2Thessalonians 3 - Outline of 1Thessalonians(MENU page)
1. Finally, brethren, pray for us,
that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified,
even as [it is] with you:
2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men:
for all [men] have not faith.
Finally {ie., furthermore}, brethren...
Verses 1-5 conclude Paul's encouragement (in ch.2) of these brothers who had temporarily lost hope, because false teaching had convinced them that they had missed the Rapture and were living in the Tribulation period of the Day of the Lord. After instructing them concerning the future Day of the Lord, Paul had comforted them concerning the security of their position as God's own possession in Christ. Their troubles were not due to God's wrath, but because the present sinful world is not friendly to Christ or His people. Therefore, he had encouraged them to 'stand fast' against falsehood, and to 'hold fast' God's true Word, which he had taught them. At the end of ch.2, Paul prayed asking the Lord to assure them of the Truth and to make them steadfast in living according to it.
...brethren, pray for us...-
Here, Paul reminded the Thessalonian believers, that, like them, he and his co-workers were also experiencing trials and persecutions. None of the brethren were sufficient in themselves, for God's service. All are dependent upon Him, and all have the privilege and responsibility of prayer for one another.
...pray for us...
  1. that the word of the Lord...
    • may have free course {lit., may run}...-
      ie., that it would accomplish the purpose for which the Lord has sent it out. Psa 147:15; Isa 55:11; Hab 2:2; eg., Acts 6:7
    • [may] be glorified {ie., be magnified, extolled, highly regarded}, even as it is with you. 1The 1:5-10; 2:13
      A high regard for the Word should not reach its peak, when a person believes the Gospel. Too often, believers neglect the Word, due to worldly distractions. God's children ought to hunger for it, study it, obey it and proclaim it. Mat 4:4; 1Pet 2:2,3; Jer 15:16; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16,17
  2. that we may be delivered...
    • ...from unreasonable {ie., out of place, irrational} and 'wicked' {GK=poneros, actively evil, malicious} men.
      Such men are under the sway of the Wicked One.
      This word identifies Satan, as the Wicked One, in Mat 13:19,38; 1Joh 2:13,14; 5:18.
      (In 2The 2:8, another word {GK=anomos}, identifies the antichrist as the Lawless One.)
    • ...for not all men have faith {lit., the faith}.-
      Sinful men, who do not respect God, His Word, or His Son, are unlikely to respect His servants. Joh 15:18-21
3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.
4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you,
that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God,
and into the patient waiting for Christ.
But the Lord is faithful...- (in contrast, unbelieving men are unpredictable and harmful, v.2; Psa 118:8)
For this reason, Paul had asked for prayer.
For this reason, Paul was confident that the Lord would answer his prayer for the Thessalonian believers.
...who shall stablish you {as in 2:16,17}, and keep {ie., guard, protect} you from evil {GK=poneros, ie., from the Evil One}.
...we have confidence in the Lord touching {ie., regarding} you...
Paul was sure that the Lord Himself would accomplish His work within these believers.
  • that ye... do and will do the things we command you.
    Paul was confident that the Lord would move them to obey his previous commands:
    • to "stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught." (2:15)
    • to "Pray for us." (v.1,2)
    Likewise, he trusted the Lord to enable them to fulfill the commands that he was about to give them, in v.6 and v.12.
  • that the Lord would direct your hearts...
    The word 'direct' {lit., 'to make straight'} means 'to open the way' or 'to guide.' Paul used this word in 1The 3:11, regarding his confidence that the Lord would make it possible for him to return to Thessalonica, in His time and way. So, here, while Paul was concerned that these new brothers had been easily mis-led (by false teachers), he trusted that the Lord would lead their hearts...
    • into the love of God. Rom 5:5; 8:28
    • into the patient waitng {ie., steadfast enduring} for Christ. 1Cor 15:57,58
      Paul was sure that the Lord would restore their hope {confident expectation} of Christ's coming, which had previously filled their hearts (1The 1:9,10). Although our understanding of end time events may be imperfect, our hearts ought to be yearning for His 'parousia' {coming, presence}, to receive His own.
6. 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.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us:
for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 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:
9 Not because we have not power,
but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you,
that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly,
working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
...we command you... that ye withdraw {ie., avoid, disassociate}...
Church discipline often involves separation from an offending brother (see, v.14,15).
