2 Thessalonians


1. Greeting and thanksgiving, 1:1-12

Prescript, thanksgiving and prayer


Having greeted his Thessalonian readers, v1-2, Paul pens a thanksgiving-prayer for them, v3-4. Paul then moves to address the issue of the righteous judgment of God and how that relates to believers who are undergoing persecution, v5-10. He then concludes with a prayer for his readers, v11-12..


i] Context: Following the prescript, 1:1-2, we have an exordium where Paul (the orator / preacher) seeks to make the audience, here the readers, "well-disposed, attentive and tractable", while at the same time announcing "the main theme of the communication", Wanamaker. Interestingly, there are two thanksgivings in this letter, as there are in 1 Thessalonians, here and in 2:13-14. So, in the opening chapter, Paul thanks God for the Thessalonian church. He then speaks of the judgement of "everlasting destruction" which faces those "who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." He then prays for the Thessalonians.

Chapter two serves as the probatio, the rhetorical heart of the letter where Paul addresses the subject of Christ's second coming. He begins with a summary proof, a partitio, identifying his concern for the Thessalonian believers, namely that they are being led astray on the issue of the day of the Lord. These opening verses establish the ground for Paul's argument, namely that the day of the Lord has not yet occurred and that the Thessalonian believers must therefore reject such a false premise. After developing his argument that the day of the Lord still lies in the future, that it has not "already come", v3-12, he moves to demonstrate that the readers have no reason to be shaken in their beliefs regarding the day of the Lord, that their participation in that day is assured as long as they hold fast to the truths taught them by Paul, v13-17.

Paul concludes in chapter three with an exhortatio / exhortation - a general exhortation covered by v1-5, followed by a more specific exhortation dealing with the issue of working for a living rather than sponging off others.


ii] Structure: This passage, The thanksgiving, presents as follows:

Thanksgiving, v3-4;

The issue at hand, v5-10


Prayer, v11-12.


iii] Interpretation:

In the Greek text, this passage presents as a single overly complex sentence, or probably better, two sentences, v3-10, 11-12. The sentence is controlled by the main verb ofeilomen, "we are obligated", which is defined by an infinitival dependent statement of perception, "to thank God always concerning you", modified by a causal clause introduced by oJti, "because your faith .....", v3, and a consecutive clause introduced by wJste, "with the result that we ourselves boast about you in all the churches", which boast is defined as perseverance in the face of suffering, v4, a suffering which is then explained under the head of "the righteous judgment of God", v5-10. This just judgment is defined in a hypothetical condition introduced by eiper in the terms of punishing the wicked and blessing the righteous, v6-7a. By means of a temporal clause introduced by the preposition en, the "when" of this just judgment is linked to the "revelation" (coming) of Christ, v7b, the eschatological judgment of which event is described in the terms of the cursing of unbelievers, v8-9, and the blessing of believers, the whole of which (v7b-10) is encased by the temporal phrase en th/ hJmera/ ekeinh, "on this day", v10. The next sentence (possibly clause), v11-12, is controlled by the main verb proseucomeqa, "we pray", a prayer prompted by the first sentence, eiV o{, "to this = with this in view". Three prayer points are controlled by the subjunctives axiwsh/, "may make you worthy" plhrwsh/, "may fill", formed into a dependent statement, indirect speech, by a hina + subj. construction. This is then followed up by an adverbial clause of purpose, a oJpwV + inf. construction.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:3

Exordium, v3-12: i] Thanksgiving, v3-4. Having greeted the Thessalonian believers, Paul tells them how he is compelled, by their ever-increasing faith and love, to give thanks to God for them. Although it is unusual for the founder of a church to boast of his flock, Paul is happy to do so whenever he gets a chance. In the face of great odds they have remained steadfast in their faith. The word "faith" could refer to human "faithfulness", but here it most likely means "reliance" on the faithfulness of God in Christ. Their firm faith in God is the source of their "perseverance" (steadfastness). His readers may look, as he does, to the day of Christ's return, yet in the present they must survive in the face of trouble. In their own power they will not easily stand, but God can see them through to the end.

ofeilomen (ofeilw) pres. "we ought" - we are obligated, bound. In 1 Timothy Paul simply says "we give thanks to God always .....", but here the "ought" somewhat clouds his words. The sense is "we owe [it] to God to give thanks ...", Zerwick - a necessary compulsion. Although a somewhat strange expression it seems likely that Paul simply felt compelled to give thanks for his readers, given their progress in the Christian life.

