. 7 tells us that this all happens whenever the Lord Jesus is unveiled in our atmosphere (or: laid bare and disclosed from heaven – the realm of spirit). We read of flames of fire that symbolized the coming of the Spirit of God upon folks (Acts 2). Vs. 8 shows us that this also bring justice and imparts the effects of fair and equitable dealings from the Way which He has pointed out to us. The justice for the believer is relaxation and ease from ordeals; the justice to, for and in the folks not knowing or perceiving God (in us, or in their situations) is a time of ordeals and pressures. Vs. 9 tells us that this is a condition of ruin and destruction for an unspecified period (or: interpreting "eonian" as qualitative rather than quantitative, a ruin which comes from the Age – a figure of the reign of Christ, and the qualities and characteristics of His person and dealings).

We read of this flame of continuously maintaining what is right in the symbols of the book of Revelation, specifically in the ministry of the two witnesses in ch. 11. There fire comes out of their mouth (a collective singular) – a figure of the words which they speak. Here, in vs. 8, the imparting of the effects and results of fair dealings (which was the work of the cross) are coming to and in those not listening or paying attention to the message of goodness and well-being (the gospel), which is our Lord, Jesus. These folks will "pay the thing that is right" (vs. 9): a necessary destruction and ruin, in the realm of the Age, which comes from the Lord's presence, even from the glory of His strength – the manifestation of His strength which does and will call forth praise: a positive goal.

Vs. 10 tells us that this happens "whenever" He may come to be made glorious within the believers, in union with those whom He has separated – even within all the folks that are believing in that particular day, each time He comes to us.

We constantly pray to this end, continuously thinking, speaking and doing goodness – as well as projecting the same toward all, that all will become worthy of the invitation, and will fill every delight of virtue and work of faith in power, so that the Name of our Lord, Jesus, can be made glorious within everyone, and us within Him, in line with and on the level of the grace and favor or our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

As we look back over this chapter, it seems evident to me that throughout Paul was speaking of their current situation, and then perhaps of immanent judging of the situation, correcting those that had caused the persecution, giving relief to those who had been abused. The context is Thessalonica. Paul's description of the coming deliverance – which included agents of His power (whether in the heavens/atmosphere/spirit, or in people in that situation) – is applicable to any time in which God intervenes in any situation, bringing His fairness and equity, which comes to a repayment for deeds done, whether good or bad.

This is His ongoing "white throne" judging. We see that this happened in AD 70. It happens "whenever He may come to be made glorious..." History is replete with His visitations – often called "the move of God," or an "outpouring of the Holy Spirit." His flame (a figure of He, Himself, as a consuming Fire) gives the maintenance of what is right, and when His judging is in the land, the people learn fairness and equity – the Way pointed out, in rightwised relationships.

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Commentary On Second Thessalonians
Chapter Two
By Jonathan Mitchell

1. Now we are asking you, brothers (= fellow believers; = family), over [the subject of] (or: concerning) the presence of our Lord (or: Master), Jesus Christ, and our being gathered together (or: assembling) upon [the presence of] Him,

2. in regard to this: you are not at any point to be quickly shaken (tossed, as by the sea, or cause to totter, like a reed) away from [your] mind (mental senses of perception; the ability to be aware and reason; wits; intelligent understanding), nor to be continuously alarmed (caused to cry aloud from nervousness or excitement), neither through a spirit (or: a breath-effect; an attitude), nor through a word (or: a thought; a message; a verbal communication), nor through a letter – as through us – as though the Lord's Day (the Day of the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ]) has been set in place (place in; made to stand in; has stood within so as to be here).

Now the "Day of Yahweh" was a term that figured a time of judging and hard times, in the Old Testament [e.g., cf Joel 1:15 and 2:1-2; Jer. 30:7; Amos 5:18; Zeph. 1:14-18].

It was obviously considered to be something to be alarmed about, and inwardly shaken. The term "presence" has more than one significance:
a) it can refer to His ongoing presence, via His Spirit (e.g., when two or three, or more, are gathered in His name, Matt. 18:20; it can refer to His solidarity and identity with His body, as Jesus stated in Matt. 25:35-40; it can refer to Him dwelling in His temple, John 14:20;
b) or, it can refer to His presence for a specific work, such as judging His people, or intervening in history to bring deliverance or rescue. He dwells in our atmosphere (heaven; sky) so He is ever present, and He is "continuously walking about within the midst of the seven golden lampstands (i.e., the churches)," and He walks with feet "like white brass (or: bronze; fine copper – a figure of His judging process) as having been set on fire in a furnace" and eyes "as a flame of fire" – Rev. 2:1; 1:14-15. But in 2:5 He says that He may come unto them and remove their lampstand. This apparently happened, since that called-out community did not continue there. In Rev. 2:16 He threatens to quickly come to them and fight against them with the sword of His mouth. He threatened to come to Sardis as a thief (3:3).

