What is in 2 Thessalonians?
2 Thessalonians is the 53rd book in the Bible, the 14th book in the New Testament, and one of Paul’s letters.

Paul once again starts off the letter by praising the Thessalonians for their faithfulness and endurance. He assures them that even though they are persecuted, God will deal with the persecutors in the end. Paul then addresses a misconception among the Thessalonians. They were quick to believe that the Lord had already come again, but Paul tells them of things that must come (rebellion and the ‘son of lawlessness’) before the Lord does. Then, some of the Thessalonian believers have apparently begun to not do their jobs, and to that, Paul writes that every person must work and earn a living.

Who wrote it?
2 Thessalonians 1:1 names the apostle Paul as the author (although he may have composed most of the letter with the help of a scribe), with Silvanus and Timothy. The letter does occasionally use ‘I’ to refer to Paul, as in 2 Thessalonians 3:17, and Paul is generally considered to have authored most of the letter. It must be noted, however, that unlike the first letter, many scholars are skeptical of Pauline authorship, prompted by things like 2 Thessalonians having an overall negative tone while 1 Thessalonians had a positive one, or that 1 and 2 are too stylistically similar. These arguments are not the most compelling, and Pauline authorship still makes more sense than a differing view.

Who was it written to?
Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia in the time period the letter was written, but it is located today in northern Greece. Paul visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey and gained many converts to Christianity. The letter is addressed to the church in that area.

When was it written?
2 Thessalonians is generally traced to around 50 A.D., shortly after Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians.

Why was it written?
2 Thessalonians was written to correct a few errors in the church: the Thessalonians were concerned about the Day of the Lord, thinking it had already arrived when it hadn’t. A few people in the church had also started to become lazy. Paul addressed both of these issues.

How does 2 Thessalonians apply to me?
In a sense, both of the two main issues of 2 Thessalonians are discussed in 1 Thessalonians also. It is important to understand that the Day of the Lord has not yet come, and a believer is supposed to be prepared for it by not slacking off. A Christian is called to continually follow God’s commands to the extent that they can, to grow spiritually, and to help the church.


Recommended resources:

As for all posts in this series, a book introduction in a good study Bible will provide more information than listed here. The ESV Study Bible is one recommendation.
The Bible Project video on 2 Thessalonians