The Pauline Epistles: What They Really Are- 1 and 2 Thessalonians

It is interesting to note that although everyone agrees that Shaul wrote the first letter to the Thessalonians, there is doubt that he wrote the second letter.

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These letters were written around 50-51 A.D. and address concerns that Shaul had about the faithfulness of these believing Gentiles as they came face-to-face with persecution by the Jewish population there.

As always, Shaul starts off praising their faithfulness and how thankful he is for their continued growth in the Lord. He reminds them that he was not a burden to them, how he had so many issues (there were riots which caused him to leave earlier than he wanted to when he was first there) and how he suffered for their sakes. He also qualifies his ministering as not using scams and lies, which apparently, he was accused of. He states he was blameless and upright in all he did when there, even earning his own living instead of taking any help from them.

As he does in so many of his letters, Shaul says how humble and unassuming he was when with them, all the while telling them he did so much for them and suffered for them, not taking from them anything he was entitled to as a worker for the Lord.

Overall, this letter is not so bad, as his letters go. He isn’t chiding them for lack of faithfulness or for doing wrong things, as most of his other letters addressed. In fact, this letter is quite the opposite: he congratulates them on maintaining their faith, which Timothy (who he had sent to them to make sure they were still faithful) reported back to him.

The second letter addresses a specific problem, in that there was a supposed letter from Shaul saying that the Day of the Lord has already come. He reminds them of the lessons he gave them when he was there regarding the Acharit haYamim (End Days) and how HaSatan (the Devil) is constantly working to separate them from the faith.

He does chide them in this letter regarding those who he has heard are being idle and tells them to follow his example, working and not being a burden to anyone. He states that if anyone among them is not working, he should be shunned, but not hated. He should be made to feel ashamed so that he will get back on track. But anyone who doesn’t work shouldn’t be fed.

What is interesting, again, is that the first letter is thought to be written by Shaul, but isn’t signed by him, but this second letter, which they say may not have been written by him, is signed with his own handwriting! It seems that the ambiguity of the timing of the End Days is what makes some scholars doubt that both letters were written by Shaul.

In any event, the message is the same with both: remain faithful, work for your keep by following the example Shaul set when he was there and watch out for false teachers and prophets.

Next, we will look at the letters he wrote to Timothy, addressing the problems that Tim was having with his congregation members.

Until then, l’hitraot and Baruch Ha Shem!

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