SECOND THESSALONIANS CHAPTER THREE

OBSERVATIONS

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand in accordance with the framework in which it was written: a framework which is defined by the normative rules of language, context and logic - rules which do not impose undue, unintended meanings to the text , and which largely limit the observer to the content offered by Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians and his other writings. In order for any passage from elsewhere to be considered, it must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or a specific cross reference in the passage at hand by the author. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note that information on manuscript evidence is from "THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT AND TRANSLATION COMMENTARY," by Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Carol Stream, IL.

****** EXCERPT FROM 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER TWO ******

OR MOVE TO CHAPTER THREE  

[2 Thes 2:13-17]:

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

[(2 Thes 2:13) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:13]:

NU, B, F, G, P, 0278, 33, 1739, syr(b), cop(bo) have "God chose you firstfruits"

TR, WH, Sinaiticus, D, Psi, Maj, it, syr(p), cop(sa) have "God chose you from [the] beginning"

The textual attestation for those two variants is divided, as is the internal evidence. In a Greek manuscript (written in continuous letters with no space between words), the word for "firstfruits," "aparxen" could have easily been confused for the expression "from the beginning" (ap arxes), or vice versa. The NU reading could be original because Paul had the habit of calling the first converts in a certain geographical region the "firstfruits"... and the Thessalonians were among Paul's first converts in Europe. But the variant reading also has legitimacy because it was customary for Paul to speak of God's selection of his elect before the foundation of the world... The split among English translations shows the difficulty of making a definitive decision. This would be a good place to use the marginal notes to indicate that the alternative reading is just as viable. If the translators select "from the beginning" as the text, the note would read: "Or, as in other manuscripts, "firstfruits."

(2 Thes 2:1-12, 13-17) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance of Jesus Christ to Rapture out the believers of the church age ] and our gathering [up] together to Him], 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in His own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

After Paul reminded / clarified to the believers in Thessalonica in 2 Thes 2:1-4 that they had not missed Christ's parousia / rapture to take them off the earth to heaven with Him so as not to be subjected to the wrath of the Day of the Lord, reminding them that he himself had earlier taught them of these matters and of what immediately will follow, (2 Thes 2:5); 

whereupon he wrote in 2 Thes 2:6-12 of the Restrainer [the Holy Spirit] Who continued and continues today to restrain evil from gaining total control of the world. Even throughout the first century the Spirit of God was restraining evil, especially that which would lead to the revelation of the man of lawlessness as Paul had emphasized to them when he spoke to them of these things before. The Spirit would continue to do this - as we now know for centuries - until evil will be permitted by the Spirit to pervade the world to such an egregious extent and with every deception of wickedness by those who will perish unto eternal condemnation because they would not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will be sending them a strong delusion so that they will all the more believe what is false in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. All of this would prepare the way for the revelation of the man of lawlessness, who will be revealed in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders. So for a season, the world will totally succomb to evil and to the man of lawlessness; whereupon shortly thereafter, (after 7 years of tribulation such as the world has ever seen nor ever will ever again experience), the LORD Jesus Christ will come in His Second Coming to the surface of the Earth and destroy the man of lawlessness with the breath of His mouth when He comes - this at the very end of that period of time.

Whereupon Paul wrote in 2 Thes 2:13, "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." Notice that it is through His sovereign decrees and election that God is thanked, i.e., given the credit for the believers' salvation, sanctification and faith in the truth especially faith in the truth of the gospel of salvation and obedience to the doctrines of Scripture which have been exemplified by the believers at Thessalonica; albeit each believer chose of his own volition to do these faithful things, . Notice that it is God Whom Paul wrote to Whom one is to give thanks resulting in their - and all believers' - salvation, sanctification by the Spirit, and faith in the truth - the believers presenting a marked contrast to all those who are perishing due to their not receiving the love of the truth; but who rather did not believe in the gospel of salvation and thereby would perish.

Note that Paul's first letter also gives thanks to God for the believers as well:

[Compare 1 Thes 1:1-10 ]:

(1 Thes 1:1 NASB) "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

(1 Thes 1:3 NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

(1 Thes 1:4 NKJV) [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God.

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come."

It is evident that the believers in Thessalonica had indeed suffered much persecution; yet they nevertheless persevered through all of it by the sovereignty, election and grace of God yet through their free will / volition they chose to participate, hence Paul wrote of their faithfulness and perseverance as remarkable. For they did much to evangelize their region, even into Macedonia and Achaia: 

[Compare 1 Thes 4:5-7]:

(1 Thes 1:5 NASB) "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NASB) so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 

Notice that this is all by the sovereign will of God Who loved them and chose them and for that matter has loved and chosen all who will choose of their own volitions to become believers for salvation and for sanctification before the foundation of the universe ; albeit they who do believe choose to believe of their own volition . And it is the indwelling Spirit of God Who leads them to go forward toward final sanctification. Despite each ones failings in this temporal life, the believer's perfect standing before God which is due solely to the grace / unmerited favor of God and the believer's sanctification which is likewise by the grace of God is maintained - even perfected - through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit as He moves the believer toward spiritual maturity in a sense of carrying him through as that believer by his volition makes those decisions to mature in the faith or not. So it is all through God's grace; albeit, it is up to each believer to endeavor of his / her own volition to study, obey and express an agape love for God and the brethren; and have an ongoing love and faith in the truth and follow through with ongoing obedience to show themselves approved before God, moment to moment in their temporal lives as led and even perfected by the grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

In view of the previous verse (2 Thes 2:13) which reads, "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth;

Paul concludes in 2 Thes 2:14-15, "[It was for this] to which He [God] called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." Paul explained that the believers at Thessalonica [and all believers] were called to believe in the gospel of salvation unto eternal life in order to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in the sense of sharing in His eternal glory. So Paul thereby exhorted the believers at Thessalonica to stand firm and hold to what he taught them by word of mouth or by letter. Although it is all due to the sovereignty, election and grace of God that believers share in the glory of Jesus Christ and to what extent, Paul nevertheless exhorts the believers (and all believers) to choose of their own volition to do their part which inevitably will be done by each and every believer in accordance with his personal volition yet perfectly in accord with the election, decrees and sovereignty of God . On the other hand it is evident that Paul was nevertheless concerned that the Thessalonians were in danger of falling away from the apostles' teachings which they had received (cf. 2 Thes. 3:6) in person from Paul, fellow missionaries and from their letters. They were in danger of departing from the faith because of the trials and persecutions and daily negative influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil. In view is both the unfathomable mystery of how God absolutely and successfully operates out of His decrees, election and absolute sovereignty; yet it is up to the volition of each believer to choose to accomplish what he accomplishes for the glory of God resulting in sharing the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whereupon, in 2 Thes 2:16-17, in the face of the Thessalonians' need for steadfastness Paul prayed that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3): "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

Note that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father are both in view and are portrayed as One, i.e., operating in the singular (verbs), corroborating the Triune God . For Paul writes that God's love and grace is the foundation for eternal (i.e., unending) encouragement (paraklēsin aiōnian) in the face of any temporary present distress. Also God gives hope for the future. And that hope is good (agathēn, "beneficial") for it assures believers of the return of their victorious Savior.