eucaristein (eucaristw) pres. inf. "to thank" - to give thanks. The infinitive serves to form an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what Paul feels he ought to do with regard his readers.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "God" - to God. Dative of direct object after the verb "to give thanks."

peri + gen. "for [you]" - The NIV has opted for advantage, "on behalf of, for", ie. as if uJper.

kaqwV "[and rightly so]" - as, even as, just as [is fitting, proper]. This statement serves to strengthen the first clause.

oJti "because" - that. Here introducing a causal clause; explaining why Paul is prompted to give thanks for the Thessalonians, "because ..." Introducing two reasons for Paul's compulsion to give thanks.

hJ pistiV (iV ewV) "[your] faith" - the faith [of you]. Obviously faith/belief in God/Christ, so "faith" as "reliance / firmness on Christ."

uJperauxanei (uJperauxanw) pres. "is growing more and more" - is growing abundantly, flourishing, growing above measure. The idea of an increasing faith is an interesting one. Some have suggested that "the faith", in the sense of Christian doctrine (as in the Pastorals) is in mind, but "faith" as in "reliance on Christ" is surely what Paul is speaking of. The faith of the readers is firming up and this is exhibited in the fruit of faithfulness, eg. the love of the brotherhood.

hJ agaph (h) "the love" - Obviously brotherly love is in view.

enoV ekastou pantwn uJmwn gen. "all of you have" - of each one of all of you. Paul will often compound his genitives and this is certainly nice string. The genitive phrase as a whole may be taken as verbal, subjective, or adjectival, possessive; "the love of every one of you." The internal genitives uJmwn, "you", and pantwn, "all", are adjectival, partitive / wholative; it is "each of you / each one of you / all of you." One might call this a very inclusive statement.

eiV "for [each other / one another]" - to/toward one another. Here expressing advantage; "for one another."

pleonazei (pleonazw) pres. "is increasing" - The present tense indicating that the brotherly love of the Thessalonians was ever increasing, "grows ever greater", Barclay.


w{ste + inf. "therefore [ ...... boast]" - so that / in order that / therefore [we boast]. Possibly drawing a logical conclusion, as NIV, although this construction usually forms a consecutive clause expressing result, "with the result that", cf. BAGD 900, serving to indicate that "the boasting done by Paul in other churches was a result of the readers' ever-increasing faith and love", Wanamaker.

en + dat. "among" - in. Local, expressing space / sphere, "among / within the churches", but possibly expressing a simple dative of interest, "to the churches." The plural indicating numerous churches, and by implication revealing that persecution was not common among the other Christian churches.

tou qeou gen. "God's [churches]" - [the churches] of God. The genitive is adjectival, limiting "church", possessive, ie. it's God's church, while the word "church" itself actually means "assembly". Paul sometimes uses other qualifiers, eg. "of Christ / of the saints / of the Gentiles."

autouV hJmaV acc. "we" - we ourselves [boast, take pride in]. Taking the accusative case, subject of the infinitive - an accusative infinitive construction.

egkaucasqai (egkaucaomai) pres. inf. "boast" - take pride in, boast. Here the only use of this compounded verb in the NT, although Paul commonly uses kaucasqai, "to boast", of boasting in, or concerning ..... Paul is unable to keep silent about the men and women who are his glory and joy, so Bruce 145. "We cannot help telling God's other congregations how proud we are of you", Barclay.

en uJmin "-" - in you. The preposition here expresses reference/respect, "with reference to / with respect to"; "this has resulted in our coming to boast about you before the churches of God", Cassirer.

uJper + gen. "about" - for. Here basically expressing reference / respect, "concerning / about" = peri, but there is a drift toward a causal sense "because of / on account of your steadfastness", eg. Weymouth, Cassirer.

thV uJpmonhV (h) "perseverance" - endurance, perseverance, steadfastness, fortitude. "Patience", Fee.

pistewV (iV ewV) "faith" - Here probably "faithfulness", Fee.

en + dat. "in [all]" - Local, expressing space / sphere.

toiV diwgmoiV (oV) "the persecutions" - persecutions. "The hard times that have come down on you", Peterson.

qliyesin (iV ewV) "trials" - tribulations, sufferings. "Various types of afflictions", Furnish.

