The Second to the Thessalonians 2:1-17

2  However, brothers, concerning the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ+ and our being gathered together to him,+ we ask you  not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement+ or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah+ is here.  Let no one lead you astray* in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy+ comes first and the man of lawlessness+ gets revealed, the son of destruction.+  He stands in opposition and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits down in the temple of God, publicly showing himself to be a god.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things?  And now you know what is acting as a restraint, so that he will be revealed in his own due time.  True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work,+ but only until the one who is right now acting as a restraint is out of the way.  Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth+ and bring to nothing by the manifestation+ of his presence.  But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan+ with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders+ 10  and every unrighteous deception+ for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. 11  That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie,+ 12  in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness. 13  However, we are obligated always to thank God for you, brothers loved by Jehovah, because from the beginning God selected you+ for salvation by sanctifying you+ with his spirit and by your faith in the truth. 14  He called you to this through the good news we declare, so that you may acquire the glory+ of our Lord Jesus Christ.+ 15  So, then, brothers, stand firm+ and maintain your hold on the traditions that you were taught,+ whether it was by a spoken message or by a letter from us. 16  Moreover, may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us+ and gave everlasting comfort and good hope+ by means of undeserved kindness, 17  comfort your hearts and make you firm*+ in every good deed and word.

Footnotes

Or “seduce you”; “deceive you.”
Or “strengthen you.”

Study Notes

during his presence: This term is first used at Mt 24:3, where some of Jesus’ disciples ask him about “the sign of [his] presence.” It refers to the royal presence of Jesus Christ from the time of his invisible enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things. The Greek word rendered “presence” is pa·rou·siʹa, and while many translations render it “coming,” it literally means “being alongside.” His presence would span a period of time rather than simply involve a momentary coming or arrival. This meaning of pa·rou·siʹa is indicated at Mt 24:37-39, where “the days of Noah . . . before the Flood” are compared to “the presence of the Son of man.” Also, at Php 2:12, Paul used pa·rou·siʹa to describe his “presence” in contrast with his “absence.” (See study note on 1Co 16:17.) Thus, Paul explains that the resurrection to life in heaven for those who belong to the Christ, that is, Christ’s spirit-anointed brothers and joint heirs, would occur some time after Jesus was installed as heavenly King in God’s Kingdom.

the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Greek word rendered “presence” is pa·rou·siʹa, literally meaning “being alongside.” It covers a marked period of time rather than a momentary coming or arrival. In this context, it refers to the royal presence of Jesus Christ, starting with his invisible enthronement as Messianic King at the beginning of the last days of this system of things.​—See study note on 1Co 15:23; Glossary, “Presence.”

discernment of inspired expressions: This phrase, which literally means “discernings of spirits,” refers to a miraculous understanding of inspired expressions. This gift likely included the ability to discern whether an expression was inspired of God or it originated from some other source. This ability was surely useful in protecting the congregation against false prophets. (2Co 11:3, 4; 1Jo 4:1) It would also have helped the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to determine which parts of the Law were still to be viewed as “necessary things” applicable to Christians. (Ac 15:19, 20, 28, 29) Christians also needed guidance to discern which letters and writings should be circulated among the congregations and to discern which would become part of the Bible canon. For example, indicating that some of Paul’s writings constituted part of the inspired Scriptures, the apostle Peter wrote that “the ignorant and unstable are twisting [Paul’s letters], as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” (2Pe 3:16) We can be sure that the process of selecting which books to include in the Bible canon was guided by God’s spirit, doubtless using brothers who had this gift.​—2Ti 3:16; see Glossary, “Canon”; “Spirit.”

which is a sign in every letter; this is the way I write: At the end of some of his letters, Paul includes a greeting in his own hand. (1Co 16:21; Col 4:18) Here he adds that this is a genuine “sign” that the letter is from him. Previously, the Thessalonians may have received a letter that was wrongly attributed to Paul, one that was interpreted as indicating that “the day of Jehovah is here.” (2Th 2:1, 2) The “sign” apparently gave the Thessalonians confidence that this second letter to them was truly sent by Paul.