I therefore suggest that Paul is differentiating between "the presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and our being gathered together upon His [presence]" – as being a habitual occurrence of the meeting together of His body in Thessalonica – and a special presence concerning the expected destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus foretold – "the Day of the Lord." This latter event was a time of shaking the heavens and the earth (Heb. 12:26), and it not only affected the Jews, but also the called-out communities of that period, as this letter suggests, and as we see from the letter to the seven communities in 1st century Asia, as cited above.

3. May no one at any point beguile or seduce you folks from a deception – not even down from one turn (or: not according to one method; not in the sphere of a manner or disposition) – because should not the revolt (the rebellion; or: the setting away from; the standing away from; the apostasy; or: the departure) come first, and the human whose source is the sin (the Man who missed the mark; the person that has the character and qualities of error and failure; [other MSS: the person owned by lawlessness or associated with illegal acts])be uncovered (unveiled; revealed; disclosed): the son of the loss (= the person having the qualities of, or the character resulting from, the destruction),

4. the one continuously occupying an opposite position (or: lying as the opposing counterpart) and constantly lifting (or: raising) himself up over all (or: upon everything) being normally called God, or an object of worship, so as to cause him to be seated – down into the midst of the temple of God (or: God's inner sanctuary and dwelling place) – continuously displaying himself, that he is a god (or: continuously pointing out that he himself is God)?

5. Do you not remember that, still being with you, I said these things to you?

Historically, the revolt referred to in vs. 3 was the war of the Jews against the Romans, which ended in AD 70. Here I refer you to studies from the preterist viewpoint, such as:

"The Last Days According to Jesus" – RC Sproul
"The Days of Vengeance" – David Chilton
"The Parousia" – James Stuart Russell
"The Cross and the Parousia of Christ" – Max King
"Beyond the End Times," and other works – John Noe ... to name just a few.

From the writings of Josephus, "the man of sin" has been identified by some writers as a historical person of that period and situation. But I suggest that it had a broader reference, both for them and for us: the estranged humanity within each of us, the false persona of the dying ego that is in bondage to the law of sin that works in our members (Rom. 7:23). That war indeed revealed this in all those that were involved in that war, on both sides, if you read that history. It was and is the estranged humanity "having the qualities of, or the character resulting from, the destruction" and loss which is due to Adam's sin.

Vs. 4 characterizes every human being, before he or she has been regenerated, resurrected into the life of Christ. Times of pressure, ordeal or conflict reveal our true condition: whether yet dead in trespasses and sins, or alive and laying down our lives for our friends.

In vs. 3, the "standing-away from" can also have another interpretation: the called-out community (aka: church) "departing" from organized religion (whether the Jewish religion, of the time of Paul, or the Christian religion, of the ensuing centuries). This separating reveals the life of God within His body, as well as the realm of death where the flesh wars against the spirit. There is only one other place where this Greek word is used in the NT, and that is in Acts 21:21 which speaks of the rumor that Paul had been teaching the Jews among the nations to stand away (revolt; apostasize) from Moses (i.e., the Law):

"Yet they have been orally instructed concerning you, that you are repeatedly (or: habitually) teaching all the Jews down through the ethnic multitudes (or: nations; non-Jews) an apostasy away from Moses, constantly telling them not to be circumcising [their] children, nor even to be living their lives (continually walking about) in (by; with) the customs."

This may in fact have been the actual revolt, or, standing away from, of which Paul was here referring – the necessity to depart from the Law. When Paul made his defense to the crowd in Acts 22, he did not deny the rumor of 21:21.

6. And now, you know (have seen and are aware of) the thing continuously holding down in a firm grasp (detaining, restraining) unto the [situation for] him to be uncovered (unveiled; disclosed) in his own fitting situation (or: proper occasion; suitable season; fertile moment).