ai|V dat. pro. " - [you are enduring]" - which [you are enduring]. The pronoun should be either aJV or wJn, but has been attracted to the dative qliyesin and so has taken on the dative case.


ii] The issue at hand - the righteous judgement of God, 5-10. At this point the "thanksgiving turns into consolation, offered in the form of instruction about the significance of what the audience has been enduring", Furnish. The instruction concerns "the righteous judgment of God", that judgment when believers are declared worthy in the sight of God, v5. In explaining the righteous judgment of God Paul identifies how the present suffering of the Thessalonians anticipates the great day when all is set right, v6-10.

endeigma (a) "all this is evidence" - an evidence, proof, sign. With o{ estin understood: "which is an evident indication", cf. Zerwick. "It all shows that ....", NJB, so NIV. Yet, it is grammatically possible to treat the noun as an accusative in apposition to either "patience and faithfulness", or "[the persecutions and trials] which you endure". Most commentators take the evidence to be the Thessalonians' faith and love, but it is more likely their endurance through persecutions and trials, cf. Green. The patient suffering of the righteous, as against the lax joy of the unrighteous, prefigures the great reversal when divine justice is enacted in the last day and all things are set right. This second option seems best. "All the persecutions and troubles that you endure, being an evidence of the righteous judgment of God, count you worthy of his kingdom."

thV dikaiaV krisewV tou qeou "that God's judgment is right" - of the righteous judgment of God. The genitive substantive construction itself is adjectival, attributive, limiting the evidence; "a sign which displays the righteousness of God." Obviously the genitive tou qeou, "of God", is adjectival, possessive, with the adjective dikaiaV, "right/just", attributive, limiting the noun "judgment" - God's judgment is a right judgment / is just. So, the sign (endurance under suffering) displays God's justice.

eiV to + inf. "and as a result" - This construction, the preposition eiV and the articular infinitive, forms either a purpose or consecutive clause, here best a consecutive clause expressing result. The result of what? Probably the Thessalonians' "patient endurance", Fee.

kataxiwqhnai (kataxiow) aor. pas. inf. "[you] will be counted worthy" - to be considered/made worthy. The accusative pronoun uJmaV, "you", serves as the subject of the infinitive and forms an accusative infinitive construction. The consequence of God's justice, which in the present is experienced by the faithful as injustice, is the counting worthy of those who patiently endure suffering, cf. Acts 14:22. Paul is not implying that by faithful endurance in the face of suffering we are considered worthy. Worthiness, in the presence of God, rests on a prior faith in Christ which enables the believer to look beyond their suffering to the eternal city. Also, there is some debate as to whether the verb should be translated with a factitive meaning, as is the case of many ow ending verbs. Morris argues that when moral qualities are in question the sense is declaratory, "to declare to be worthy / to deem worthy", see Morris 199. Compare the NIV with "is intended to make you worthy", NRSV. Of course, in the final analysis, what God declares so is so.

thV basileiaV (a) gen. "of the kingdom [of God]" - The genitive is adjectival, of definition / appositional. The genitive "of God" is usually viewed as possessive, but possibly ablative, source / origin. The eternal reign of God in Christ, either present, so Fee, or future, so Bruce, Marshall, or both (now / not yet). Wanamaker suggests "the dominion of God - the sphere in which the future salvation of God will be experienced." Obviously "counted / made worthy of membership in the kingdom of God", "fit to share in his kingdom", CEV.

uJper "for [which]" - on behalf of [which]. Expressing representation.

kai "-" - and. Probably an intensive sense is intended here, "indeed / in fact"; "for which indeed you are suffering", REB.


God is a just God and does not ignore the plight of his people. The present troubles faced by the Thessalonian believers should remind them that the day of judgment is close at hand when the wicked will be punished and the righteous blessed. This will take place when believers gather in heaven for Christ's enthronement. On that day, those who have rejected the gospel will face eternal loss, while those who have believed in Jesus, and this includes the Thessalonians, will share in his eternal glory.