So in 2 Thes 2:16-17, in view of their recent anxiety created by false information concerning the day of the Lord, Paul expressed a prayer to God that the believers at Thessalonica be reminded that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace; that their heart be comforted and strengthened in every good work and word that they do and say. So they needed God's grace to make them confident and strong as they endeavored to do godly works and share the Word of God with others.

So the Thessalonican believers' suffering as well as their victories in evangelizing others and their being faithful to God in every good work and word are inevitably due to the sovereignty, election and grace of God through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the believer's sanctification, edification, etc. Yet somewhere in there is the volition of the believer persevering, being faithful in the midst of ongoing struggles due to circumstances and struggles with his own sin nature day by day and moment by moment - hence needed God's encouragement and grace to perserve in such matters. Hence Paul's prayer to God on behalf of the believers in Thessalonica in view of their need for steadfastness, i.e., that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3). For just as Paul struggled with circumstances as well as with his own sin nature in his daily, temporal life, yet in the end his success is, thanks be to God due to the grace of God Himself, (cf. Ro 7:15-25 ); so it was with the believers in Thessalonica and all believers of all ages.

[(2 Thes 2:13-17) BKC Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]: 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

"A. Thanksgiving for calling (2:13-15)

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

2:13. In contrast to the unbelievers just mentioned, the Thessalonians were a source of joy to the apostles. Paul felt a strong obligation to thank God on their behalf continually. They were his brothers (cf. vv. 1, 15) and sisters in the faith, loved by the Lord though hated and persecuted by their godless neighbors.

The reason for the apostle's joy and gratitude to God was His choice of the Thessalonian believers for eternal salvation. From the beginning (cf. "before the Creation of the world," Eph. 1:4) God chose (heilato, past tense of aireō, "to take or pick," used only here and in Phil. 1:22) them, not on the basis of their love for Him or any merit on their part, but because of His love for them (cf. 1 Thes. 1:4). Paul consistently taught that the initiative in salvation comes from God, not man. The means God uses to effect salvation is the work of His Holy Spirit who sets aside chosen individuals for lives of holiness and separation from sin (cf. John 16:7-11). The Holy Spirit regenerates, indwells, and baptizes Christians into the body of Christ. The human aspect of salvation is belief in the truth of the gospel. The Holy Spirit then uses the Word of God to purify the believer's life (John 17:17).

2:14. 

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

God called the readers to salvation by using the gospel as it was proclaimed by the apostolic missionaries in Thessalonica. God's purpose in doing so was that the believers might one day share the splendor and honor that Jesus Christ now enjoys, seated at the right hand of the Father (cf. 1:10-12).

2:15. 

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

In view of their calling, the Thessalonian believers were to maintain their present position of faith in God, care for the brethren, and hope in the imminent return of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Thes. 1:3). They were to stand firm (stēkete; cf. 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Thes. 3:8). Christians are in constant danger of being swept downstream by the currents of ungodly culture. They are also prone to let the truths they know and the relationship they enjoy with God grow cold. They need to vigorously hold to what they have been taught by God's servants. The Thessalonians were in danger of loosening their grip on the apostles' teachings which they had received (cf. 2 Thes. 3:6) in person from the missionaries and from their letters. They were in danger of slipping backward in their Christian experience because of the pressures of their trials and the daily negative influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

B. Prayer for strength (2:16-17)

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

In the face of the Thessalonians' need for steadfastness Paul prayed that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3).

2:16. Though the Son and Father are both mentioned, They are regarded as One. God's love and grace is the foundation for eternal (i.e., unending) encouragement (paraklēsin aiōnian) in the face of any temporary present distress. Also God gives hope for the future. And that hope is good (agathēn, "beneficial") for it assures believers of the return of their victorious Savior.

2:17. Paul had two desires for the Thessalonians: (a) The Thessalonians needed comfort and encouragement (the verb encourage [parakalesai] suggests both "comfort" and "encourage"; sometimes it means "urge" as in 1 Thes. 4:1, 10; 2 Thes. 3:12) in view of their recent anxiety created by false information concerning the day of the Lord. (b) They needed God's grace to make them firm and stable (strengthen is stērizai, also used in 1 Thes. 3:2, 13) in every good deed ("good" in the sense of being done as unto the Lord) and in every... word they spoke in defense and confirmation of the gospel.

[(2 Thes 2:13-17) Expositor's Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]: 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

"13 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

Paul is thankful that God chose some to believe the truth and to be delivered from delusion and from divine judgment. He and his co-workers can rejoice in looking forward to salvation for themselves and their converts, an anticipation drastically different from the outlook for those awaiting perdition (cf. v. 10). The salvation viewed from its human side in 1:3ff. is now seen as an undertaking of God'

For Paul to address these "brothers" as those "loved by the Lord" (cf. 1 Thess 1:4) is appropriate, because God chose them to be saved. "From the beginning" refers to their pretemporal election (cf. 1 Thess 1:4). Paul usually places God's prior choice of men to salvation (v. 13) alongside their historical call (v. 14; cf. Rom 8:30) (Hendriksen, p. 188). This salvation is what will elude those who refuse to love the truth (v. 10). It entails present benefits and also future deliverance from the doom that will befall the lost at Christ's return (cf. 1:6, 8, 9; 2:8-12). God's choice operates in the realm of belief in the truth and of the Spirit's sanctifying work. The role of the Spirit in sanctification looms large for Paul (Rom 15:16; 1Cor 6:11, 12; 1 Thess 4:7, 8) as it does for Peter (1 Peter 1:2) (Best, pp. 314, 315). The sphere of God's choice of believers for salvation is also marked by its faith-in-truth emphasis. Belief in the truth is the means of the beginning and continuing relationships of salvation (cf. vv. 10-12).

