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THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 2

Verse 2. And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men. That is from opposition in their endeavours to spread the gospel. Paul encountered such men everywhere, as all do who labour to diffuse the knowledge of the truth, but it is probable that there is particular reference here to the opposition which he encountered when in Corinth. This opposition arose mainly from the Jews. See Ac 18:5,6,12,13.

The word unreasonable is rendered in the margin absurd. The Greek word (atopov) means properly, out of place; then absurd, unusual, strange; then improper, unreasonable, wicked. It is rendered in Lu 23:41, amiss; in Ac 28:6, harm. It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It refers here to men who acted amiss or improperly; men who were not found in the right place, or who had not the right views of things; and probably does not refer so much to their being positively wicked or malicious, as to their putting things out of their proper place. They gave an undue prominence to certain things, and less importance to others than they deserved. They had a distorted vision of the value of objects, and in tenacious adherence to their own views, and prosecuting their own objects to the exclusion of all others, they presented a constant obstruction to the true gospel. This word would apply, and probably was designed to be applied to Jewish teachers, (see Ac 18:5,6,)who gave an undue prominence to the laws of Moses; but it will apply well to all who entertain distorted views of the relative importance of objects, and who put things out of their place. Men often have a hobby. They give more importance to some object than it deserves. They, therefore, undervalue other objects; press their own with improper zeal; denounce others who do not feel the same interest in them which they do; withdraw from those who will not go with them in their views; form separate parties, and thus throw themselves in the way of all who are endeavouring to do good in some other method. It was from men who thus put themselves out of place, that the apostle prayed to be delivered.

And wicked men. Men with bad aims and purposes. It is not always true that those who would come under the appellation of what the apostle here calls "unreasonable," are wicked. They are sometimes well-meaning, but misguided men. But in this case, it seems, they were men of bad character, who were at heart opposed to what was good, as well as inclined to put things out of their place.

For all men have not faith. Of the truth of this, no one can doubt. The only question is, as to its bearing on the case before us. Some suppose it means, "there are few men whom we can safely trust;" others, , that it means that they have not that "upright and candid disposition which would engage men to receive the testimony of the apostle," (Doddridge;) others, that "all men do not embrace the Christian faith, but many oppose it," (Benson,) and others, that "all men do not believe, but the worthy only." Bloomfield. The connection seems to require us to understand it as meaning that all men are not prepared to embrace the gospel. Hence they set themselves against it, and from such men Paul prayed that he might be delivered. Comp. 2 Ti 3:8. The state of mind in which the apostle was when he wrote this, seems to have been this: He recollected the readiness with which the Thessalonians had embraced the gospel, and the firmness with which they held it, and seems to suppose that they would imagine the same thing must be found true everywhere. But he says all men have not the same faith; all were not prepared cordially and fully to embrace the gospel. There were unreasonable and wicked men whom he had encountered, from whom he prayed that he might be delivered.

{2} "unreasonable" "absurd"

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