eiper "-" - if indeed, since. Formed by ei + the intensive particle per. The use of this conditional particle serves to form a 1st. class hypothetical conditional clause / proposition, for argument sake, although there is nothing hypothetical about the proposition itself. It carries either a concessive or causal sense; here causal, "since indeed God considers it just .... then he will grant relief to you ....", ESV. "If, [as we all would agree], [it is] a right thing with God (ie, for him to exercise right judgment, v5a) to trouble / punish the wicked, (v6b), [then we would also agree that it is right for him to give] rest to you, the ones being oppressed (the suffering remnant of faith), along with us (v7)", cf. Morris. "By introducing his thought this way he (Paul) carries forward his effort to comfort them (the Thessalonian readers) and encourage them to greater endurance", Malherbe.

para + dat. "[God is just]" - [since (it is) a right thing] with [God]. Here virtually functioning as a dative, local, expressing space / sphere - inward deliberation; "in the sight of God, Wanamaker, "in God's estimation", Zerwick. The adjective dikaion, "right/righteous", functions as a substantive. "Just as it is true that it is a righteous thing with God to bring believers to salvation and blessing in his kingdom, so it is a righteous thing with him to bring punishment to those who persist in courses of evil", Morris.

antapodounai (apodidwmi) aor. inf. "he will pay back trouble" - to recompense. The infinitive forms an epexegetic clause defining the "right thing", "namely, to repay with affliction those who afflict you", ESV. The word is used of judicial recompense.

toiV qlibousin (qlibw) dat. pres. part. "to those who trouble [you]" - to the one's troubling [you]. The participle functions as a substantive, dative of indirect object.


See Moffatt for an attempt to express the rhythmic nature of verses 7-10. Some commentators suggest that Paul is quoting a Christian psalm or poem at this point, but there is no reason why Paul couldn't have written it himself.

anesin (iV ewV) "give relief" - rest, loosening, relief. The verb for the apodosis of the conditional sentence (for argument sake) is assumed. See eiper above. The "rest" expresses the lifting of pressure from those being persecuted, cf. Bruce. It seems unlikely that Paul is speaking of a present freedom from trouble, but rather an eschatological "relief/rest". None-the-less, within the shadow lands of life we sometimes experience the radiance of Christ's enthronement.

uJmin "to you" - to you. Dative of interest, advantage.

toiV qlibomenoiV (qlibw) pres. pas. part. "who are being troubled" - the ones being troubled, oppressed. The participle serves as a substantive.

meq (meta) + gen. "and to [us] as well" - with [us]. Expressing association; "in company with us." Reminding us that this is not an academic observation by Paul, but rather a word offered from within his own difficult situation. "You and us as well", Cassirer.

en "this will happen when [the Lord Jesus is revealed]" - in [the revelation, unveiling of the Lord Jesus]. A temporal sense is likely; "within, while, when, during, ..." the genitive tou kuriou Ihsou, "of the Lord Jesus", is usually taken as verbal, subjective, although adjectival, possessive, is possible. The "revealing of the Lord Jesus", the "uncovering" of his glory, such that all eyes will see, expresses the same reality as his "coming". This coming is often viewed from a human perspective, of his coming to earth, but the Daniel perspective, 7:11, is of the Son of Man coming to the Ancient of Days, and this with "the clouds of heaven", a coming "in his Father's glory (the "flaming fire") with his angels". So, the image is of the ascended Christ coming to the heavenlies before the Ancient of Days, taking up his throne to exercise the divine right of his eternal reign. All this in glory and power, with the saints, and in the sight of all creation, both heaven and earth. Of course, in time terms we are caught in the dichotomy of the kingdom being both now and not yet such that there is a sense where we are already present at Christ's enthronement, Eph.2:4-7, but at the same time we still await its realization.

ap (apo) "from [heaven]" - from. The preposition is probably expressing source / origin; "from, out of", but not separation, "away from." These events are taking place in heaven and it is from there that we witness them (as did Stephen, Acts 7:56). So not "when the Lord Jesus bursts from heaven onto the stage of history", Barclay, rather "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven", Moffatt.

en + dat. "in [blazing fire]" (v8a) - in [fire of flames]. Here probably adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Christ's revelation. The NIV treats this descriptive as the first of two prepositional phrases, the second being "with his angels of power", which describe "the revelation" / "public appearance" of Christ, Bruce, although in the Gk. it is second in order. The genitive flogoV, "of flames", is adjectival, attributive, limiting by description "fire", "a blazing fire", as NIV. Possibly the flaming fire of God's divinity, of his person, although it seems better to take it as an image of the fire of judgment, in which case the phrase links with what follows in v8 and is best translated "That will be the time when, with fire flaming about him, he will be meeting out punishment to those who do not acknowledge God ....", Cassirer.

