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The Book of 2 Thessalonians - Summary

This is a letter in the Bible's New Testament. Paul wrote it to Christians in Thessalonica not long after his first letter to them. People were behaving in a cruel way towards the Christians there. Paul told them have confidence in God. When Jesus returned God would punish those wicked people. He would also punish everybody who did not accept the good news about Jesus. Some Christians in Thessalonica thought that Jesus had already returned. Paul said that the Wicked One would come first. He would oppose Jesus. So, Christians should trust God, even when they suffer. Other Christians in Thessalonica thought that Jesus was coming back very soon. So, they refused to work. Paul reminded them that he himself worked hard in Thessalonica. And they all must work too.

Listen Download Introduction
Listen Download Chapter 1 Greeting; God's Judgement and Glory.
Listen Download Chapter 2 The Man of Lawlessness; Stand Firm.
Listen Download Chapter 3 Pray for Us; Warning against Irresponsible Behavoir; Final Greetings.

Book of 2Thessalonians Outlines by J.Vernon McGee PDF format <Link>


About 2 Thessalonians

Thessalonica was a large city in Macedonia. Macedonia included the north part of the country that we call Greece. It also included the south part of the country that we call Yugoslavia. We think that Paul, together with Silas and Timothy, went to Thessalonica about the year *AD 50. That was about 20 years after Jesus died. Paul went there for a short time, to tell the people about Jesus Christ. A few months after that, Paul wrote his first letter to the Christians who lived at Thessalonica. Paul wrote that first letter when he was in Corinth city. Corinth was about 300 kilometres (200 miles) south from Thessalonica.

While Paul was still at Corinth, people told him some news. The news was about the Christians who lived at Thessalonica. So, he wrote this second letter to them, only a short time after he had sent his first letter.

Paul knew that some people were still causing bad trouble for the Christians at Thessalonica. So he wrote to help them to be brave (chapter 1). He says that God knows about their troubles. God has a purpose in everything, and he will *punish his people’s *enemies in the end.

Also, some people were teaching that Jesus had already returned to the earth. Other people were teaching that he would return very soon. Some of the Christians at Thessalonica may have believed what these people taught. We think that some of the Christians may even have stopped working as a result. So, Paul writes to explain that Jesus will not return yet. Certain things must happen before he returns (chapter 2). Paul also says that nobody should stop working (chapter 3). People should work so that they can get their own food.

Chapter 1

Paul starts his letter

v1 This letter is from Paul, Silas and Timothy to God’s people who live at Thessalonica. You are united to God our Father, and to the *Lord Jesus Christ. v2 We pray that God the Father, and the *Lord Jesus Christ will continue to be very kind to you. We pray also that they will cause you to be without trouble in your minds.

Paul thanks God because of the *believers at Thessalonica

v3 You are like brothers and sisters to us, and we ought to thank God because of you always. We should thank him, because you are learning to believe Christ more and more. And each of you is loving each of the other Christians more and more. v4 As a result, we speak about you to God’s other groups of *believers. We are so happy to tell them about you. You are showing how God’s people should live. People often cause you bad trouble and pain because you are Christians. But you are continuing to believe Christ. You are continuing to be patient and brave.

v5 All this shows us something clearly, about how God decides about people. God decides about people who die. He decides what should happen to those people. And he will always decide what is right for them. People are causing great trouble for you now because God is your king. So it is right that, as a result, you should live always with God and his people. And God will cause this to happen to you.

v6 God will do what is right. So he will *punish those people who are causing trouble for you. He will cause trouble for them. v7 God will also do what is right for you. You have troubles now. But God will cause you to rest and to be without trouble. You will rest, together with us, when the *Lord Jesus will come down from *heaven. He will come with his powerful *angels. v8 He will come with a very hot fire. And he will *punish those people who refuse to know God. He will *punish those people who do not obey the good news about our *Lord Jesus. v9 To *punish them, he will go on destroying them always. He will shut them out from where the *Lord is present. So, they will never see how very powerful, great and beautiful he is. v10 All this will happen on that special day when Jesus will come. On that day, Jesus’ own people will show what great things he has done for them. All those people who believe him will say great things about him. And you will be among them, because you believed our message. You believed what we told you.

Paul prays for the *believers at Thessalonica

v11 So we always pray for you. Our God has chosen you to be his own people. And you must continue to be the kind of people that he wants. So, we pray that he will be happy about you. We pray also that God will work powerfully in you. So then he will make it possible for you to do every good thing that you want to do. You want to do those good things because you believe Christ. v12 We pray this so that other people will say good things about our *Lord Jesus because of you. They will see the great things that he has done for you. Also, Jesus will cause people to say good things about you. This will happen because our God and the *Lord Jesus Christ are so very kind to you.

