BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 20

2 Thessalonians - BibleProject

In this lesson on 2 Thessalonians, the instructors discuss the background and context of the book, including authorship and date. The purpose and theme of the book are also explored. The bulk of the lesson is dedicated to an exegesis of 2 Thessalonians, covering topics such as the coming of Christ and the man of lawlessness. Exhortations to stand firm and instructions for dealing with the idle are also discussed. Finally, the application of 2 Thessalonians is considered in its historical and cultural context, as well as its relevance for today.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 20
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2 Thessalonians - BibleProject

I. Introduction to 2 Thessalonians

A. Background and Context

B. Authorship and Date

C. Purpose and Theme

II. Exegesis of 2 Thessalonians

A. Salutation and Thanksgiving (1:1-4)

B. The Coming of Christ (1:5-12)

C. The Man of Lawlessness (2:1-12)

D. Exhortations (2:13-3:15)

1. Stand Firm (2:13-17)

2. Request for Prayer (3:1-5)

3. Instructions for Dealing with the Idle (3:6-15)

III. Application of 2 Thessalonians

A. Historical and Cultural Context

B. Relevance for Today

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-20 - 2 Thessalonians

Paul second letter to the Thessalonians. So not long after Paul wrote First Thessalonians, he got a report about the Christians in Thessalonica and that the problems he had addressed in that letter not only had continued but had gotten worse, the persecutions had intensified and the Thessalonians Christians had become confused and scared about the return of Jesus. So Paul sent off this short letter, which is designed to have three sections that address the three problems in this church. Paul first offers hope in the midst of their continued persecution, and then he offers clarity about the coming day of the Lord. And then finally, he brings a really specific challenge to the idle people who were refusing to work normal jobs. And the end of each of these sections is clearly marked by a short closing prayer. Paul opens with a Thanksgiving prayer for the Thessalonians, continued faithfulness and love, and specifically for their endurance. He's learned that they're Greek and Roman and perhaps even Jewish neighbors have intensified their persecution of these Christians. They're a religious minority facing violent oppression. And Paul's worried that they might give up on Jesus if it gets worse. So Paul reminds them, like he did in the first letter, that they're suffering because of being associated with Jesus. It's a way of participating in God's kingdom. Jesus was inaugurated as King by his suffering on the cross, and so his followers will show their victory over the world by imitating Jesus as nonviolence and patient endurance. Paul also reminds them that this won't last forever. When Jesus returns, he will bring his justice to bear on those that have oppressed them and shed the blood of the innocent. Specifically, he says that their punishment is to be banished away from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Paul does not speculate here on the fate of those who reject Jesus, except to say that throughout their lives they wanted nothing to do with Jesus and in the end they get what they want. Relational distance from their Creator and their king. And for Paul, this is the ultimate tragedy to choose separation from Jesus, who is the source of all life and love is to embrace one's own undoing. He closes this thought by praying that God would use their suffering to bring about deep character change inside of them so that their lives would bring honor to the name of Jesus. Paul then moves on to address a specific issue related to the return of Jesus and the day of the Lord. So somebody in the Thessalonians church community have been spreading wrong information in Paul's name, saying that God's final act of justice on human evil, the day of the Lord, it was upon them. It has come. And these people had likely been predicting dates about the end of all things, and they were frightening other Christians. And you can see why due to the intense persecution, they were vulnerable to somebody claiming that Jesus had already returned like a thief in the night. They've been left behind. Maybe he abandoned the Thessalonians to their suffering. This kind of talk really ticks Paul off. It's misrepresenting his teaching. The return of Jesus should never inspire fear, but rather hope and confidence. Paul reminds them of everything he taught them about Jesus return back when he was in town. And he gives a short summary here. It's actually too short. This paragraph has lots of puzzles and problems of interpretation. But what's clear is that he cites the well-known theme from the prophets, Isaiah and Daniel, that the kingdoms of this world will continue to produce rulers who rebel against God like Nebuchadnezzar or the King of the North did. In the past, these leaders had exalted themselves to divine authority. And for Paul, these ancient kings and prophecies, they give us images. They set out a pattern that he saw fulfilled in his own day in the Roman emperors, Caligula and Nero. And he expected that it would be repeated again, that history would culminate with such a rebellious ruler empowered by evil itself, someone who will wreak havoc and violence in God's world, but not forever. When Jesus returns, he will confront the rebel and all who perpetrate evil. And he will deliver his people. So Paul's point here is not to give later readers fuel for apocalyptic speculation. Rather, he's comforting the Thessalonians. He's recalling the teachings of Jesus from Mark, Chapter 13, who said that the events leading up to his return would be very public and obvious. And so they don't need to be scared or worried that they've been left behind. Rather, they need to stay faithful until Jesus returns to deliver them. And so in his closing prayer, he asks Jesus and the Father to comfort and strengthen the Thessalonians, to stay faithful to the way of Jesus. Which brings Paul to the final topic. It's a challenge for those who were idle, which doesn't just mean lazy. This refers to people who were irresponsible and who refused to work and provide for themselves resulting. In chaotic personal lives. So Paul had actually address this problem in his first letter. And it seems like it's gotten worse. Now, we don't know for certain why some people in this church were refusing to work. It's possible that this problem's connected to the previous one. Maybe some people thought Jesus would return very soon, and so they quit their jobs and dropped out of normal life. But it's more likely that Paul's addressing a problem related to a practice in Roman culture called patronage. So you'd have poor people living in cities and they would become clients kind of like personal assistants to wealthy people, and they would live off of their occasional generosity. But there were lots of strings attached. The sometimes involved the clients in their patrons morally corrupt way of life, not to mention it was unpredictable income. So this is what Paul seems to refer to when he says these people lead a disordered life, they're not working and they're meddling in the business of others. So Paul reminds them of the example he gave when he was with them. He didn't ask for their money. He worked a manual labor job so he could provide for himself and so he could serve the Thessalonians free of charge. He says this is the ideal. A follower of Jesus should imitate Jesus's self-giving love by working hard so they can provide for themselves and so their lives can be a benefit to other people. He concludes this with a final prayer that in the midst of all their confusion and suffering, that God would grant them peace through the Lord Jesus the Messiah. This short letter to the Thessalonians. It helps us see that the early Christian belief in Jesus's return and the hope of final judgment. These ideas were not meant for generating speculation about apocalyptic timelines. Rather, these beliefs brought hope. They inspired faithfulness and devotion to Jesus, especially for persecuted Christians facing violent opposition. And so for later generations of Christians, whether they undergo persecution or not, this letter reminds us that what you hope for shapes what you live for. And that's what Second Thessalonians is all about.