Epistles to the Thessalonians in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

SECOND EPISTLE. Genuineness. Polycarp (Ep. ad Philipp. 11) alludes to 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:15, and so attests it. Justin Martyr (Dial.Trypho, 193, sec. 32) alludes to 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Irenaeus (iii. 7, section 2) quotes 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Clement of Alexandria quotes 2 Thessalonians 3:2 as Paul's words (Strom. i. 5, section 554; Paedag. i. 17). Tertullian (de Resurr. Carnis, chap. 24) quotes 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 as part of Paul's epistles. DESIGN. The report from Thessalonica after the first epistle represented the faith and love of the church there as on the increase, and their constancy amidst persecutions unshaken. Their only error needing correction was that Paul's description of Christ's sudden second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:2), possibly at any moment, led them to believe it actually imminent. Some professed to know by "the Spirit" (2 Thessalonians 2:2) it was so, others declared Paul when with them had said so; a letter purporting to be from him to that effect was circulated among them (2 Thessalonians 2:2, in 2 Thessalonians 3:17 he marks his autograph salutation as the test whereby to know his genuine letters). Hence some ceased to mind their daily work, and cast themselves on the charity of others as if their only duty was to look for Christ's immediate coming. Paul therefore tells them (2 Thessalonians 2) that before the Lord shall come there must first be a great apostasy, and the man of sin be revealed; and that to neglect daily business would only bring scandal on the church, and was contrary to his own practice among them (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9), and that believers must withdraw from such disorderly walkers (2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15). DIVISIONS. (1) 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; he commends the...

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