14 

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has fulfilled his foreordained purpose by calling the chosen to this salvation "through our gospel." The good news of divine truth conveyed through Paul's preaching was the means through which God called these Thessalonian converts at a particular point in time. What God purposed in eternity was carried out in history that the future might bring them a share "in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." God's design was to make them adopted ones who participate in Christ's glory at the parousia (coming) (cf. 1:10, 12). As God's purchased possessions, they will be granted this matchless privilege. They do not earn it or in any other way acquire it for themselves. It is accomplished solely by God, as is all else referred to in this context (vv. 13, 14).

Notes

13 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,"

The choice between the variants ἀπαρχήν (aparchen, "firstfruits") and ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς (ap) arches, "from the beginning") is difficult. The latter has a slight edge in external support, being found in both Western and Alexandrian text-types. It is a hard reading because of the absence of the phrase from Paul's other writings. On the other hand, aparchen is extremely difficult, because without an explanatory genitive, it renders no satisfactory sense in the verse (Best, p. 313). "Firstfruits" points to a larger group, but no group can be found among which these believers were first. Hence, (ap) arches has been chosen as the correct reading.

14

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) "[It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

A locative instead of an instrumental force has been chosen for ἐν (en, "in") because the clause names an act in eternity past. To render the preposition by "through" (NIV) unduly anticipates the historical call of v. 14. The means of their call is expressed in the διά (dia, "through") phrase v. 14, while the ἐν (en, "in") phrase of v. 13 indicates the spiritual state in which God chose them to salvation (Ellicott, p. 220).

Whether to take περιποίησιν (peripoiesin, "acquisition"; NIV, "share") actively (Hendriksen, p. 128; Hiebert, p. 223) or passively (Lightfoot, p. 76) recalls the discussion of 1 Thess 5:9. An active sense in a setting that so strongly emphasizes God's part in the total salvation process is inappropriate, to say the least. More congruity is obtained by omitting the element of personal attainment that the active meaning of peripoiesin would convey. Human responsibility comes in v. 15, but vv. 13, 14 are devoted to what God has done. The meaning of "acquired possession" is therefore preferred over "acquiring" for peripoiesin. This necessitates taking δόξης, (doxes, "of glory") as a genitive of apposition.
 
2. Call to doctrinal adherence (2:15)

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

15 "So then" turns the discussion to a practical responsibility derived from God's elective purpose (vv. 13, 14). Against a background of such an imminent world crisis as described in vv. 1-10, the beneficiaries of God's saving work cannot afford to lapse into lethargy, but must respond with loyal steadfastness ("stand firm") and keep a firm hold on the traditions ("teachings") taught them by Paul and his associates. A continuing stability and firm grasp on basic Christian doctrines would have alleviated the instability and alarm that prompted the writing of this Epistle (cf. v. 2). They had received instructions about ethical matters (1 Thess 4:1, 2; 2 Thess 3:6), but the particular data needed at this point is doctrinal, as shown by Paul's reference to "our gospel" in v. 14 (cf. 1Cor 15:3-5) (Best, p. 317). Paul himself had been a recipient of Christian traditions subsequent to his conversion. Through divine revelation he had originated other traditions (1 Thess 4:15). These he had passed on to his converts both "by word of mouth" and "by letter" in his previous contacts with them. In light of their inclusion in God's saving purpose (vv. 13, 14), he commands them to remain unmovable and cling tenaciously to these doctrines,

3. Prayer for practical compliance (2:16, 17)

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace."

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

16,17 The prayer that closes chapter two is in slight contrast (de, v. 16, untranslated in NIV) to the appeal of v. 15. Paul and his co-workers cannot in themselves make the appeal effective. Only God himself, who initially chose them, (vv. 13, 14) can do that. Addressing his prayer to the first two persons of the Trinity, Paul names the Son before the Father (contra 1 Thess 3:11), probably in line with the Son's worthiness of equal honor with the Father and his special prominence in the chapter's emphasis on future salvation and glory. Yet the two persons are one God as shown by several structural features in vv. 16, 17: 

(1) The pronoun autos ("himself," v. 16) is singular and probably should be understood as emphasizing both persons - "our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father himself" (cf. 1 Thess 3:11). 

(2) "Loved us and... gave us" (v. 16) represents two singular participles whose actions are applicable to both the Son and the Father. The singular number is explained by Paul's conception of the two persons as one God. 

(3) "Encourage and strengthen" (v. 17) are likewise singular in number though they express the action of a compound subject. This grammatical feature is attributable to the oneness of essence among the persons of the Godhead (cf. John 10:30). Paul conceived of Jesus Christ as God in the same full sense as he conceived of God the Father. No other explanation of this unusual combination of grammatical features is satisfying.

Reminding himself and his readers of why God has every reason to answer this prayer, Paul notes that the Son and the Father "loved us" and graciously "gave us eternal encouragement and good hope." Evidence of this can be seen in the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, which are so often referred to in terms of God's loving and giving (John 3:16; Rom 5:5, 8; 8:35, 37; Gal 2:20; 1 John 4:10). Because of God's love displayed in Christ, the present readers had a source of unending encouragement to offset their persecutions and accompanying doubts.

Paul prays that the encouragement provided in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ may be appropriated inwardly - literally, "encourage your hearts" - as a motivation for giving them strength for "every good deed and word." Disquiet regarding the coming of the Lord (v. 2) was the need to be met. As God undertakes their cause, they can "stand firm and hold to the teachings" (v. 15).

Notes

16 

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace."

To put the emphasis of αὐτός (autos, "himself") on the Son alone (and on the Father alone in 1 Thess 3:11) presents an unbalanced picture, as though Paul expected one person to answer one prayer and another to answer the other. The best way to solve this imbalance is to take the pronoun as extending to both persons in each case (cf. note on 1 Thess 3:11).

Galatians 1:1 presents a comparable situation of a singular participle following "Jesus Christ and God the Father," when the participle goes only with the latter of the two persons. Yet it is questionable whether Galatians 1:1 is parallel, since the participial expression "who raised him from the dead" cannot logically modify "Jesus Christ." The same is not true here. Both the Son and the Father have loved (Rom 8:35-39). Both the Son and the Father have given (Rom 8:32; Gal 2:20). In light of the stress in this verse on the unity of the Godhead, it is more plausible to refer the participles to both Persons (Frame, p. 286; Hiebert, p. 327)."

I) [2 Thes 3:1-18]:

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) "As for other matters, [Gk "To loipon" lit., the rest or remaining] brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

(2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) and that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

(2 Thes 3:3 NASB) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

(2 Thes 3:4 NASB) We have confidence [Gk, "pepoithamen," lit., we have trusted (in), perfect tense)] in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.

