2 Thessalonians 3

3:1 Finally [this does not mark the end of the letter but rather is a transition to Paul’s ethical exhortations], brothers, pray [keep on praying; repeatedly] for us that [1] the message [the word; the gospel; as opposed to the word of the false teachers in 2:2] of the Lord may spread rapidly [run from city to city and person to person] and be honored [this happens when people receive the message by faith and practice what it teaches], just as it was with you.

Note: Who do you trust to pray for you as you perform the ministries to which God has called you?

3:2 And [2] pray that we [the Lord’s messengers] may be delivered from wicked [out of place; improper] and evil men [those who actively oppose the spread of the gospel; this phrase has a definite article in Greek thus indicating Paul was referring to a particular group], for not everyone has faith [or “the (Christian) faith;” an indictment of those who willfully rejected the gospel and opposed those who preached it].

3:3 But the Lord is faithful [He can be fully trusted to help us in the battle against the devil and wicked people; God’s help is indispensable], and he will strengthen [to support; to establish] and protect you [believers] from [does not mean that believers will never face difficulties] the evil one [Satan himself; the enemy of all believers].

3:4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing [indicates Paul’s immediate confidence in them] and will continue to do [indicates Paul’s future confidence in them] the things [what Paul had passed on to them by word of mouth and by letter (cf. 2:15)] we command.

3:5 May the Lord [the Lord Jesus] direct [clear the way by removing all barriers or obstacles] your hearts [refers to the whole inner person] into God’s love [God love for them and their love for God] and Christ’s perseverance [His endurance of suffering].

Note: Paul concluded his letter by addressing the topic of laziness among believers. Besides the Second Coming, this topic takes up the most space in this letter.

3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away [in his first letter Paul said to “warn those who are lazy;” Paul now moved a step further in his command and said to “keep away” from them; not excommunication but withdrawing fellowship] from every brother [Paul used this term (includes both men and women) to refer even to those who were not being responsible in their daily work and conduct] who is idle [apparently some church members had stopped working, probably because they were expecting Christ to return at any moment; these individuals seemed to have been getting their support from other church members] and does not live according to the teaching [cf. 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 5:14] you received from us.

3:7 For you yourselves know [Thessalonians had seen for themselves] how you ought to follow [imitate; mimic] our example [of hard work]. We [Paul and his companions] were not idle [to be out of step or out of rank] when we were with you,

Note: Would you be willing to encourage others to follow your example in both the secular and the spiritual realm? Why or why not?

3:8 nor did we eat anyone’s food [apparently they paid for their own food when they stayed in Jason’s home (Acts 17:7)] without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked [Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3)] night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

3:9 We did this, not because we do not have the right [a preacher of the gospel has a right to support from a congregation (cf. Lk. 10:7; 1 Cor. 9:7-14; Gal. 6:6)] to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model [example] for you to follow.

3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule [a form of early church discipline]: “If a man will [not “can” – thus, Paul’s command did not include denying food to the destitute, the poor, and those unable to provide for themselves] not work, he shall not eat.”

3:11 We hear [apparently Paul was notified about the continuing idleness of some] that some among you are idle [those who refuse to work when they are able and when there is work to be done; those with too much time on their hands caused problems in the church]. They are not busy; they are busybodies [actively involved in meddling in the lives of others; these may well have been the ones who were confused and upset about the return of Christ (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2)].

Note: How do busybodies hinder the work of the church?

3:12 Such people [Paul was being nice (he could have called them “lazy bums”); busybodies] we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down [indicates they were being disruptive to the Christian community] and earn the bread they eat.

3:13 And as for you [those who were not idle or lazy], brothers, never tire of doing what is right [cf. Gal. 6:9].

3:14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note [to mark; to signify] of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed [and thus lead him (or her) to mend his ways].

3:15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn [caution or reprove gently] him as a brother.

3:16 Now may the Lord of peace [cf. Rom. 15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9] himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

3:17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark [and assurance that the letter was not a bogus document from false teachers] in all my letters [cf. 1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:18; Philem. 1:19]. This is how I write.

3:18 The grace [undeserved favor from God to His people] of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all [cf. 1 Thess. 5:28].

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