The Lord Jesus Himself prescribed this in Mat 18:17.
Such action must not be taken lightly. The church must know the mind of the Lord, if they are to act according to His authority.
Paul knew how to apply God's Word to this situation. He commanded the church to take this action "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (cp. Rom 16:17,18; 1Cor 5:11-13)
...from every brother that walketh disorderly {ie., with slackness, like a soldier out of ranks}...
...not after the tradition {ie., the things handed down} which ye received of us.
Earlier in this letter, they had been admonished to 'hold the traditions which ye have been taught' (2:15), which included Paul's teaching about the Day of the Lord. Perhaps those who held to the false teaching (that the Day of the Lord was already present) could see no reason to 'serve,' since they were no longer 'waiting' (1The 1:3,9-10). The church must disassociate from those who teach and/or follow false doctrine.
     However, 'the traditions,' which Paul had taught, also included instruction, by word and example, concerning the believer's manner of life.
...for yourselves know how ye ought to follow us... we behaved not ourselves disorderly...
Paul and his co-workers had 'labored night and day' so that they could proclaim the Gospel without charge (1The 2:9-12).
...not because we have not power {ie., authority}, but... ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
As the servants of God, Paul and his co-workers had the right to request and expect support from those to whom they ministered the Word (eg., 1Cor 9:4-14; Gal 6:6; 1The 2:6). However, they chose to forego this right, in order to demonstrate the selfless way Christians should live to serve others.
...even when we were among you, we commanded you... if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Apparently, there were some who were prone to laziness. While Paul was with them, they saw no reason to work, because he taught that Christ's return was imminent. Later, when they received contrary false teaching, they made that their excuse. In either case, they were walking disorderly (not according to the instructions which they had received by word and example).
...some... working not at all, but are busybodies.-
In the GK, this phrase contains two verbs meaning 'working' and 'working aimlessly around.'
WEVine offers the following free rendering: "some who are not busied in their own business, but are overbusied in that of others."
They had become freeloaders, with time on their hands to meddle in the affairs of others.
...them that are such we command and exhort, by our Lord Jesus Christ...
...that with quietness {ie., peaceably, not causing a disturbance} they work, and eat their own bread. Eph 4:28; 1The 4:1
This command to the disorderly to mend his ways (like the command to the church to exercise discipline against the disorderly, in v.6), rests upon the authority of the Lord of the Church.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 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.
15 Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother.
Paul encouraged the brothers, who were obedient to the apostle's word and example,
to continue in their orderly walk (cp. Gal 6:9). They were to be faithful, even when faced with discouraging opposition (whether from persecutors, or from disorderly brothers). Heb 12:3; 1Pet 2:15; 3:17; 4:19
...if any... obey not... have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
Again, Paul commands separation from any brother who refused to submit to the instruction contained in his letter, for it was God's Word to them (as it is to us, cp. 2Pet 3:15,16).
yet count him not as an enemy {ie., one to be hated}...
Disciplinary separation from a brother is intended to encourage his restoration to obedience to God's Truth and way of life.
  • that he may be ashamed {GK=entrepo, turn inward} - ie., to cause him to examine his heart, reconsider and repent.
  • [that you may] admonish {GK=noutheteo, lit., put him in mind, make him aware, warn} him as a brother.
    Paul used this word twice in his first letter, in 1The 5:12 ('admonish') and 1The 5:14 ('warn').
    For insight on how and why to admonish, see 2Tim 2:24-26.
16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. (cp. 1The 5:23,24)
The Lord [be] with you all.
(cp. Mat 28:20)
17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand,
which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
The hope and peace of the Thessalonian believers had been shaken by false teaching conveyed by a counterfeit letter, which purported to be from the apostle (2:2). Therefore, Paul provides them with a 'token' {mark, sign} by which to verify future letters. While his letters would be dictated and written by a scribe, they would be closed with his signature salutation (v.18), which would be written in his own handwriting. In a few of his letters, Paul mentions that he was closing with his own hand (1Cor 16:21; Col 4:18). All of his epistles close with the commendation of v.18 (or, the very similar words, 'Grace be with you...').
     Although we no longer have the original documents, and cannot examine Paul's handwriting, we can observe the hand of God in the doctrinal consistency of Paul's writings with the rest of scripture. (2Pet 1:20,21)
     The message did not originate with Paul, but was sent by the One who moved him to write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen.

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