(2 Thes 3:5 NASB) May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

(2 Thes 3:6 NASB) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us.

(2 Thes 3:7 NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

(2 Thes 3:8 NASB) nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

(2 Thes 3:9 NKJV) not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

(2 Thes 3:10 NASB) For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

(2 Thes 3:11 NKJV) For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

(2 Thes 3:12 NASB) Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

(2 Thes 3:13 NKJV) But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

(2 Thes 3:14 NKJV) And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

(2 Thes 3:15 NASB) Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

(2 Thes 3:16 NASB) Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., way]. The Lord be with you all!

(2 Thes 3:17 NASB) I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

(2 Thes 3:18 NKJV) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

A) [2 Thes 3:1-3]:

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) "As for other matters, [Gk "To loipon" lit., the rest or remaining] brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

(2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) and that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

(2 Thes 3:3 NASB) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

1) [(2 Thes 3:3) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 3:3]:

All the Greek editions (TR, WH, NU) read "the Lord is faithful." on good authority: Sinaiticus, B, D2, Psi, 0278, 33, 1739, Maj, syr, cop. A few manuscripts (A, D*, F, G), however change "lord" to be ("God"). This variant reading is likely the result of scribal conformity to a typical Pauline expression (See Ro 3:3; 1 Cor 1:9, 10:13).

2) [(2 Thes 3:1-3) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:1-3]:

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) "As for other matters, [Gk "To loipon" lit., the rest or remaining] brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

(2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) and that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

(2 Thes 3:3 NASB) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

The phrase rendered, "As for other matters" in the NIV ["Finally" in the NASB] in 2 Thes 3:1 refers to other matters which are to be addressed in this section [chapter 3] after having addressed the key matter of the believers at Thessalonica being persecuted which Paul had explained was not due to their experiencing the wrath of God upon them of the great and terrible Day of the Lord. 

What follows here is a summary of the matters previously focused upon before coming to chapter 3 in order to set the stage of understanding the "other matters" which are addressed in chapter 3: 

Paul had explained the key matter of the believers at Thessalonica being persecuted which he wrote was not due to their experiencing the wrath of God upon them of the great and terrible Day of the Lord; for they thought that they had been left behind on the earth when the Lord Jesus Christ had come to take believers back with Him to heaven out of range of the Day of the Lord. Paul had further explained to them why this was not the case because there were other matters which had to occur before the Day of the Lord and before the Rapture / the extraction from earth of the church - the dead and alive in Christ. These events which had yet to occur included 

The rebellion / the apostasy - the falling away from the faith of those who remained after the Rapture had occurred, those who had become believers right after those of the church were raptured; 

The holding back of the Restrainer of Evil, the Holy Spirit; 

And then the man of lawlessness' dramatic worldwide, public presentation.

Much of these eschatological matters were reiterated to the believers at Thessalonica in the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians as follows:

a) [Compare 2 Thes 2:1-17 ]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in His own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

So after giving the believers at Thessalonica an explanation of why they had not missed the Rapture and were not experiencing the Day of the Lord, Paul prayed for them in 2 Thes 2:16-17, "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace; comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." Paul's prayer for them in verses 16-17 invoked the grace of God to be upon them as they moved forward with their lives in their time, having been edified and encouraged by Paul's instructions and prayers.

Whereupon we come to the last section of Paul's epistle delineated as chapter 3:

2 cont.) [(2 Thes 2:16-17 & 3:1-3) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:1-3, cont.]:

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) As for other matters, [Gk "To loipon" lit., the rest or remaining] brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

(2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) and that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

(2 Thes 3:3 NASB) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

The Greek phrase, "To loipon" rendered "as for other matters," in the NIV or "finally" in  the NASB introduces the last part of the letter which is connected to the prayer that Paul wrote in the last two verses of the previous chapter: 2 Thes 2:16-17; which prayer was Paul's prayer on behalf of the believers at Thessalonica - relative to God comforting, and strengthening the believers in their evangelism efforts of those in their region: Paul prayed, "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace; comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." Note that Paul recognized that the Thessalonians needed prayer in their ongoing struggle to share the doctrines of the faith with others; whereupon Paul indicated that the believers also needed and had the responsibility to pray for others as well, including Paul and his entourage. So in 2 Thes 3:1, Paul requested that the Thessalonian believers pray about two matters:

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) "[Paul wrote] Brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you."

(2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;"

Notice that Paul acknowledged to the believers at Thessalonica that their great success in their missionary work at Thessalonica and throughout the surrounding region, including Massedonia and Achaia depended upon and was the result of the grace, sovereignty and protection of God which was evidently enhanced through Paul's and others'prayers for them. The Greek word "και"́ (kai, "and," "also," "even"), untranslated in the NIV but included in the NASB, adds a thought to the last clause: "just as it also was with you" - i.e., Thessalonica was not the only place where the word had received a good response.

b) [Compare 1 Thes 1:1-10 ]:

(1 Thes 1:1 NASB) "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

(1 Thes 1:3 NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

(1 Thes 1:4 NKJV) [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God.

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come."

So in like manner, therefore, first of all, Paul requested that the believers at Thessalonica pray for Paul and his missionary efforts so that the message of the Lord may likewise spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with them. 

Paul's second prayer request which is stipulated in 2 Thes 3:2 was a request for prayer to God by the believers in Thessalonica for deliverance from enemies of the gospel:

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) "and [pray] that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith."

The word rendered "wicked" or "perverse" implies outrageous and harmful actions against others; "evil" implies being thoroughly corrupted with intent to corrupt others. Note that Paul was facing severe opposition to unbelieving Jews in Corinth at the time he was writing his second epistle to the Thessalonians, (cf Acts 18:5-6, 12-13). The word rendered [the] and the use of the aorist tense "will be rescued" in the sense of "may be rescued," suggest one particular act of deliverance in the phrase rendered "and [pray] that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith" for Gk "ton" rendered "the" appears in the original text and most likely refers to these actual encounters with such individuals. That so many of those who heard Paul's gospel message, rejected it and became the persecutors had had the opportunity to believe but had rejected it accounts for their vicious reaction against the message and those who preached it.

Note that as Paul and his entourage of missionaries traveled from city to city, opponents of Christianity repeatedly tried to frustrate their efforts. And it is reported that the Thessalonians knew all about this (see Acts 17:1-9 quoted below). The hostility of these enemies was due to their lack of faith in the message of salvation. Note the phrase rendered "for not all have faith" in 2 Thes 3:2 above. They are described in that verse as perverse or wicked and evil. 2 Thes 3, verses 1 and 2 show the positive and negative reactions which the preaching of the gospel produce.

b) [Compare Acts 17:1-9]:

(Acts 17:1 NASB) "Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.