The word "know" is the Greek "oida," which strictly means "have seen." Those of Thessalonica had seen that which Paul now describes. It was so well known that Paul did not have to tell them who or what it was – unfortunately for us! It was a secret to those outside the called-out community, but those within had seen it and knew what he or it was. It was soon to be unveiled – at the right moment. The pronouns are masculine, so we normally translate this as "him/his." But Paul could have been referring to an object or a situation which in Greek was masculine, and thus have used the masculine pronoun. There is no way to be certain. Whether a man, or the inner estranged human, it was at that time soon to be uncovered. The "thing continuously holding down in a firm grasp (constantly restraining and detaining)" could well have been God, or, the body of Christ (the Perfect Man) – as suggested in the next verse.

7. For the secret (hidden purpose; mystery) of the lawlessness (pertaining to the condition of being without law; which is the unlawfulness; having the character of being violation of the Law; whose source is the contrariness to custom) is already continuously working within (operating; energizing), [yet] only until the one (or: man; [note: masculine article]) continuously holding down in a firm grasp (detaining; restraining) at the present moment can birth himself (bring himself to be; = separate himself) forth from out of the midst.

Now the context would suggest that it is "the secret and hidden purpose of the lawlessness" to which Paul was referring to in vs. 6 as having been veiled and covered – or hidden. The birthing "forth from out of the midst" could refer to the Christians leaving Jerusalem, just prior to its destruction. Or, it can refer to the Christ coming forth from the called-out body and unveiling the secret of that which is unlawful and contrary to custom. John saw this in the symbol of the woman birthing the man-child in Rev. 12. That, too, had multiple meanings:
a) Israel bringing forth Christ/His body manifesting His life
b) The called-out folks departing the Jewish religion, or escaping from Jerusalem
c) the birthing of God's sons to deliver creation, in every time and place.

For our day, I suggest that the mystery and hidden purpose of "the lawlessness" is that "law of sin" to which Paul referred. It is the law in our members that is contrary to the "law of the Spirit of life." Vs. 8 describes what happens when it is uncovered and revealed.

8. And then (at that time) the lawless person (the unlawful one; the one without law; the man who violates the Law; the person being contrary to custom) will be uncovered (unveiled; disclosed), whom the Lord Jesus will take back up again (or: lift up; reading "anaireo" with Nestle, Tasker & Concordant texts; Griesbach & other MSS read "analisko": consume, use up, expend) by the Spirit (Breath-effect) of His mouth, and will deactivate (render inoperative and useless; make inert) by the manifestation (the bringing of light upon and setting in full and clear view, causing an appearance) of his (or: its; or: His) presence –

Again, the application is both historical (Christ coming and judging, in AD 70), and Christ repeatedly coming and judging within His House. He uncovers the false persona, our estranged human nature, and takes it back up again by the Spirit of His mouth, or with the other MSS, consumes and renders pure and restored. The Breath-effect of His mouth (whether breathing upon us, or speaking to us) is the manifestation of His presence. This, as in ch. 1, above, brings righteousness and restores the Way pointed out: justice, fair and equitable dealings, rightwised relationships.

Reading "anaireo," we see that His Breath/Spirit takes the false and estranged back into Himself: restoration. Reading "analisko," we see purification and transformation. This manifestation of His presence comes both individually and corporately.

9. whose presence is continuously existing in correspondence to (or: in line with; in the sphere of; on the level of) the adversary's (opponent's; or: satan's) in-working activity (or: is constantly in accordance with the operation of the “adversary,” or, satan), in all power (or: within all ability) and signs and wonders of falsehood (or: which are a lie),

10. and within every deception (delusion; seduction) of the injustice (wrong; of the thing that is not the way pointed out) within the folks continuously being lost (or: by the folks progressively destroying themselves) in return for which (or: in the place of which) they do not (or: did not) take into their hands to receive and retain the love of the truth (or: Truth's love; the love which is truth and reality; or: an appreciation of and affection for Reality), into the [situation for] them at some point to be suddenly delivered (restored to health and wholeness; rescued; saved; restored to the original state and condition).

Now the "manifestation" in vs. 8 can also refer to the bringing light upon this "lawless person." Thus, vs. 9-10 can be read in two different ways:
a) following that which I just described above, seeing that it is Christ's manifestation and presence – meeting the inworking activity of the adversary, in its sphere, and on every level of its activity, within its signs and wonders of falsehood, and within each of its deceptions of injustice within the lost who are progressively destroying themselves, etc. Note that in the last clause of vs. 10 His work leads them "into the [situation for] them at some point to be suddenly delivered!"
b) seeing it as a manifestation of "the lawless person," either as an individual, historically, or as estranged humanity, we see that its presence corresponds to the working of the adversary within, which operates with its false power and lying wonders within deceptions of that which is contrary to the path of life. This causes folks to not receive or retain "the love which is truth and reality; or: an appreciation of and affection for Reality." Nonetheless, the result is the same, as the last part of vs. 10 tells us: deliverance, rescue.

