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Introduction to 2 Thessalonians

First and Second Thessalonians were sometimes called the “Eschatological Epistles”. The Thessalonian epistles, more than any other of Paul’s letters, emphasize the Lord’s return. The theme of 1 Thessalonians can be summed up as “the resurrection of the saints and the rapture of the Church.” For Second Thessalonians it is corrections about the Day of the Lord (2 Thess. 2:2).

I. Authorship:
A. Paul began his life as Saul, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin (Ph. 3:5), apparently named after Israel’s first king. He was called Saul of Tarsus, because he was born in Tarsus, the chief city of the Roman province of Cilicia (Ac. 9:11; 22:3)
B. Eighteen of the 28 chapters of the book of Acts are devoted to Paul’s ministry. He wrote 14 of the 27 New Testament epistles (if we include Hebrews), 100 of the 260 chapters in the New Testament.
C. Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, were Paul’s travelling companions on the second missionary journey when the church was founded (Acts 17:1-9). Though Paul was the single inspired author, most of the first-person plural pronouns (we, us, our) refer to all 3.

II. The Church at Thessalonica:
A. At Troas (Troy), Paul received the Macedonian vision to go to Europe, Acts 16:8-14. This was the beginning of spreading the gospel from the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe.
B. Going to Thessalonica brought the ministry of the gospel to Western civilization. Macedonia was the former kingdom of Alexander the Great (he wanted to dominate the world and spread one world domination and enlightenment through the Greek culture. He wanted to marry East and West).
C. Paul founded the Thessalonian church on his second missionary expedition. Paul got an immediate response to the gospel. When Paul left Thessalonica, he went to Berea, then Athens and finally Corinth where he wrote First Thessalonians.
D. Paul came to minister in Thessalonica for three successive and successful weeks. Jews accused Paul’s evangelistic team of “turning the world upside down.” Paul fled the city in the face of much opposition.
E. The principal people in the church at Thessalonica were Gentiles (1 Thessalonians 1:9; Acts 17:4).

III. Date of Writing:
A. Because the historical circumstances are very similar to those of 1 Thessalonians, most believe it was written not long after the first letter—perhaps about six months. While conditions in the church were similar, the persecution seems to have grown (1:4-5), and this, with other factors, led Paul to write this letter from Corinth sometime in A.D. 51 or 52 after Silas and Timothy, the bearers of the first letter, had returned with the news of the new developments.

IV. Occasion of Writing:
A. Paul heard that the Thessalonians were teaching the false idea that the Day of the Lord had come.
B. Some quit their jobs and stopped working because of this.
V. Purposes
A. To correct the false teaching that the Day of the Lord had come
B. To give proper principles to recognize or identify that day.
VI. Contrasts between 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians
A. 1 Thessalonians deals with Christ’s coming for the saints in the air, while 2 Thessalonians deals with Christ’s coming to the earth with the saints.
B. 1 Thessalonians presents the coming of Christ while, 2 Thessalonians sets the stage for the coming of the Antichrist.
C. 1 Thessalonians emphasizes the Day of Christ (Rapture), while 2 Thessalonians emphasizes the Day of the Lord (tribulation).
D. 1 Thessalonians concerns itself with the dead, while 2 Thessalonians concerns itself with the living.
E. 2 Thessalonians is the shortest epistle that Paul ever wrote to any church: There were only 3 chapters, 47 verses and 1,042 words.

V. Conclusion:
The false teaching that the day of the Lord had come and must be corrected. Only the Apostle Paul can do this by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So would like you to join us as we look at coming day of the Lord as written in the Bible.

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