Who wrote it?
2 Thessalonians 1:1 indicates that it was written by the apostle Paul, probably along with Silas and Timothy.
When(ish) was it written?
2 Thessalonians was likely written in AD 51-52.
Why was it written?
The church in Thessalonica still had some misconceptions about the Day of the Lord. They thought it had come already so they stopped with their work. They were being persecuted badly. Paul wrote to clear up misconceptions and to comfort them.
Some Key Verses
Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
– 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
– 2 Thessalonians 2:13
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:3
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:10
A Quick Summary
Paul greets the church at Thessalonica, and encourages and exhorts them. He commends them for what he hears they are doing in the Lord, and he prays for them (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12). In chapter 2, Paul explains what will happen in the Day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Paul then encourages them to stand firm and instructs them to keep away from idle men who don’t live by the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
Old Testament Ties
Paul refers to several Old Testament passages in his discourse on the end times, thereby confirming and reconciling the Old Testament prophets. Much of his teaching on the end times in this letter is based on the prophet Daniel and his visions. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9, he refers to Daniel’s prophecy regarding the “man of lawlessness” (Daniel 7–8).
What does this mean?
2 Thessalonians is filled with information that explains the end times. It also exhorts us not to be idle and to work for what we have. There are also some great prayers in 2 Thessalonians that can be an example for us on how to pray for other believers today.
Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, 5:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2:1-17, Revelation 19, and Matthew 24:12-14. What verses or ideas stand out to you from this passage? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
Take a few minutes with your group to brainstorm a list popular movies, TV programs, books, etc. that portray a perspective of the end of the world. What are some of the commonly held viewpoints in our culture regarding the end times?
What is your own general perspective regarding what happens to people after they die, and regarding what will be true of us for eternity? How has the Bible informed your views?
Read John 14:6. Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life? Are you hesitant to share this belief with others?
How does the reality that God is in complete control of every eternal thing affect your perspective when it comes to the day to day struggles in your own life?