Chapter 2

*Antichrist will come before Jesus returns

v1 Our friends, we must explain something now about the time when our *Lord Jesus Christ will return. You know that, at that time, he will bring us all together to be with him. But we ask you something very strongly. v2 You must not let yourselves become confused or afraid easily because of false messages about the *Lord’s return. Those messages say that the *day of the Lord has already happened. Perhaps somebody might say that God’s Spirit has shown him a message like that. Or somebody might report that we said it. Or they might say that we wrote it in a letter.

v3 Do not let anyone cause you to believe something false in any way. That day will not happen until certain other things have happened first. Before that day, there will be a time when many people will turn against God completely. Also, before that day, people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. He is the man that God will certainly kill. v4 This man will be God’s *enemy. He will be the *enemy of everything that people call God. He will be the *enemy of everything that people *worship. He will think that he is much greater than any god. As a result, this man will even go into God’s special house and he will sit down there. And he will tell people that he himself is God.

Verses 1-3 When he was with them, Paul had taught the Christians at Thessalonica about Jesus’ return. (See verse 5.) He had said more about it in his first letter to them. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and 5:1-10.) But other people had taught that it had already happened. So, Paul is explaining that certain things must happen first.

The ‘day of the Lord’ is not a 24-hour day but a longer time. It includes many events. It will be a time when God will beat all his enemies (Zephaniah 1:14-18). He will be angry with them and so he will kill them all (Isaiah 13:9). This will cause trouble on the earth (Isaiah 13:11; Amos 5:18-20). But it will be a very good time for those who love God. It is a way to talk about the time when God will make Israel’s people free (Jeremiah 30:7-9; Joel 3:16). It also is a way to speak about the time when Jesus will return. And then he will start to rule on the earth.

Verses 3-4 The ‘man who completely refuses to obey God’ is the opposite of Jesus Christ. Another name for him is ‘*Antichrist’ (see 1 John 2:18, 22 and 4:3). The book in the Bible called Daniel tells about a very bad ruler like this. (See Daniel 7:25-26; 9:26-27; 11:31-39.) And the Bible also describes a strange animal that may also be like a picture of this person. (See Revelation 13:1-8.)

v5 I told you these things when I was with you. I am sure that you remember that. v6 This man will come at the time that God has chosen. But something makes it impossible for him to come yet. And you know what it is. v7 Already *Satan is working secretly to turn people against God and against God’s rules. But there is someone who is making it impossible for *Satan to work like that freely. And that someone will continue to make it impossible, until God takes that someone away. v8 Then people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. But when the *Lord Jesus will come, he will kill that man. Jesus will kill him with the words that Jesus speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself.

Verses 6-7 Something (verse 6) and/or someone (verse 7) is making it impossible for *Antichrist to come yet. Paul had taught the Christians at Thessalonica about this. So, they knew what it and/or he was. But we do not know certainly what Paul means here. He may mean the government or governments that rule people in this world. God chooses to let governments rule people. And good governments make good rules. Those rules help people do what is right.

v9 *Satan will cause this very bad man to come. Also, *Satan will cause this man to be very powerful. So, this very bad man will do all kinds of things that people cannot usually do. Those things will surprise people very much. Those things will cause people to believe this very bad man. They will cause people to believe things that are not true. v10 This very bad man will also do all kinds of bad things. He will cause bad people to believe what is not true. So, God will certainly kill those bad people. Those bad people will believe false things because they refused to love the true message. They refused to love the true message so that God could save them. v11 For this reason, God causes them to believe wrong things very easily and very strongly. So then they will believe what is not true. v12 The result is that God will decide to *punish them. They refused to believe what is true. And instead, they enjoyed doing wrong things. So God will *punish all of them.

The Christians at Thessalonica must continue to believe what Paul taught them

v13 But you are like brothers and sisters to us, and the *Lord loves you. We must thank God always because of you, because God has chosen you. God chose you to be among the first people that he would save. He saves you because his Spirit makes you God’s special people. God’s Spirit makes you separate from everything that is bad. God saves you because you believe him. You believe what is true. v14 God asked you strongly to become his special people. You heard him when we told you the good news. He wanted you to become special people who would live always with our *Lord Jesus Christ. You will live in the beautiful place with Christ, who is so very great. v15 So, our friends, you must continue to believe Christ strongly. Continue to believe the true things that we taught you. God first taught those things to us. And we taught them to you when we spoke to you. We also taught them to you when we wrote our letter to you.

v16 We pray about you to our *Lord Jesus Christ himself, and to God, our Father. They have shown how much they love you and us. And they have promised to give good things to us all. So, we can continue to be brave and strong for all time. We can hope strongly for these good things. They will give these things to us because they are so very kind. v17 We pray that our *Lord Jesus Christ and God, our Father, will make you brave. We pray that they will continue to make you strong in your minds. So you will always do what is good. And you will always say what is good.

Chapter 3

Paul asks the Christians to pray for him and for his friends

v1 Now, friends, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that, because of us, more and more people will hear the *Lord’s message with pleasure soon. Pray that they will believe his message. So then they will thank God for it. That is what happened among you. v2 Pray also that God will not let very bad people cause bad trouble for us. Pray like that, because not everyone believes the message about our *Lord. v3 But the *Lord always does what he has promised. So, he will help you, so that you continue to believe him strongly. And he will keep you safe from *Satan.

v4 Also the *Lord makes us sure about you. We told you things that you must do. You are doing those things. And you will continue to do those things. We are sure about that. v5 We pray that the *Lord will help you to know him more and more. So then you will continue to understand more about how much God loves you. And he will cause you to be patient and strong, like Christ.