11. And so, because of this, God is continuously sending to (or: in) them an in-working (or: operation) of wandering (or: which is the source of being caused to stray; which has the character of error and deception) into the [situation for] them to believe, and to trust, the lie,

12. to the end that all those not believing the Truth (or: trusting the reality), but rather approving and delighting in injustice (inequity; the thing that is not right), may (or: can; would) at some point be sifted, separated and decided about (or: judged).

Vs. 11-12 tell us of the intermediary judging of folks who are not presently a part of the called-out community. It is an echo of Rom. 1:24, which is a prelude to the period of sifting, separating and deciding by God as described here in vs. 12. This is an ongoing process, as vs. 11 says: He "is continuously sending to and in them and inworking (or: operation) of wandering." Here we see reference to the repayments noted in ch. 1:6, "squeezing and oppression, ordeal and trouble." As such things made the believers worthy of God's reign (1:5), so it will do in the sifting of these. Again, this applied to the situation in 1st century Thessalonica, and to all times and situations ever since. He is the same: yesterday, today, and on into the ages.

13. However we, ourselves, are presently indebted (or: continuously owing) to be constantly expressing gratitude to God (or: speaking of the goodness of grace and the well-being of the favor in God) always, concerning you, brothers (= fellow believers), folks having been and continuing to be [so] loved (preferentially valued) by the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] that God chose you for Himself, from [the] beginning, unto deliverance, [other MSS: God selected and took you in preference {to be} a firstfruit into a restoration to the original state and condition (or: into the midst of health and wholeness; {leading you} unto rescue and salvation)], in a setting-apart of spirit and in faith which has the character of truth (or: by sanctification from [the] Breath-effect and by trust, which is reality; or: in union with the Spirit's holiness and Truth's faith),

14. on into which, through our message of goodness, ease and well-being, He also called you folks [other MSS: us] into an encompassing (or: forming an encirclement; establishing a perimeter; creating a surrounding) of the glory (or: which is the glory) of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Note that our calling is into being encompassed by His glory; His glory forms an encirclement and establishes a perimeter of defense around us!

Here Paul turns his focus back to his opening in ch. 1:3, re-affirming their indebtedness to express gratitude, here concerning the brothers having been so loved by the Lord, and that God had chosen them for Himself from the beginning, and that this is why they were experiencing deliverance. This had the character of a set-apart spirit, faith and the truth of reality. The holiness belonged to the Spirit, and the faith came from the Truth. And as other MSS read, they in Thessalonica were selected to be a firstfruit of the restoration.

15. Consequently, then, brothers (= fellow believers; = family), you must continuously stand (or: progressively make a stand; habitually stand firm) and continuously get into your strength – with a masterful grip – the transmissions (things given over; things handed alongside; traditions) which you were taught, whether through a word (or: [the] Logos; a thought or an idea; a message) or through our letter.

Here Paul gives admonition to continue standing firm, or to progressively make a stand, and continue to get the message of the good news in their grip, with strength, through the teachings that had been given to them.

16. Now may our Lord, Jesus Christ Himself, even (or: and) our God and Father, the One loving us and giving a calling alongside pertaining to the Age (or: performance as a Paraclete with age-lasting aid; eonian relief, encouragement, consolation and admonition) as well as a good expectation (or: a virtuous and excellent hope) in grace (or: in union with favor),

17. be at once calling your hearts alongside and establishing (making to stand fast; making stable and firm) you in every good (or: excellent) work and word (or: thought; idea; message) [with other MSS: in all the Word and in virtuous action].

His next remarks state again the qualities and characteristics of the new creation in Christ: God's performing as a Paraclete and giving us a good expectation which comes in union with favor and in the sphere of grace. Then we see his admonition to be calling each others' hearts to their sides, which will make them stable and firm in every excellent action and virtuous work and word. It is love, solidarity and action with a view to goodness. May we, too, receive this thought.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three

Commentary On Second Thessalonians
Chapter Three
By Jonathan Mitchell

1. The remainder (or: What is left; Finally), brothers (= fellow believers), keep on praying concerning us (surround us with words and thoughts that lead toward goodness and well-being), to the end that the Word of the Lord (or: the Lord's idea and message) would continuously run and may constantly be made glorious (or: be characterized by a manifestation which calls forth praise; be of good reputation), according as [it is and does] also with you,

The word "praying" is a verb (pros-eu-chomai) that means to think, speak or act with a view toward, and that lead to, goodness; to project well-being; to focus ease and goodness toward the object of our prayer. We that are joined to the Lord are "one spirit," and God dwells in us, His temple (dwelling place). So our thoughts, words and or actions begin from Him and us, joined together in purpose, and they go out from us as spirit (words and thoughts are spirits) directly to the object of our "prayer." So thus does Paul ask them to "surround him, and those with him, with words and thoughts that lead toward goodness and well-being."

