What does 2 Thessalonians 2:15 mean?
ESV: So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
NIV: So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
NASB: So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
CSB: So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
NLT: With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.
KJV: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
NKJV: Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
Verse Commentary:
Paul connects God's call to salvation and the believers' future glory to the obligation his readers have to stick with the truth. Many false teachers were trying to pull the believers away from the truth, and persecution and trials were buffeting them; so Paul urges his readers to hold their ground against the false teachers' influence. He also urges his readers to keep a firm grip on the teachings they had received from him, whether he had given them when he was in Thessalonica or communicated them by letter. The New Testament often warns against drifting from the truth towards some different, false belief (Galatians 1:8–9; 1 Corinthians 4:6).

It is possible to slip back from a position of love for God and His Word. The risen Savior rebuked the church at Ephesus for having abandoned the love it had at first (Revelation 2:4). He admonished the church to "remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first" (Revelation 2:5). We must constantly love the God of the Word and the Word of God.
Verse Context:
Second Thessalonians 2:13–17 presents a stark contrast to the preceding passage. Previously, Paul wrote about the evil man of lawlessness, his wicked deeds, and the dreadful consequences that await him and his followers. Now Paul addresses the Thessalonian believers with a positive, uplifting message about their salvation, and he encourages them to take a defensive posture against false teaching and to adhere to what he had taught them. He concludes with an uplifting benediction, in which he calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father to encourage the Thessalonians and establish them in every good word and deed.
Chapter Summary:
The Christians of Thessalonica have not missed out on the events described in Paul's prior letter. Despite what some teachers apparently thought, they were not experiencing the ''day of the Lord,'' a time of God's great wrath and judgment. As proof, Paul offers instruction on events which had yet to occur, prior to the coming of the day of the Lord. The first is a rebellion, or a ''falling away.'' The second is the emergence of a ''man of lawlessness'' who will demonstrate satanic power. This will correspond with God removing His restraint, in some way, leaving sin freer rein to enable His judgment.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 praised the Christians of Thessalonica for their spiritual growth and acts of love. This chapter seeks to correct a discouraging error present in that same church. Paul encourages these believers by stating that they have not missed out on the events described in his prior letter and have not entered into the judgment of the ''day of the Lord.'' Before that catastrophic time can begin, certain events must occur. These include a widespread spiritual apostasy and the rise of a satanically-empowered figure. Chapter 3 commends the value of a strong work ethic, both in a spiritual and a secular sense.
Book Summary:
Second Thessalonians follows Paul's earlier letter to the same group of Christian believers. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul had praised them for their faithfulness and given them reassurances about the day of the Lord. This included teachings on the rapture and a description of death as ''sleep'' from a Christian viewpoint. In this second letter, Paul corrects possible misunderstandings about those ideas. Among his teachings here are the importance of a good work ethic and God's impending judgment on sin, including judgment on those who persecute the Christian church. Paul also provides the Thessalonians with reassurances that they have not somehow missed out on Christ's return.
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