met + gen. "with [his powerful angels]" - with [messengers of power of him]. Expressing association / accompaniment; "in association with." The genitive dunamewV, "of power", is obviously adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing "angels", ie. "his powerful angels" / "his mighty angels", Bruce, but possibly possessive, "angels of his power"? The position of the possessive genitive autou, "of his", gives weight to the translation "the angels of his power", Morris, or better "angels who are ministers of his power", Lightfoot. The identity of the "angels" (the word primarily means "messengers") has been much discussed, but although not widely accepted there remains the possibility that they are to be identified with the "saints of the most high", ie. believers, Christ's messengers, those who come with Christ / the Son of Man, in the clouds of heaven, into the throne room of the Ancient of Days to receive glory, honor and power, and now stand with him in glorious apparel, 1Thes.3:13, ref. Zech.14:5. The sense here is that the "angels" will assist Christ in executing judgment, cf. v8, Mk.8:38-9:1, a function also allocated to the saints, cf. 1Cor.6:2. See v10 below.


Paul in this verse possibly alludes to Isaiah 66:4, 15. Other possible allusions to Isaiah follow.

didontoV (didwmi) gen. pres. part. "he will [punish]" - giving [vengeance, punishment]. Forming an adverbial clause, possibly modal, but better temporal; "That will be the time when, with fire flaming about him, he will be meeting out punishment to those who do not acknowledge God ....", Cassirer.

toiV mh eidosin (oida) dat. perf. part. "those who do not know [God]" - to the ones not knowing [God]. As with the participle "to the ones not obeying [the gospel ...]", this participle serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object / interest, disadvantage. Both together express synonymous parallelism referring to the unrighteous rather than separately referring to unrighteous Gentiles and unrighteous Jews.

toiV mh uJpakouousin (uJpakouw) dat. perf. part. "do not obey" - to the ones not obeying. "Obeying" probably in the sense of "believing"; "those who reject the exciting news of the coming of our Messiah", Junkins.

tou kuriou (oV) "of [our] Lord [Jesus]" - of the Lord [Jesus of us]. The genitive is possibly adjectival, possessive, "the gospel which belongs to our Lord Jesus", or ablative, source/origin, "the gospel from our Lord Jesus", or verbal, subjective, "the gospel announced by the Lord Jesus", or objective, "the gospel annoiunced by believers about the Lord Jesus."


In the second half of this verse Paul possibly alludes to Isaiah 2:10; "get in the rocks and hide in the ground from the dread presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty", REB.

oi{tineV pro. "they [will be punished]" - who, these who, such as these [will experience justice = pay a punishment]. "These ones" refer to the ones not knowing and obeying = not believing.

aiwnion adj. "with everlasting [destruction]" - eternal [destruction, doom]. The adjective is attributive, "destruction which is eternal." This accusative phrase stands in apposition to dikhn, "justice = punishment"; they will pay a penalty, namely eternal ruin; "they will suffer the penalty of eternal ruin", Bruce. Probably in the sense of their ruin lasting for ever rather than a ruin which they will experience for ever.

apo + gen. "and shut out from" - from [face of the Lord and from the glory of his strength]. The preposition here expresses separation, "away from", while the prepositional phrase itself serves to exegete "eternal ruin"; "their sentence will be eternal ruin, that is they will be exiled from the presence of the Lord and his mighty glory."


en + dat. "on [the day]" - on [that day]. Adverbial use of the preposition, temporal. This phrase concludes Paul's long sentence, sitting at the end of v10. It is likely that it serves to package the temporal clause which commenced at v7b. When Jesus comes all this is going to happen on that day.

o{tan + subj. " - [he comes]" - when [he comes]. Forming an indefinite temporal clause, "whenever he comes", although expressed definitely, as NIV.

endoxasqhnai (endoxazomai) aor. pas. inf. "to be glorified" - The infinitive is adverbial forming a purpose clause; "in order to be glorified."

en + dat. "in [his holy people]" - in [the holy, saints of his]. Here probably adverbial expressing association, or manner, "with his saints", but possibly locative, "among". Some commentators suggest that this is a reference again to the "angels", but it obviously stands in parallel with the following infinitival phrase. So, "the saints" are "all the ones having believed." See v7 above.

