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Introduction to the Second Epistle to the

The circumstances connected with the planting of the Church at Thessalonica, the character of the surroundings, and the trials of the young Christian brotherhood have all been explained in the introduction to the preceding epistle, to which I refer the reader. Those circumstances called for a second letter, which must have followed the first after an interval of only a few months, the only instance save that of the Corinthian letters in which the apostle directed two successive epistles to the same congregation.

That the Second Epistle is followed soon after the First is indicated (1) by the fact that almost the same state of affairs is described in each: There was persecution and trial, there was an eager expectation of the speedy Advent of the Lord, excepting that in the Second Epistle the excitement had led to greater extremes, and in each certain ones are described who were neglecting their ordinary employments as unnecessary in view of the Lord's coming. Compare 2 Thess. 3:6–14 with 1 Thess. 4:10–12, and 1 Thess. 2:9. In the second place both Silas and Timothy were present with Paul at the writing of each epistle. Compare the opening salutations.

The reasons for writing the letter are apparent. The conditions that called out the preceding letter still existed, and the information brought by the messenger who had carried the letter showed the need of further instruction. The principal object is to correct the erroneous belief that the day of the Lord's coming was very close at hand. This belief had received the more currency because some reported that Paul had so declared, and had even so stated in a letter. Hence he now shows that certain great events must precede that day, and that these events are yet future. He again enforces the teaching of the Lord that the time is unknown, and charges that all follow their usual employments.

This epistle, like the First, was evidently written during Paul's long stay at Corinth, and both may be assigned to the same year. 251

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