(Acts 17:2 NASB) And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 

(Acts 17:3 NASB) explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ." 

(Acts 17:4 NASB)  And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 

(Acts 17:5 NASB) But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 

(Acts 17:6 NASB) When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, 'These men who have upset the world have come here also; 

(Acts 17:7 NASB) and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.'

(Acts 17:8 NASB) They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 

(Acts 17:9 NASB) And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them."

2 cont.) [(2 Thes 3:1-3) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:1-3, cont.]:

(2 Thes 3:1 NIV2011) "As for other matters, [Gk "To loipon" lit., the rest or remaining] brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

2 Thes 3:1 NASB) Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you;

(2 Thes 3:2 NASB) and that we [may] be rescued from [the] perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.

(2 Thes 3:3 NASB) But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

In 2 Thes 3:3, Paul acknowledged that the success of missionary labors is due to the Lord's faithfulness in strengthening and protecting those participating from the evil one - a reference to Satan - especially in answer to the faithful prayers of Paul and other believers. The spreading of the gospel is God's work and its reception among those who heard it was due to God's sovereignty and election and drawing of those whom He has chosen to choose of their own volition to believe in His Son, (Jn 6 ); and be faithful thereafter. For many are [believers are] called [to be faithful] and few are chosen, (Mt 22 ).

Paul was confident that their missionary efforts and those of the believers at Thessalonica would succeed because of the sovereignty, integrity and faithfulness of God. Hence he prayed that God would provide the strength and protection from the evil one - a reference to Satan - and requested that the believers at Thessalonica do the same for himself and his entourage - for that's is how God operates.

B) [(2 Thes 3:4-5)]:

(2 Thes 3:4 NASB) "We have confidence [Gk, "pepoithamen," lit., we have trusted (in), perfect tense)] in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.

(2 Thes 3:5 NASB) May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."

1) [(2 Thes 3:4-5) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:4-5]:

(2 Thes 3:4 NASB) "We have confidence [Gk, "pepoithamen," lit., we have trusted (in), perfect tense)] in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.

(2 Thes 3:5 NASB) May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."

In 2 Thes 3:4-5, Paul declares that he and those with whom he traveled have trusted in - in the sense of having expressed confidence in the believers' faithfulness [perfect tense, indicative mood indicating a completed action and statement of fact with ongoing results of confidence / trust]; i.e., that they are doing and will continue to do what Paul commands of them. This is in view of the fact that Paul had just written that the success of their missionary labors was with the implication from 2 Thes 3 that it is in the final analysis due to the Lord's faithfulness in strengthening and protecting those participating in evangelism and missionary work from the evil one, (2 Thes 3:1-3) - a reference to Satan. And this was especially due to the prayers made by Paul and others on their behalf and God's faithful answer to those prayers to God, the God Who has already decreed their success and perseverance in evangelizing others. Their confidence was in the fact that since those for whom they have prayed were believers, i.e., since they were "in the Lord," in the sense of being placed into Christ, i.e., they are actually part of the body of Christ, the Lord would work in them to choose to continue to respond favorably to Paul's teachings and persevere in the faith. For the spreading of the gospel is God's work and its promulgation and positive reception among those who hear it are due to God's sovereignty, His election and His drawing of those whom He has chosen to choose of their own volition to believe in His Son, (Jn 6:37-44 ); and be faithful thereafter, (Mt 22:14 which these passages state that many are called / invited but few are chosen to believe; many believers are called but few God has chosen to be faithful believers).

Although Paul commended the believers at Thessalonica for their works of evangelism in 2 Thes 3:4 NASB: "We have confidence [Gk, "pepoithamen," lit., we have trusted (in), perfect tense)] in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command;" nevertheless, Paul writes in 2 Thes 3:5 of his prayer for these believers as follows: "May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." Here Paul indicates that the Lord's help is indispensable because He is after all in sovereign control over each believer, albeit within the volition of each of His children to be directed toward agape love for God and to follow the example and leading of the steadfastness of Christ in the sense of His absolute reliability to fulfill His mission through and with us - with our participation; part of His sovereign plan and decrees,

So it behooves each believer to pray for others and himself in all endeavors to faithfully and effectively do the Lord's work with all the more agape love for God and with all the more perseverance through Christ's steadfastness. Paul's prayer was that Jesus Christ would open up the way for the readers to obey out of a growing appreciation of God's love for them and as a result of their having an even greater love for God, and be further enabled to perservere through trials as a result of the steadfastness of Jesus Christ, thus developing within the believer an increasing endurance in the midst of trials,

Paul did not imply that the believers at Thessalonica or any believers are self-sufficient, and do not need to be dependent upon the Lord, nor constantly pray for the success and protection in their and others' endeavors to serve God. For Paul immediately indicates in 2 Thes 3:5 that it is the Lord Who directs their hearts to express agape love toward Him and to continue in the steadfastness of Christ, upon Whom all believers are to rely. Therefore Paul prays that the Lord direct them into a fuller appreciation of God's love for them and prays for Christ's perseverance in them as well - for His steadfastness on their behalf especially relative to their missionary and evangelistic work. Note that in 2 Thes 3:6-15 which follow it is indicated that this understanding is all the more needed to comply with Paul's command to discipline the idle - a difficult task. So the strongest possible motivation here in verses 4-5 that includes the recollection of God's love and Christ's endurance of suffering -  will undergird the discipline of idle believers.

a) [Compare 1 Thes 1:1-3]:

(1 Thes 1:1 NASB) "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 

(1 Thes 1:3 NASB) constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father."

b) [Compare 2 Thes 1:1-4]:

(2 Thes 1:1 NASB) "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

(2 Thes 1:2 NASB) Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 1:3 NASB) We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

(2 Thes 1:4 NASB) therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure."

c) [Compare Heb 12:1-3]:

(Heb 12:1 NASB) "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

(Heb 12:2 NASB) fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Heb 12:3 NASB) For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

C) [(2 Thes 3:6-10)]:

(2 Thes 3:6 NASB) "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us.

(2 Thes 3:7 NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

(2 Thes 3:8 NASB) nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

(2 Thes 3:9 NKJV) not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

(2 Thes 3:10 NASB) For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

1) [(2 Thes 3:6) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 3:6]:

(2 Thes 3:6 NASB) "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us."