The Christians must not refuse to work

v6 Our friends, we tell you this with the authority that the *Lord Jesus Christ gives to us. You must stay away from every *believer who is living in a lazy way. People like that are refusing to obey the things that we taught you. v7 You yourselves know that you ought to be like us. You ought to do the things that we did. We were not lazy when we were with you. v8 We always paid for all the food that we received from anyone. We worked very much, during the day and at night. We worked so that we did not need to ask any of you for anything. So, you did not have to supply anything for us. v9 We could have told you that you must supply things for us. We have authority to do that. But we wanted to show you ourselves what you should do. So then you could be like us. v10 Even when we were with you, we told you this rule. ‘If anyone refuses to work, you should not let him eat’, we said.

v11 We say this because someone has told us news about you. They have told us that some people among you are living in a lazy way. Those people do not work themselves. But they talk very much about other people. They are busy with things that should not matter to them. v12 We speak strongly to those people who are lazy like that. We speak with the authority that the *Lord Jesus Christ gives to us. We tell them strongly that it is their duty to work. They should work properly so that they may get their own food to eat.

Verses 6-12 In his first letter to them, Paul told the Christians at Thessalonica that they must work. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.) But some of them were still refusing to work. They thought that Jesus would return to the earth very soon. So, they may have thought that they did not need to work. In this letter, Paul has already explained that Jesus will not return so very soon. Certain things must happen first. (See chapter 2:1-12.) So now, Paul tells them again that it is right for them to work.

Verses 7-10 See also 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12.

v13 But you other *believers must never stop doing what is good. v14 We have written things in this letter to tell you what you should do. If anyone refuses to obey these things, tell everyone about him. And stay away from him, so that he may be ashamed. v15 But do not think about him or speak to him as your *enemy. Instead, tell him seriously, like a brother, that he should obey our message.

Paul finishes his letter

v16 The *Lord causes us to be without trouble in our minds. And I pray that the *Lord himself will do that for you at all times and in every way. I pray that the *Lord will be with all of you.

v17 I, Paul, am writing these words myself to say ‘hello’ to you. I write my name like this at the end of all my letters. This is how I write. v18 I pray that our *Lord Jesus Christ will continue to be very kind to all of you.

Word List

AD ~ AD 50 means 50 years after Jesus came, and so on.

angel ~ a servant of God. He brings messages from God to people on earth.

Antichrist ~ another name for the man who will completely refuse to obey God.

believer ~ a person who knows and accepts Christ.

day of the Lord ~ The ‘day of the Lord’ is not a 24-hour day. It means all the things that may happen during many years. It includes many events. It will be a time when God will beat all his enemies (Zephaniah 1:14-18). He will be angry with them and so he will kill them all (Isaiah 13:9). This will cause trouble on the earth (Isaiah 13:11; Amos 5:18-20). But it will be a very good time for those who love God. It is a way to talk about the time when God will make Israel’s people free (Jeremiah 30:7-9; Joel 3:16). It also is a way to speak about the time when Jesus will return. And then he will start to rule on the earth.

enemy ~ person that wants to hurt or to attack.

heaven ~ the place beyond the earth where God and Jesus Christ live.

Lord ~ master; another name for God or Jesus; it means that he is greater than everyone else.

punish ~ to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done bad things.

Satan ~ another name for the Devil. He is the bad *spirit who wants to be God. He is the ruler of bad *spirits and of all that is bad. He is the enemy of God and the enemy of Christians.

spirit ~ spirits are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually called *angels. Bad spirits (also called evil spirits or demons) live in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.

worship ~ to love and thank someone (God) more than anyone else.

Book List

A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament

P. Ellingworth & E. A. Nida ~ A Translator’s Handbook on Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians

L. Morris ~ New International Commentary on the New Testament ~ The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians

F. F. Bruce ~ Word Biblical Commentary ~ 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Various Bible versions



Book 53 2 Thessalonians
King James Version
001:001 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
001:002 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
001:003 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
001:004 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
001:005 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
001:006 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
001:007 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
001:008 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
001:009 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
001:010 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
001:011 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
001:012 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

002:001 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
002:002 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
002:003 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
002:004 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
002:005 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
002:006 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
002:007 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
002:008 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
002:009 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
002:010 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
002:011 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
002:012 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
002:013 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
002:014 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
002:015 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
002:016 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
002:017 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

003:001 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
003:002 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
003:003 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
003:004 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
003:005 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
003:006 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
003:007 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
003:008 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
003:009 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
003:010 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
003:011 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
003:012 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
003:013 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
003:014 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
003:015 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
003:016 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
003:017 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
003:018 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.




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