2 Thessalonians is a follow-up letter to 1 Thessalonians. The Apostle Paul probably wrote 1 Thessalonians from the Greek city of Corinth, when Timothy came to him with news that the Thessalonians were withstanding persecution and continuing in the faith. Corinth is in southern Greece, about 350 miles south of Thessalonica, which was in Macedonia.The first letter to the Thessalonians communicated Paul’s anxiety for their spiritual wellbeing prior to hearing Timothy’s report, his joy to learn from Timothy that they were doing well, his encouragement that they increase all the more in their love for one another, some ways in which they could mature in their faith, as well as clearing up a question about Christ’s second coming. The Thessalonians were concerned that if any of them died physically before Jesus came back, they would miss out on being with Jesus. Paul answered that concern, and explicitly tells them that believers who have died will be raised back to life and will join Jesus when He returns in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
This second letter to the Thessalonians was likely written soon after the first, and it proceeds to further clarify questions the Thessalonians had about the end times, and about Jesus’s return. In it, Paul also underscores the importance of working hard and not being a burden on other people, because it seems that some of the Thessalonians weren’t earning their own way. They probably reasoned that since Jesus was coming back soon, they should sit around and wait for His return. Paul condemns this and urges the Thessalonians to live a disciplined life and continue to work diligently as preparation; to be ready for Jesus to come back any day, and be living a life that pleases Him upon His return.
This second letter to the Thessalonians was likely written soon after the first, and it proceeds to further clarify questions the Thessalonians had about the end times, and about Jesus’s return.
Paul greets the Thessalonians, telling them how much thanks he gives to God for their growing faith and love. They are persevering so well against persecution that Paul boasts of their example to other churches. He points to God’s approval of their faithfulness, that they are suffering for the coming Kingdom and will be found worthy due to their endurance.
The Thessalonians should bear in mind that God will repay those who are attacking them. Eventually, there will be relief and peace for believers when Jesus comes back to earth and deals out judgement— rewards to the faithful and retribution to unbelievers. People who do not believe in the gospel will experience eternal separation from relationship and fellowship with God, but believers will be in relationship and fellowship with Christ forever.
Paul prays for the Thessalonians to continue to endure through suffering, so that God will count them worthy of the coming Kingdom. The degree of faithfulness will determine the extent of rewards. Paul encourages them to persist in faithful obedience and bring honor to Christ by living out the goodness and favor of God, that they might glorify the name of Jesus.