NU "the tradition which they received" Sinaiticus*, A, 0278, 33, Sinaiticus2, D2, Psi, 1739, Maj

6 παρελάβοσαν (parelabosan, "they received") is preferred over παρελάβετε (parelabete, "you received") because of its stronger external support. It is also the harder reading because of the change from the second to third person and is therefore the reading that best explains the origin of the alternative readings (Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 367).

variant 1/WH "the tradition which you received" B, F, G syr(h), cop(sa)

variant 2/TR "the tradition which he received" 1962, (syr)

The Hellenistic form rendered of "they received" ["pare labosan" was changed to "pare labon" by various correctors. The first variant (accepted in WH and followed by many English versions) could be original, given its documentary support, if not, it is the result of scribal conformity to the immediate context in which the second person plural is predominant. The second variant (TR), which virtually no manuscript supports, specifies the recipient of the apostolic traditions as the brother who lived a lazy life.

2) (2 Thes 3:6-10) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:6-10]:

(2 Thes 3:6 NASB) "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us.

(2 Thes 3:7 NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

(2 Thes 3:8 NASB) nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

(2 Thes 3:9 NKJV) not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

(2 Thes 3:10 NASB) For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

In 2 Thes 3:6, Paul wrote, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us."

This implies that the doctrinal error concerning the day of the Lord, (cp 2 Thes 2:2 ), had evidently led to disorderly conduct in the church. Paul dealt with the disorderly / misbehaving conduct by commanding in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that the brethren distance themselves from the brothers who lead an unruly / undisciplined / unchristianlike life. The seriousness of the charge is seen in Paul's appeal to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For that put the unruly believers under the discipline of Jesus Christ Himself - the Son of God. Note that this is a command, not a suggestion. 

When Paul wrote the church earlier, he told them to "warn those who are unruly" (1 Thes. 5:14). Apparently this warning had not been heeded. Now Paul prescribed harsher discipline. The believers were to distance themselves from unruly believers. This evidently was meant to exclude them from the life and meetings of the church (cf. 1 Cor. 5:11); for lack of contact would illustrate in a graphic way the spiritual gap that the behavior of the unruly had created between themselves and those who were more faithful and diligent and obedient. The offense was idleness, deliberate loafing which led some to interfere in the work of others (2 Thes 3:11) and to expect others to provide for their needs when they were capable but unwilling to make the effort to provide for themselves. This behavior was in direct disobedience to the apostles' teaching.

a) [Compare 2 Thes 3:11-12]:

(2 Thes 3:11 NKJV) "For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

(2 Thes 3:12 NASB) Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."

Whereupon in 2 Thes 3:7-10 Paul wrote, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

So Paul justified the command he wrote in verse 6 prior to verses 7-10 which command reads as follows: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us." Paul justified this command with his own and fellow apostles' example that he and fellow missionaries had given them while teaching in Thessalonica in the following 4 verses, 2 Thes 3:7-10 quoted above. Furthermore, Paul had commended the church for following his example:

b) [Compare 1 Thes 1:6-7]:

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) "You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe."

But when it came to imitating Paul and fellow missionaries, and even the faithful whom Paul commended who were believers at Thessalonica, a number of the believers in Thessalonica were not working at all despite their capacity to do so - they were evidently lazy and expected others to take care of them. Paul regarded his and fellow apostles' examples as authoritative models. So the believers were to imitate them as well as to believe in and follow their teachings. Paul and his associates were diligent and ready to demonstrate beyond what was expected of them so as to be a godly, self-sacrificial example to others, not risking giving them a bad impression no matter how undeserved. They worked extra hard in order to provide for all their own needs so as not to be a burden to others or to have others think that they were taking advantage of their authority as apostles and teachers. Paul indicated that they never accepted a gift or a meal from others, but that they were wholly self-supporting; albeit they did have the authority to require those to whom they administered to, to support their ministry efforts, (ref 2 Thes 3:9). Nevertheless, they endeavored to earn the bread they ate (cf. 2 Thes 3:12). In fact, they worked long and hard so as not to be a financial burden to any of the Thessalonians (cf. 1 Thes. 2:9). The apostles lived this way to give their converts an example which a number of them were commended to have followed (cf. 1 Thes. 1:7) of what it means to sacrifice for the good of others. Nevertheless, the apostles had every right to receive physical help for spiritual ministry (cf. 2 Thes 3:9; 1 Cor. 9:3-14; 1 Tim. 5:18). But they chose to forego this right in order to teach the importance of self-sacrificing love and industry. Paul did not imply that this right should always be sacrificed; he taught elsewhere that it is legitimate, that those who are taught should support their teachers (Gal. 6:6). His point here was that Christians generally should not expect other people to take care of them all of the time, but to endeavor to support themselves as much as possible. The missionaries had taught the Thessalonians to be industrious as well as giving them a good example. Paul wanted no one to forget exactly what the apostles had said. It was a firm rule of Christian conduct. He either quoted it verbatim here or summarized his previous teaching into a single pithy precept. The individuals in view were not those who could not work but those who would not work. They were not to be supported by other Christians out of a sense of charity. The loving thing to do for those who were deliberately lazy was to let them go hungry so that they would be forced to do right and go to work. No Christian who is able but unwilling to work should be maintained by others who labor on his behalf.

D) [(2 Thes 3:11-12)]:

(2 Thes 3:11 NKJV) "For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

(2 Thes 3:12 NASB) Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread,"

1) [(2 Thes 3:12) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 3:12)

(2 Thes 3:12 NASB) "Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."

WH NU "in the Lord Jesus Christ" Sinaiticus*, A, B, (D*), F, G, 0278, 33, 1739

variant/ TR "through our Lord Jesus Christ" Sinaiticus2, D(2), Psi, Maj

The WH reading has superior support and accords with Pauline usage (see 1 Thes 4:1; 5:12). The variant is a corrected reading influenced by 1 Thes 4:2, which made its way into the majority of NT manuscripts and TR, and thus is followed by the KJV and NKJV

2) [(2 Thes 3:11-12) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:11-12]:

(2 Thes 3:6 NASB) "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us.

(2 Thes 3:7 NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

(2 Thes 3:8 NASB) nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

(2 Thes 3:9 NKJV) not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

(2 Thes 3:10 NASB) For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

(2 Thes 3:11 NKJV) For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.

(2 Thes 3:12 NASB) Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread."

In 2 Thes 3:6, Paul wrote, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which [they] received from us," reflecting upon disorderly / misbehaving conduct by commanding in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that the brethren distance themselves from the brothers who lead an unruly / undisciplined / unchristianlike life. 

Whereupon in 2 Thes 3:7-10 Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, [lit., imitate us] because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either."