qaumasqhnai (qaumazw) aor. pas. inf. "to be marveled at" - to be marveled, wondered. The infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose, "in order to be marveled at", or result, "with the result that / so that."

en + dat. "among" - Local, expressing space / sphere, as NIV.

toiV pisteusasin (pisteuw) dat. aor. part. "[all] those who believe" - [all] the ones believing. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting pasin, "all"; "all who believe", ESV.

oJti "because [you believed our testimony to you]" - that [our testimony to you was believed]. Often this clause is treated as a parenthesis, actually bracketed in the AV. Paul is simple including the readers in the reference to "all those who have believed", and this because they had accepted and responded to Paul's witness to them. They had listened to what he had to say (the content of the witness / testimony being the gospel) and responded accordingly. The NIV notes this with a new sentence, treating oJti as causal, "because", although oJti is probably serving to introduce the parenthetical remark and therefore is not translated; "(And the testimony which we put before you did indeed find belief)", Cassirer, see Best 266.


iii] Paul prays for the Thessalonians, v11-12. Paul's prayer consists of three points, the meaning of which "is not perfectly clear", Ellicott. Having accepted God's invitation / calling into the kingdom, Paul prays that God will assist the Thessalonians to walk worthily of their standing in Christ, to be what they are, by enabling them to accomplish every good resolve and work of faith. The three points to the prayer are as follows:

May God "make you worthy of his calling", ie. "may God shape you into the person you are in Christ." Here Paul is praying for the renewing work of the Spirit to mould that state of holiness in their lives which they already possess through their faith in Jesus.

May God "fulfill every good purpose of yours." This is a request for God to empower them to bring to completion their resolve for goodness, their resolve to act in a godly way.

May God fulfill "every act prompted by your faith." The sense of Paul's prayer is "may God bring to completion every activity which is prompted by your faith in Jesus."

eiV o} "with this in mind" - to which, this = to this end. Martin thinks that what is in mind is being worthy of the kingdom of God, although Morris suggests the phrase sums up "the whole of the salvation which he has been holding out before them." Rather than spacial the preposition eiV may express purpose; "In order that this may be, we always pray for you."

kai "-" - and. Possibly adjunctive, "also"; "wherefore also we pray always for you", AV, but probably better intensive, "with this in mind, indeed, we constantly pray for you", Martin.

proseucomeqa (proseucomai) pres. "we [constantly] pray" - we [also always] pray.

peri + gen. "for [you]" - Expressing reference / respect, "concerning, about you", or as NIV, advantage, "on behalf of, for you", ie. standing instead of uJper.

iJna + subj. "that [our God]" - that [the God of us]. Possibly forming a purpose clause, "in order that ....", but more likely forming an object clause / dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing the content of Paul's prayer; "we pray that ....."

axiwsh/ (axiow) aor. subj. "may count [you] worthy" - may consider/make worthy. As with kataxiwqhnai, v5, we are unsure whether Paul intends "make you worthy", Fee, or "count you worthy", Green, cf. Lightfoot. It is unclear whether Paul has in mind "their spiritual progress", Morris, or their judicial innocence at the parousia. If their spiritual progress is in mind then Paul is praying that God will enable them to live a life worthy of their calling such that they will receive the recompense due them at the parousia; "asking our God to make you worthy of the purpose for which he called you", Bruce, cf. NJB.. If judicial innocence / approval / worthiness before God, at the parousia, is in Paul's mind, then the sense is likely to be "count you worthy", as NIV. In the end it is obvious that "the glorification of the Lord on that Day, which will be grounded for his saints, is ultimately God's action", Fee, but how Paul saw this action playing out in this prayer is not altogether clear. "Make worthy" seems best since what we have here is a be what you are prayer-point; "may God help you to be the person you are in Christ en dunamei by enabling you to accomplish every good resolve and work of faith", cf. Furnish. So, the first prayer-point is ethical, as are the second and third, although it is likely that the second and third are instrumental of the first. "We keep praying that God will make you worthy of being his people", CEV.

uJmaV pro. "you [worthy]" - you. The "you" is emphatic by position.

