Paul gave repeated instructions in his second letter to the Thessalonians. He wrote this second letter a few months after the first. Paul had evangelized Thessalonica on his second missionary trip but could only stay a short time because of opposition. Paul had sent Timothy back to check on the new church. Timothy returned with the news that they were doing well despite persecution but had a few questions.
Paul wrote the first letter to answer these questions, which included questions about the return of Jesus. Some had anticipated that Jesus would return any time, so they had stopped working. These fanatics were a drain on the church. So, Paul addressed this matter and encouraged them to live a life committed to Jesus, which included working.
The Update Wasn’t Good
We don’t know who brought news of increased persecution in Thessalonica. Timothy appeared to be with Paul in Corinth from the greeting. 2 Thessalonians 1:1 This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy. We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The messenger also informed Paul that there had been false teaching about the return of Jesus, and even more people had quit their work.
In response, Paul wrote a second letter to the church in Thessalonica, covering much of the same topics as the first. If Paul was upset, it doesn’t appear in the letter. In fact, Paul uses great restraint as the first chapter contains a prayer for them and thanksgiving for their faith. Paul then encourages them by reminding them that their persecutors will be judged if they refuse to repent. God is a God of justice and will prevail in the end.
Then Paul reminded them of his teaching about the second coming of Jesus and encouraged them to return to work. They were to stand firm in their faith and work hard so their lives could benefit others.
Paul Gives a Model for Correction
If you are a parent, you know that you must often repeat instructions to your children. As the children of God, we aren’t much different. We, too, need repeated instructions to live out our faith because we are sinful people. Paul doesn’t begin his letter by blasting the Thessalonians but by praising them for what they were doing right. Then Paul prayed for them before explaining how others had led them astray. Then, he goes on to suggest corrections.
Our culture has grown contentious, and the angry tone so often seen in social media easily creeps into our personal lives. People receive correction much more readily if they don’t feel attacked. Paul did not avoid the correction but did it in a tone that people could understand and would listen to. He gives us a model to correct others respectfully. Correcting others can be difficult, so ask God for wisdom when the occasion arises.
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