Thessalonians Second Epistle to the
Thessalo’nians, Second Epistle to the, appears to have been written from Corinth not very long after the first, for Silvanus and Timotheus were still with St. Paul 2 Thess. 1:1. In the former letter we saw chiefly the outpouring of strong personal affection, occasioned by the renewal of the apostle’s intercourse with the Thessalonians, and the doctrinal and hortatory portions are there subordinate. In the Second Epistle, on the other hand, his leading motive seems to have been the desire to correcting errors in the church of Thessalonica. We notice two points especially which call for his rebuke:—First, it seems that the anxious expectation of the Lord’s advent, instead of subsiding, had gained ground since the writing of the First Epistle. Second, the apostle had also a personal ground of complaint. His authority was not denied by any, but it was tampered with, and an unauthorized use was made of his name. It will be seen that the teaching of the Second Epistle is corrective of or rather supplemental to that of the first, and therefore presupposes it. This epistle, in the range of subject as well as in style and general character, closely resembles the first; and the remarks made on that epistle apply for the most part equally well to this. The structure also is somewhat similar, the main body of the epistle being divided into two parts in the same way, and each part closing with a prayer. ch. 2:16–17; 3:16. The epistle ends with a special direction and benediction. ch. 3:17–18. The external evidence in favor of the Second Epistle is somewhat more definite than that which can be brought in favor of the first. The internal character of the epistle too, as in the former case, bears the strongest testimony to its Pauline origin. Its genuineness, in fact, was never questioned until the beginning of the present century.