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2 Thessalonians chapter 1

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

3We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is only fitting, because your faith is increasing abundantly, and the love of each and every one of you toward one another grows ever greater. 4As a result, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed are suffering. 6For after all it is only right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels 8in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10when He comes to be glorified among His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—because our testimony to you was believed. 11To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will consider you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accordance with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 mean?

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians expands on the same themes he addressed in his first message. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul reassured believers that fellow Christians who had died would not miss out on the return of Christ. Paul also depicted the fierce judgment of God which would fall during the day of the Lord. At the same time, Paul indicated that Christians were not those subject to these judgments. Based on what Paul has to say in this letter, it seems some of the believers of Thessalonica misinterpreted his words. Suffering under persecution, some of these Christians seem to think that the day of the Lord has already arrived and they are suffering under that tribulation.

Paul opens the letter with his customary greeting, evoking peace and the grace of God. He identifies himself, Timothy, and Silvanus as the nominal authors of the letter (2 Thessalonians 1:1–2).

As he did in 1 Thessalonians, Paul makes a point of praising the Thessalonian Christians for their faithfulness. While this depiction made up a significant portion of his first letter, Paul makes a much shorter reference to it here (2 Thessalonians 1:3–4).

This letter makes it clear that the persecution and suffering these Christians experienced was not part of the day of the Lord. Paul reassures his readers that God sees their struggles and will use them for His own glory. At the same time, God's awareness means impending judgment for those who afflict Christians with persecution. Among these consequences, Paul invokes the ultimate end for those who reject God: an eternity of destruction and separation from God—what the Bible calls hell (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:14). Paul's intent here is to reassure believers and encourage them to continue their good works (2 Thessalonians 1:5–12).

The following chapter will transition into further details about the end times. In particular, Paul will seek to reassure his readers that they have not missed Christ's return. The hardships they are now facing are not part of the day of the Lord—there are other events which must occur first.
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