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Purpose of The Book of 2 Thessalonians:
Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica is very similar to the first - that is, it again deals mostly with questions about the end times. It seems that Paul's first letter raised more questions than it did answers, and the response that Paul received from the Thessalonians prompted him to write another letter and address their concerns.
Summary of The Book of 2 Thessalonians:
Paul reassures his readers that Jesus Christ alone holds the key to the future and his people ought to trust in Him alone to defeat the enemy once and for all. In the meantime, believers are to love one another and serve one another.
Author and Dates of The Book of 2 Thessalonians:
This letter is very similar to 1 Thessalonians both in style and content. This would suggest that the letter was written not long after the first, later in 51 AD.
Thessalonica was the capital and largest city of Macedonia. Acts 17:19 tells us that Paul visited this city and began his ministry in the Jewish synagogue, but broadened his outreach to Gentiles as well. He was not able to stay long, thus the Thessalonian church was still quite young and untrained, and made some errors in applying Paul's teachings to their lives. They appreciated Paul's first letter, but sent further questions with the bearer of the letter, Timothy.
Outline of The Book of 2 Thessalonians:
Themes of The Book of 2 Thessalonians:
The Second Coming: Paul again has to clarify some of the eschatological (end-times) teachings that the Thessalonians had misunderstood, along with some unfounded rumors that were being spread. It seems that someone tried to convince them that Jesus had already returned, and Paul instructed them more precisely about God's plan (2:1-12).
Diligence: The Thessalonians were still counting on Jesus to return in the very near future. In light of this firm belief, they had evidently quit their jobs and spent their time looking into the sky. While not discouraging them from waiting on the Lord, he exhorted them to work hard, be self-sufficient, and be a model of diligence and responsibility for their neighbors, rather than being idle and lazy and hoping that Jesus would rescue them from their daily business (3:6-15).