What does 2 Thessalonians 2:6 mean?
ESV: And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
NIV: And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
NASB: And you know what restrains him now, so that he will be revealed in his time.
CSB: And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time.
NLT: And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes.
KJV: And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
NKJV: And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
Verse Commentary:
This verse continues Paul's statement in verse 5 about the Thessalonians' prior knowledge. This was in regards to the man of lawlessness: the false prophet of Revelation 13:11–18. Paul writes that these Christians know what is holding back the lawless one's evil from coming to full fruition. In the following verse Paul expands on what or who is holding back the man of lawlessness from performing his evil deeds to the fullest extent.

Without a doubt, evil is raging today. It manifests itself in heinous crimes, profane and blasphemous speech, sexual immorality, secularism, greed, hatred, and a growing disdain for God. And yet, wicked conditions will reach an unparalleled level when the man of lawlessness is revealed. He will personify evil and will lead an unprecedented rebellion against God. As in the days of Noah, the human condition even now grieves God and invites His judgment (Genesis 6:5–6), But, just as God witnessed to that generation through Noah (2 Peter 2:5), He confronts and restrains evil today through His witnesses.

Verses 6 and 7 also serve to remind us about the relationship between God and human suffering. When human beings wonder why God "does nothing" to stop evil, this passage should come to mind. As bad as it might seem, at times, the fact is that God is "restraining" evil from being even worse.
Verse Context:
Second Thessalonians 2:1–12 discusses the ''day of the Lord'' as an event from which Christians are exempt. Some Thessalonian believers were confused, thinking they had entered this time of hardship and judgment. Paul tells them to put such thinking aside, regardless of the source. He assures them the day of the Lord will not commence until a rebellion or apostasy occurs, followed by the emergence of the man of lawlessness. This figure will try to take on the role of God and deceive those who are lost and had rejected the truth. Empowered by Satan, the man of lawlessness will deceive unbelievers by performing signs and wonders. But at His coming, Jesus Christ will destroy the man of lawlessness.
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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