Their prayer would thus assist the Word of the Lord (His idea and message) in progressively running ahead into new territory, or deeper into the hearts of folks. This success would bring a good reputation to the Word, and result in manifestations which call forth praise to God. Paul then affirms that this is the case with the Thessalonicans.

2. and that we may be rescued (dragged out) away from the out-of-place (or: improper; absurd; abnormal; off-base; weird; outrageous; perverse) and misery-gushing people (or: unprofitable, useless, unsound or evil folks), for you see, not everyone [is] disposed to the faith (or: this trust and loyalty is not associated with all people; not [yet is] the faith a source for all folks; not from all people [do we find] the faith; conviction [is presently] not a possession of all people; this trust [does] not [now] pertain to everyone).

Here he gives another purpose for their prayers: Paul's and his associates' personal safety, and for their work to be free from unprofitable and improper situations, and that it would not prove to be useless among folks that just gush with misery and outrageous behavior.

Now the final clause of this vs. has raised questions. Just what does he mean here? I have given six possible ways of rendering the Greek clause. The first one simply states the present condition of the vast majority of people: they are not at this time "disposed to the faith." For many a surface reason is because of what they see in the lives of "Christians." But the real reason is that God has not yet raised them from the dead; He has not yet made their condition to be a fertile moment – the right season to plant the seed of life in their hearts. In 1 Cor. 15, Paul spoke of each one having his own class and order within which to be made alive by God. The birth of His children is up to Him. When they are given ears to hear, then they will hear the word, and it will produce faith within them.

3. But the Lord [= Yahweh or Christ] is (or: exists) continuously faithful and full of faith, who will establish (set you to stand fast) and keep (guard; protect) you folks away from the malicious person (or: the unsound and unprofitable; the painful labor; the malignant situation).

Note that the situation for which Paul asked them to speak into his life he is here speaking into theirs. He is in vs. 3 "pros-eu-chomai-ing" that God will set them to stand fast, and will guard and protect them, keeping them away from unsound and unprofitable situations and malicious people. But further, in his stating that the Lord is faithful, and full of faith, WE can be confident (full of faith) that He will eventually impart faith to those who do not yet have it (vs. 2), and deliver the malicious folks from their malignant situation and condition.

4. Yet we have been persuaded and have placed confidence on you, in [the] Lord [= Christ or Yahweh], that the things which we are repeatedly passing along as an announcement to you people, you folks both habitually do and will be doing (or: normally produce and will continue producing).

Here he continues speaking confidence into their lives, affirming that they are both hearing the message and acting on it. Again, he is "pros-eu-chomai-ing" into them.

5. But may the Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] make your hearts fully straight (or: direct and guide your hearts) into God's love (the love which is God) and into the relentless patient endurance which is Christ (or: the persistent remaining under to support, which comes from the Anointed One and the Anointing)!

In the first clause, the word normally rendered "direct" or "guide" means literally "straighten down," or, "make fully straight." This very act would lead the heart into God's love, for a "straight heart" loves and experiences God. The second part of this prayer is that their inner core would enter into the relentless, persisting patient endurance, which also is Christ, and that they would abide in the position to continue giving support – the support that comes from the Anointing.

6. Now we are once again passing along this advice to you, brothers (= fellow believers; or: = family), in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to continuously place yourselves away from (or: avoid) every brother (= believer) [who is] continuously walking about disorderly (without order; behaving with irregular conduct), and not according to the transmission (thing given over and delivered alongside; the tradition) which you folks [other MSS: they] received (took to your side) from us.

7. For you yourselves have seen, and thus are aware of, how it continues binding to continuously imitate us, because we were not disorderly among you,

8. neither did we eat bread as a gift from anyone, but rather [we were] in wearisome toil (also: beating; cutting off) and difficult travail (or: hard labor), continuously working night and day with a view to thus not burden any of you.