thV klhsewV "of [his] calling" - of the calling. Sometimes classified as a genitive of direct object after the verb aciwsh/, "make / consider worthy", but it is "make / consider worthy someone ("you") of something ("of the calling")", so adjectival, of definition / appositional, limiting "you"; "make / consider you worthy, namely, of your calling." The "calling" is the divine invitation to become a member of God's chosen / elect people, which invitation entails, when accepted, inclusion in God's predestined / chosen family / kingdom. Such is the Thessalonians' "calling." It is often argued that the "calling" here is an effectual call whereby God chooses the membership of his family / kingdom. Such is unlikely, cf. Morris. So, we have here an invitation "to share in eschatological salvation", Wanamaker. "Worthy of your calling / your standing in the kingdom of God."

en + dat. "by [his power]" - in [power]. An instrumental use seems best, expressing means, so "by his power", as NIV; "that God may ......... by enabling you to ....."

plhrwsh/ (plhrow) aor. subj. "he may fulfill" - and he may fulfill. "To bring to fulfilment / completion."

agaqwsunhV (h) gen. "[every] good [purpose]" - [every desire] of goodness. Possibly an objective genitive, "may fulfill every desire for goodness", TNIV, but more likely adjectival, either appositional, defining the resolve / desire / purpose, "every resolve, namely a resolve for goodness", or attributive, limiting by describing the resolve, "every good resolve", as NIV. The "goodness" is possibly God's infused "goodness", although it is more likely their goodness. "That he might bring to fulfilment all the delight you have in well-doing", Cassirer.

pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "[every act] prompted by your faith" - [work] of faith. The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective, as NIV; "all the activity called forth by your faith", Cassirer. Possibly just adjectival, attributive, limiting the "work", a faith type work, a work which is given character by a person's faith / belief in Jesus. The "work" is likely general, ethical behavior, and this against a background of persecution, rather than evangelistic activity.


Paul now reveals the purpose of these three prayer points. He prays for the Thessalonians so that "the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified." For the ancients, the "name" frames a person's being, their character. Paul prays this prayer so that the person of Jesus might be glorified, glorified in the lives of his people. All this is through the "grace" of God, his free favor and unmerited kindness toward us. This favor, this kindness, flows from both the Father and the Son.

"We pray this" - Added for meaning.

o{pwV + subj. "so that [..... may be glorified]" - that [my be glorified]. This construction usually forms a purpose clause, "in order that."

to onoma "the name" - As part of ancient culture a person's name refers to their person / character. So, the honoring of a person's name serves to honor their person; "the giving of honor and recognition to the Master", Junkins.

tou kuriou (oV) gen. "of [our] Lord [Jesus]" - The genitive is adjectival, of definition.

endoxasqh/ (endoxazomai) aor. pas. subj. "may be glorified" - "Glorified" in the sense of "you will bring honor to the name of the Lord Jesus", CEV, ie. to his person.

en uJmin "in you" - "In your present personal life", cf. Wanamaker ("it is through their conduct now, as they are empowered by God, that the name of the Lord Jesus will be glorified", Malherbe), although many commentators (eg. Frame, Best, "in his saints") understand this two-way glorification in eschatological terms, ie. Paul is talking about a future glorification at the crowning of Christ before the Ancient of Days in the presence of all the saints. Given v11, a present "honouring" is likely and this in their personal life / conduct.

en/ + dat. "in [him]" - Local, expressing space / sphere - incorporative union. Not "in the name", but in the person of Jesus, ie. identifying a relational association between Christ and the believer.

kata + acc. "according to" - in accordance with. Here the preposition probably expresses reason, "because of / as a result of / on the basis of", BAGD II 5 d, p408; "by virtue of the gracious favour bestowed by our God and the Lord Jesus Christ", Cassirer.

thn carin (iV ewV) "the grace" - The gracious favour of God, his covenant mercy, a mercy / kindness bestowed on members of the covenant when a just condemnation would be more appropriate.

tou qeou hJmwn kai kuriou Iasou Cristou gen. - "of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" - The genitive may be verbal, subjective, ablative, source / origin, or adjectival, possessive. A possible example of Granville Sharp's rule where the single introductory article of these genitive coordinated nouns serves to associate them, although the rule is less reliable with proper nouns, and also an accepted title like "the Lord Jesus Christ" commonly drops the article. So, probably the coordinating kai must be read; "our God and the Lord Jesus Christ", even though "Paul frequently applied to Jesus certain Old Testament references to Yahweh and often ascribed to Jesus tasks that are divine prerogatives", Martin.


2 Thessalonians Introduction



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