2016-11 - 2 Thessalonians Study
Letters to a Young Church ~ Prelude to the Epistle
As we continue studying Paul's letters to the Thessalonians, we now begin to look at 2 Thessalonians.
Introduction and Prelude to the Epistle
- I Fire and Brimstone
- A. The Prelude to the Epistle
- B. The Praise for Excellence
- C. The Punishment of the Enemy D. The Prayer of Exhortation
Introduction: Even Paul found himself wanting to boast about those he considered as his own children, the Thessalonians. It was the early 50’s, (AD) and Paul was in Corinth. He had just been informed that
“… The Thessalonians were continuing to grow and to remain faithful to Christ in spite of persecution.” 1
On the other hand
“… False teaching concerning the day of the Lord had entered the church and was causing confusion and leading some of the Christians to quit their jobs in expectation of the Lord’s return.” 2
And it was in light of these facts, that Paul sat down to pen what we refer to as the second letter to the Thessalonians. As with the Thessalonians, what he taught should encourage us.
First he identified the Thessalonians past progress, (Chapter 1). Next he wanted to correct a current error, (Chapter 2). Finally he encouraged them with the promise of a positive future, (Chapter 3).
This morning we will look at the Thessalonians past progress and the factors involved in their hope and confidence. We will find the same truths that were a comfort to these early believers are just as truthful and just as much a comfort for us today. But is there actually comfort in the idea of “Fire and Brimstone?”
- The Prelude to the Epistle
Paul opens the letter with a greeting, similar to a number of his other letters. He points out that the message comes not just from him, but from Silas, or Silvanus, and Timothy. He writes based on their relationship to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Who is the basis of salvation.
With grace and peace, Paul addresses the letter to the believers. These are the Greek and Hebrew greetings. They each have specific significance. The grace charis refers to:
“the act of God in Christ whereby man’s sin is put away and salvation made available as a free gift.” 3
Peace is the Hebrew shalom, and here doesn’t refer to the absence of war or turmoil, but:
“… is concerned with ‘wholeness’, ‘soundness’, and signifies prosperity in the widest sense, especially prosperity in spiritual things.” 4
- Constable, Thomas L., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, “2 Thessalonians,” Victor Books, 1987, p. 713.
- Morris, Leon, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, “1 and 2 Thessalonians,” Inter-Varsity Press, 1983, p. 33.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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