In vs. 6-8 Paul give practical admonitions to them. In vs. 2 he had asked them to speak into his own life that he would be rescued from such folks as he describes in vs. 6. Now he simply says to stay away from these disorderly people. How can two walk together (= live their lives in the same path) unless they are in agreement? He is not speaking about ministering to them, but about living their daily lives in the way that these folks do. They are contrary paths.

He tells them to imitate himself, and those with him, as to manner of conduct, and sharing in providing for the community – working, so as not to be a burden. Vs. 8 shows us that they worked physically to the point of weariness, with hard labor. His gospel had a practical love at its core.

9. [It was] not because we continue having no right (or: holding no authority), but rather to the end that we ourselves may give to you folks a pattern (or: offer ourselves as a model and example for you) unto the [purpose for you] to be continuously imitating us!

10. You see, even when we were face to face with you we were repeatedly passing on this advice to you, that if a certain person is not continuously willing (or: does not normally want, purpose or intend) to habitually work, let him neither be habitually eating.

11. For we continually hear some are constantly walking about disorderly (a military term: out of rank and not taking part in the battle; = living with irregular conduct), continuously working [at] nothing, but further, are constantly working in the periphery (or: circumventing work; or: = being “busybodies” and meddling).

Vs. 9-11 flesh out his practical admonitions, giving specific examples. His message had a strong work ethic. He was not hesitant to point out freeloaders and folks that just spent their time at the edge of the work – looking like they were participating and producing, but were in reality circumventing work. He was writing to a "community" of believers. They apparently lived their lives with a certain aspect of communal living. They were a social unit.

12. But to such people we are now passing along this advice, and calling [them] alongside to encourage, exhort, admonish, bring relief and entreat [them], through [other MSS: within; in union with] our Lord, Jesus Christ, to the end that, habitually working with quietness (or: silence), they may continuously eat their own bread (= food which came from their own work).

Here Paul brings a gentle word, yet straight to the point: "habitually work with quietness, and eat from their own production."

13. Yet you yourselves, brothers (= fellow believers), while continually doing well (performing beautifully; creating the ideal; doing finely), you should not at any point be in a bad disposition (or: be or do from out of what is ugly, worthless or of poor quality).

It strikes me how this letter begins with calming and assuring them, and ends with quiet admonitions. He had spoken of pressures and ordeals, and of how God would judge those that were persecuting them. Now, amid all that, he simply says for them to continue doing well, perform what is beautiful and create the ideal. And amidst being squeezed, don't be in a bad disposition, or react in an ugly manner. Can you just see him smiling as he writes this?

14. But if a certain person continuously does not obey (or: listen under and humbly pay attention to) our word (or: message; logos; thought and idea) through this letter, you folks be regularly noting this person (setting for yourself a mark regarding this one) and do not continuously mix yourselves together with him or her, to the end that he or she can (or: would) be turned about (or: be turned back upon himself [= to consider his situation and behavior]).

Now his tone changes, and a firm directive is given: don't continue to socialize with those who make it a habit not to obey. But there is a loving motive for this: "to the end that he or she would be turned about and consider their behavior." The care, love and outreach to even such as these is to be their motivation.

15. And yet you must not consider [him/her] as an enemy, but rather you must continuously admonish (or: put [him/her] in mind), as a brother [to him/her].

Again Paul stresses deeds and attitudes of love for those with whom it is hard to live, with folks that are burrs under you saddle. They are brothers (part of the family). Don't excommunicate them. Don't ask them to leave. Put them in your mind and pros-eu-chomai them.

16. Now may the Lord of the peace (or: the Lord [= Christ or Yahweh] Who is peace and harmony [= shalom]), Himself, at once give the peace to you folks through everything (or: through all people; through all [time]), within every turn (or: in every way; [other MSS read: within every place]). The Lord [Christ or Yahweh] [is] with all of you.

He ends his admonitions concerning the disobedient and lazy with a reminder that God is a God who is peace, a Lord of harmony. And these Thessalonicans will be given peace through every situation and through everyone – even amidst their being squeezed and persecuted. This will happen at every turn of their lives, and in every way. Why? because the Lord is with them – He is present. The parousia existed at that time, and with them.

17. The greeting (salutation) is by my hand – Paul's – which is a sign in every letter; thus I continually write.

18. The grace and favor of our Lord, Jesus Christ, [is] with all of you folks!

His final word of assurance to them: Christ's grace and favor is with them. Pressures and ordeals may abound; heaven and earth may shake; worlds may collide; but we have His grace and His favor. It is so.

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