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2 Thessalonians chapter 3

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What does 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 mean?

This final chapter of 2 Thessalonians begins with a prayer request and ends with a benediction. In between, Paul assures his readers that the Lord would accomplish his purposes in the lives of the Thessalonian believers and gives some final exhortations.

Paul's initial prayer request centers around the successful spread of the gospel. This ties directly into a wish that he and his companions, as well as the Thessalonian believers, would be kept safe from evil. Paul also indicates his confidence that the faithful Christians of Thessalonica are following his teachings (2 Thessalonians 3:1–5).

The letter then turns to address the issue of laziness. While charity is a crucial aspect of Christian living, it is not meant to be given out blindly or foolishly. Paul says in no uncertain terms that those who claim to be believers yet exhibit laziness or "idleness" should be avoided, not enabled. As a counter-example, Paul points to his own testimony among the believers of Thessalonica. He demonstrated a selfless work ethic. He provided for himself as much as possible. His instruction is clear: those who are able, but unwilling, should not be coddled by giving them charity (2 Thessalonians 3:6–15).

The final passage of 2 Thessalonians contains Paul's sincere prayer for peace in the lives of these Christian believers. It also makes a point of establishing Paul's identity. This might refer to a literal signature, or his distinctive handwriting in that particular sentence. Though the letter began with a condemnation of those who persecuted the church, it ends with an invocation of grace (2 Thessalonians 3:16–18).
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