Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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2 Thessalonians 3

Supplemental Commentary:


3, 1-5:  Request for Mutual Prayer.  Paul requests the Thessalonians to pray for him and for the spread of the faith.    1.  May run and be glorified: may the teachings of Christ be rapidly diffused throughout the world and be held in honor.    2.  Paul had previously experienced the enmity and opposition of the Jews in Thessalonica and Beroea (Acts 17, 5-13), and now at Corinth he was meeting hostility from the same quarter (Acts 18, 5-6).  It is very likely that he is here referring to the Jewish opponents of the gospel.    3-5.  Paul expresses the confidence he has in them, and prays God to give the continued patience and charity.

3, 6-15:  Against Idleness.  Once more the idleness of certain ones is condemned.  Corrective measures must be taken to stop a further spread of this abuse.  Paul urges all to continue in the practice of virtue.    6.  Irregularly:  cf. 1 Thess. 5, 14.  In 1 Thess. 4, 11, and in his preaching (infra 10), he expressly instructed them to work and perform their daily duties.  In addition he himself had set them a good example in this matter.    8 f.  Although Paul had the right to demand support from them he did not exercise it.  Instead he supported himself by the labor of his own hands.  Cf. 1 Thess. 2, 9; Acts 18, 3; 20, 34; 1 Cor. 9, 14-15; 2 Cor. 11, 7-13.    10.  Paul indicates one of the means to be used in repressing culpable idleness.  Cf. 12 infra for another.    11.  The meddling of the idle probably consisted in the attempt to persuade others that the parousia was at hand, and that it was useless to work.    14 f.  Formal excommunication is not spoken of, but rather a social and religious ostracism having for its purpose the correction of the offending Christian.

3, 16-18:  Final Blessing and Greeting.    17 f.  At this point Paul takes the pen from his secretary and inscribes the final greeting and blessing in his own handwriting.  Thus I write: i.e., this is my handwriting.  His personal signature in all future letters will indicate that he is the author of them.  By this personal signature his readers will be protected against forged letters.

Charles J. Costello, O.M.I.

Confraternity Bible:

Request for Mutual Prayer  1* In conclusion, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified even as among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from troublesome and evil men; for not all men have the faith.

3 But the Lord is faithful, who will strengthen you and guard you from evil.  4 And we have confidence in the Lord as regards you, that you both do and will do the things that we enjoin.  5 And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ.

Against Idleness  6 And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw yourselves from every brother who lives irregularly, and not according to the teaching received from us.  7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; for we were not unruly while with you, 8 neither did we eat any man's bread at his cost, but we worked night and day in labor and toil, so that we might not burden any of you.  9 Not that we did not have the right to do so, but that we might make ourselves an example for you to imitate us.  10 For indeed when we were with you we used to charge you: If any man will not work, neither let him eat.  11 For we have heard that some among you are living irregularly, doing no work but busy at meddling.  12 Now such persons we charge and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ that they work quietly and eat their own bread.

13 But you, brethren, do not grow tired of well-doing.  14 And if anyone does not obey our word by this letter, note that man and do not associate with him, that he may be put to shame.  15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

Final Blessing and Greeting  16 And may the Lord of peace himself give you everlasting peace in every place.  The Lord be with you all.  17 I, Paul, greet you with my own hand.  This is the mark in every letter.  Thus I write.  18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.


1: May run: i.e., be rapidly spread.