What does 2 Thessalonians 3:4 mean?
ESV: And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.
NIV: We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.
NASB: We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing, and will do, what we command.
CSB: We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.
NLT: And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you.
KJV: And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
NKJV: And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.
Verse Commentary:
Paul's statement about the Thessalonians in this verse must have encouraged them immensely. He expresses confidence in the Lord that they are doing and will continue to do what he commands. This confidence was not based on human merit. It was based "in the Lord." Left to themselves, the Thessalonians would not be able to carry out Paul's commands, but the Lord was working in their lives to help them lead a righteous life. Paul exhorted the Philippians to work out—not "work for"— their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), but he added, "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

A relationship with God does not guarantee a life free from disagreement or controversy, however. In his letter to the Romans Paul addressed a situation in the church in which believers had different opinions about what they could eat. Some believed they could eat anything, probably including meat once offered to idols, without having a guilty conscience. Others abstained from eating meat, and were judged as "weak in the faith" (Romans 14:1). Each side apparently criticized the other. But Paul asked , "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4). We can trust the Lord to perfect His work in our lives and in the lives of our fellow believers.
Verse Context:
Second Thessalonians 3:1–5 requests prayer that, as Paul spread the gospel, it would bear fruit as it had when the Thessalonians received it. His appeal also includes a hope that he would be delivered from wicked men. He expresses confidence that the Lord would strengthen his readers and protect them from Satan. He is certain the Thessalonian believers would obey his commands, and he prays that they would love God and adhere to Paul's teachings.
Chapter Summary:
Paul expresses confidence that the Thessalonians would do what he commanded. He addresses the sin of idleness in the lives of some of the believers at Thessalonica, commanding the church to avoid an idle brother. Paul also points to his own example of diligence, when he refused to rely on charity. Paul clearly separates charity for the needy from foolishly supporting those who are merely lazy: If anyone is not willing to work, don't feed him. The letter ends with a prayer for peace among the Thessalonian believers. Paul also assures his readers that 2 Thessalonians is authentic because it bears his signature.
Chapter Context:
The prior chapter explained the events which would precede the ''day of the Lord:'' a time of severe judgment. Among these were a time of deep spiritual rebellion and the rise of a figure referred to as the ''man of lawlessness.'' Chapter 2 ended with a reference to the Thessalonians being established in good works. This chapter continues that theme, focusing on the need for Christians to exhibit a strong work ethic. This extends to the way the church applies charity, not wasting it on those who are capable of work, but simply choose not to. These thoughts complete Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians.
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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