Place Written: Corinth
Writing Completed: c. 51 C.E.
The congregation in Thessalonica deserved commendation. Their faith was growing exceedingly. Their love for one another was increasing. They were faithfully enduring persecution and tribulation. As in his first inspired letter, the apostle Paul commends them and encourages them to continue standing firm.—2Th 1:3-12; 2:13-17.
It seems that Paul wrote this letter shortly after he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians. One purpose of the letter was to correct a wrong view regarding Christ’s presence. Some in the congregation were contending that the presence of Jesus Christ was imminent. (2Th 2:1, 2) Paul did not want the brothers to be led astray, and that is why he shows that other events had to precede the coming of Jehovah’s day.—2Th 2:3-10.
The letter contains valuable instructions on how to treat disorderly ones. Despite the counsel given in 1 Thessalonians (1Th 4:10-12), some in Thessalonica were still meddling in matters that did not concern them and were refusing to work. Paul orders these people to work quietly and eat food that they themselves had earned. If they did not respond to this public counsel, the congregation was to keep them marked and to limit social interaction with them.—2Th 3:10-15.
The letter’s authenticity is well attested to, as is that of 1 Thessalonians. The letter is quoted by Irenaeus (second century C.E.), by Justin Martyr (also of the second century)—who apparently refers to 2Th 2:3 when writing of “the man of lawlessness [sin]”—as well as by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian (second to third centuries C.E.). Both 1 and 2 Thessalonians appear in the same early catalogs of the inspired Scriptures.