But when it came to imitating Paul and fellow missionaries, and even the faithful whom Paul commended who were believers at Thessalonica, a number of the believers in Thessalonica were not working at all despite their capacity to do so - they were evidently lazy and expected others to take care of them. Paul regarded his and fellow apostles' examples as authoritative models. So the believers were to imitate them as well as to believe in and follow their teachings. Paul and his associates were diligent and ready to demonstrate beyond what was expected of them so as to be a godly, self-sacrificial example to others, not risking giving them a bad impression no matter how undeserved. They worked extra hard in order to provide for all their own needs so as not to be a burden to others or to have others think that they were taking advantage of their authority as apostles and teachers. Paul indicated that they never accepted a gift or a meal from others, but that they were wholly self-supporting; albeit they did have the authority to require those to whom they administered to, to support their ministry efforts, (ref 2 Thes 3:9). Nevertheless, they endeavored to earn the bread they ate (cf. 2 Thes 3:12). In fact, they worked long and hard so as not to be a financial burden to any of the Thessalonians (cf. 1 Thes. 2:9). The apostles lived this way to give their converts an example which a number of them were commended to have followed (cf. 1 Thes. 1:7) of what it means to sacrifice for the good of others. Nevertheless, the apostles had every right to receive physical help for spiritual ministry (cf. 2 Thes 3:9; 1 Cor. 9:3-14; 1 Tim. 5:18). But they chose to forego this right in order to teach the importance of self-sacrificing love and industry. Paul did not imply that this right should always be sacrificed; he taught elsewhere that it is legitimate, that those who are taught should support their teachers (Gal. 6:6). His point here was that Christians generally should not expect other people to take care of them all of the time, but to endeavor to support themselves as much as possible. The missionaries had taught the Thessalonians to be industrious as well as giving them a good example. Paul wanted no one to forget exactly what the apostles had said. It was a firm rule of Christian conduct. He either quoted it verbatim here or summarized his previous teaching into a single pithy precept. The individuals in view were not those who could not work but those who would not work. They were not to be supported by other Christians out of a sense of charity. The loving thing to do for those who were deliberately lazy was to let them go hungry so that they would be forced to do right and go to work. No Christian who is able but unwilling to work should be maintained by others who labor on his behalf.

Then in 2 Thes 3:11 Paul continues this context of dealing with individuals in the local church, as follows, "For we hear that there are some who walk [lit., walking, present participle indicating ongoing action] among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies." Instead of keeping busy doing productive things, and minding their own business, they were acting in a disorderly fashion, not working at all, becoming a disruptive influence. 

Whereupon Paul wrote in 2 Thes 3:12, "Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.Paul had previously told them to do this (1 Thes. 4:11), but because some disobeyed he gave this sterner command, which called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to intercede and straighten out "such lazy loafing believers" and get them to work for their own food.

a) [Compare 1 Thes 4:11]:

(1 Thes 4:11 NASB) "and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you."

E) [2 Thes 3:13-15]:

(2 Thes 3:13 NKJV) "But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

(2 Thes 3:14 NKJV) And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

(2 Thes 3:15 NASB) Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."

Whereupon in 2 Thes 3:13, author Paul addressed the more diligent and faithful believers so as to encourage them not to fall pray to anger: "But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good," in the sense of doing what is the right thing to do for the benefit of the wayward, lazy believers. The Greek phrase "κακοποιοῦντες" (kalopoiountes), rendered "in doing good," or "in doing what is right" has been taken to mean "doing good" to others (Best, pp. 341, 342). This is the meaning in Gal 6:9, with the sense of giving financial help, but it is difficult so to understand v. 13. Here Paul's emphasis is the very opposite—viz., that of disciplining loafers by witholding food from them. So it is a better choice to render the participle more generally as "acting correctly" or "doing what is right"

Paul now describes how the Thessalonian Christians should deal with loafers who disobey his instructions. First, they are urged to keep on doing right, which implies the possibility of their losing heart in struggling with their idle brothers. Exemplary conduct serves as a constant reprimand to wrongdoers and is an incentive for them to turn from their delinquency. Included in "doing what is right" is generosity toward those in need. Yet to keep on supporting those who have nothing because they refuse to work is wrong (v. 10).

In 2 Thes 3:14 which reads, "And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed," Paul commanded the church in Thessalonica with even stronger words regarding the idle if they would not repent. They were to be ostracized, they were not to keep company with himOstracism from the body of believers was evidently intended to help such a person to become ashamed, feel his separation from fellowship with the Head of the body, Jesus Christ in the hope that he would repent and endeavor to pull his weight and be self-sufficient, and not a burden to the body of believers. So the wayward brother in Christ was not to be expelled from the church. 

Then in 2 Thes 3:15, which reads, "Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother," he was to be admonished as a brother in Christ. On the other hand, he was not to be given food, because this would make the community appear to condone his offense. The Greek phrase, "Me synamignysthai" rendered ("do not associate") implies "let there be no intimate association [with him]"."

To sum up, the recalcitrant idler was not to be treated as an enemy cut off from all contacts, but was allowed to continue in a brotherly status. So lines of communication were kept open for continued warnings about his behavior.

F) [2 Thes 3:16-18]:

(2 Thes 3:16 NASB) "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., way]. The Lord be with you all!

(2 Thes 3:17 NASB) I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

(2 Thes 3:18 NKJV) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

1) [(2 Thes 3:16) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 3:16]:

(2 Thes 3:16 NASB) "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., way]. The Lord be with you all!"

The three Greek editions (TR, WH, NU) conclude Paul's blessing here with the words "may the Lord of peace Himself always give youi peace in every way." This reading has excellent support: Sinaiticus, A(c), B, D(2), Psi, 0278, 1739, Maj, syr, cop, and is followed by all English versions. A variant on this is "in every place": "May the Lord of peace Himself always give you peace in every place." This is the reading in A*, D*, F, G, 33, it.

These two words could have been easily mistaken for each other in the transcriptional process inasmuch as there is only a one-letter difference (rho) between them "tropO" and "topO". Furthermore, both make good idiomatic sense - the blessing of peace should accompany the believers in every manner or wherever they are. But the TR, WH, NU reading has superior attestation, and the variant is probably the result of scribal conformation to the wording in verses such as 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 2:14; 1 Thes 1:8; 1 Tim 2:8.

2) [(2 Thes 3:18) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 3:18]:

(2 Thes 3:18 NKJV) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

WH, NU omit "Amen" at end of verse.

Sinaiticus*, B, 0278, 33, 1739*, 1881*, cop(sa)

variant / TR include "Amen" at end of verse

Sinaiticus(2), A, D, F, G, psi, 1881(c), Maj, it, syr, cop(bo)

The documentary evidence for the WH, NU reading is superior to that for the variant. It is likely that the final "Amen" was added by scribes for liturgical purposes. Only three epistles (Romans, Galatians, Jude) appear to have a genuine "amen" for the last word.

Subscription

As with all the books of the NT, it is quite certain that no book had a title (inscription) or a subscription. This is especially true because their original purpose was to be apostolic letters, not literary works per se.   

3) [(2 Thes 3:16-18) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:16-18]:

(2 Thes 3:16 NASB) "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., way]. The Lord be with you all!

(2 Thes 3:17 NASB) I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

(2 Thes 3:18 NKJV) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

In 2 Thes 3:16 Paul closes out his epistle with a prayer, a final greeting, and a benediction. He begins with the all important prayer in 2 Thes 3:16, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., "every way"]. The Lord be with you all!" Notice that first and foremost is the sovereignty of God - His decrees - without which nothing takes place. Yet it is up to the believer to choose his path of his own volition which must include his prayers so that that path is directed by the Lord under His will and that path prepared by God in conjunction with the steps that the believer take under his own auspices yet circumstances having been set up / established / created by the Father Who directs all things.

a) [Compare a previous prayer in Thes 2:16-17]:

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

In view in 2 Thes 2:16-17 is the recent anxiety of the believers in Thessalonica created by false information concerning the day of the Lord, Paul expressed a prayer to God that the believers at Thessalonica be reminded that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace; that their heart be comforted and strengthened in every good work and word that they do and say. So they needed God's grace to make them confident and strong as they endeavored to do godly works and share the Word of God with others.

So the Thessalonican believers' suffering as well as their victories in evangelizing others and their being faithful to God in every good work and word are inevitably due to the sovereignty, election  and grace of God through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the believer's sanctification, edification, etc. Yet somewhere included is the volition of the believer persevering in the sense of being faithful in the midst of ongoing struggles due to circumstances and struggles with his own sin nature day by day and moment by moment. Hence needed is God's encouragement and grace to perserve in such matters. Hence Paul's prayer to God on behalf of the believers in Thessalonica in view of their need for steadfastness was that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3). For just as Paul struggled with circumstances as well as with his own sin nature in his daily, temporal life, yet in the end his success is, thanks be to God, due to the grace of God Himself, (cf. Ro 7:15-25 ). So it was with the believers in Thessalonica and all believers of all ages.

b) [(2 Thes 3:16) Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"3:16. This is Paul's fourth prayer for the Thessalonians in this epistle (cf. 1:11-12; 2:16-17; 3:5). From correction Paul turned to intercession. Without the Lord's working all exhortations would be ineffective. Paul's concern was for peace within the church through the unity of all members obeying the truth. The Lord is the source of peace (cf. 1 Thes. 5:23) and Paul prayed that He would bestow this on the Christians in Thessalonica. A Christian and a church enjoy peace when they are rightly related to the will of God. Paul prayed that this would be the Thessalonians' condition at all times regardless of their circumstances, even in persecution.

In praying that the Lord would be with them all, Paul was not implying that God is with Christians only some of the time (cf. Matt. 28:20). Rather, he was praying that fellowship with Christ (that Christians can enjoy only as they obey His Word) might be the portion of each believer - not just of the obedient but also of those who were presently disobedient through idle living."

c) [2 Thes 3:16) Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

"16 "Now" (or perhaps more accurately "but") once again marks a transition from command and exhortation to prayer. The prayer recognizes that ultimately God alone can bring about compliance with what Paul has asked of his readers. "Yet without the Lord's help all your efforts will be in vain" is the thought behind this petition. "The Lord of peace" alone can make harmony among believers a reality. While this is, first and foremost, peace with God, it provides the ground for believers' peace with one another (Eph 2:14-18; cf. 1 Thess 5:23). "At all times" asks that there be no break in the flow of Christ's peace (cf. John 14:27; 16:33; Col 3:15); "in every way" asks that the prevalence of peace continue no matter what the outward circumstances. "The Lord be with all of you" requests what was previously guaranteed for Christians. His promise never to leave or forsake his own provides the assurances of this (Heb 13:5). Here is an instance of the cooperation of prayer in fulfilling what God's purpose predetermines (cf. 1:11, 12)."

3 cont.) [(2 Thes 3:16-18) Commentary On 2 Thes 3:16-18 (cont.)]:

(2 Thes 3:16 NASB) "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance [lit., way]. The Lord be with you all!

(2 Thes 3:17 NASB) I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.

(2 Thes 3:18 NKJV) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

Whereupon, Paul wrote in his own hand as a means to distinguish himself as the author which is important especially in the case of this letter to serve as a deterrent against any future attempt to forge a letter in his name which may have occurred, (cf. 2 Thes 2:2).

The same benediction is used here as in 1 Thessalonians 5:28 except that all is added here. "All" sounds a final appeal for unity in the church through the obedience of each individual to Paul's instruction and admonitions. Such unity can come about only through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

d) [(2 Thes 3:17-18) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Thes 3:17-18]:

"17,18 Paul was dictating to an amanuensis up to 3:17 (cf. Rom 16:22; 1Cor 16:21; Col 4:18). At this point he took the pen into his own hand to add a closing greeting. Though he undoubtedly did this quite frequently, he has called attention to it only here, in 1 Corinthians 16:21, and in Colossians 4:18. The greeting in his own hand, "which is the distinguishing mark" in all his letters (v. 17), includes also the benediction of v. 18. Apparently Paul followed this practice consistently, expecting churches where he had served to recall his distinctive handwriting. It was particularly needed in this Epistle as a deterrent against any future attempt to forge a letter in his name (cf. 2:2). The practice was customary in ancient times (Frame, p. 312). When Paul says "in all my letters" (v. 17), he does not mean just the letters previous to this, for he was also to follow this procedure later. Neither is the expression to be limited only to books found in the [Church Age Canon], because he is known to have written other Epistles besides these (cf. 1Cor 5:9). The handwriting furnished a key by which his Thessalonian readers could recognize a spurious Epistle bearing his name.

Even when Paul did not call attention to it, a closing benediction came in his own hand. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you" or a near equivalent is found at the close of all Paul's writings. In the autographa (the original MSS) they were all in Paul's handwriting, though most of his Epistles may have been written through amanuenses. The present benediction agrees verbatim with that of 1 Thessalonians 5:28 except for the "all" added here. Significantly, no one was excluded from Paul's good wishes toward this church, not even those he had rebuked at various points."