Jehovah’s day: Throughout the Scriptures, the expression “Jehovah’s day” (or “the day of Jehovah”) refers to special times when Jehovah God executes judgment on his enemies and glorifies his great name. The expression has its background in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Some examples are found at Isa 13:6; Eze 7:19; Joe 1:15; Am 5:18; Ob 15; Zep 1:14; Zec 14:1; Mal 4:5.) The prophet Joel speaks about “the coming of the great and awe-inspiring day of Jehovah.” (Joe 2:31) This scripture is quoted by Peter at Pentecost 33 C.E., as recorded at Ac 2:20. (See study note on Ac 2:20.) In the first fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, that “day of Jehovah” came upon Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. Here at 1Th 5:2, Paul speaks of a future day of Jehovah that corresponds to the “great tribulation” that Jesus foretold at Mt 24:21.​—For the use of the divine name in this verse, see App. C3 introduction; 1Th 5:2.

by an inspired statement: Or “by a spirit.” (See Glossary, “Spirit.”) The Greek word pneuʹma (often rendered “spirit”) is sometimes used in connection with a means of communication. For example, in this verse it appears along with “a spoken message” and “a letter.” In other verses, this Greek word is rendered “inspired statement(s)” (1Ti 4:1; 1Jo 4:1, 2, 3, 6) and “inspired expression(s)” (Re 16:13, 14).​—Compare study note on 1Co 12:10.

by a letter appearing to be from us: Some in the congregation in Thessalonica were insisting that the presence of Jesus Christ was imminent. It is even possible that a letter wrongly attributed to Paul was interpreted as indicating that “the day of Jehovah” had arrived. If so, that might explain why the apostle makes a point of the genuineness of his second letter, saying: “Here is my greeting, Paul’s, in my own hand, which is a sign in every letter; this is the way I write.”​—See study note on 2Th 3:17.

the day of Jehovah: See study note on 1Th 5:2 and App. C3 introduction; 2Th 2:2.

an apostasy: The Greek noun a·po·sta·siʹa, used here, comes from the verb a·phiʹste·mi, which literally means “to stand away from” and can be rendered, depending on the context, “to withdraw; to renounce.” (Ac 19:9; 2Ti 2:19) The noun has the sense of “desertion; abandonment; rebellion.” It appears twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures, here and at 2Th 2:3. In classical Greek, the noun was used to refer to political defection, and the verb is apparently employed in this sense at Ac 5:37 concerning Judas the Galilean, who “drew [a form of a·phiʹste·mi] followers after himself.” The Septuagint uses the verb at Ge 14:4 with reference to such a political rebellion, and the noun a·po·sta·siʹa is used at Jos 22:22; 2Ch 29:19; and Jer 2:19 to translate Hebrew expressions for “rebellion” and “unfaithfulness.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the noun a·po·sta·siʹa is used primarily with regard to religious defection, a withdrawal from or abandonment of the true worship and service of God, an abandonment of what one has previously professed, a total desertion of principles or faith.

lawlessness: The Greek word rendered “lawlessness” includes the idea of violation of and contempt for laws, people acting as if there were no laws. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws.​—Mt 7:23; 2Co 6:14; 2Th 2:3-7; 1Jo 3:4.

by the manifestation of his presence: Paul here refers, not to Christ’s entire invisible presence, but to an event that will take place near the end of that presence. Christ’s presence will then become manifest, plainly evident to all. (Lu 21:25-28; see Glossary, “Presence.”) Paul’s words here show that “the man of lawlessness,” who was already at work in the first century C.E., would still exist during the time of Christ’s presence. This indicates that Paul refers to a composite man rather than to any individual. (See study note on 2Th 2:3.) The execution of divine judgment on “the man of lawlessness” will make evident not only that Christ is present as King but also that the “great tribulation” Christ foretold will then be underway.​—Mt 24:21; see Glossary, “Great tribulation.”

the mystery of this lawlessness: For “mystery,” Paul uses the Greek word my·steʹri·on, which describes something secret and beyond normal understanding. It is used in a similar sense at Re 17:5, 7. (For a discussion of other occurrences of this Greek word, see study note on Mt 13:11.) In the case of “the man of lawlessness,” there was an element of mystery because the leadership among apostates had not yet established itself as an identifiable group. But that mystery was already at work because apostates were infiltrating the congregation, acting as a subversive influence toward lawlessness.​—Ac 15:24; see study note on 2Th 2:3.

the son of destruction: In this context, the expression refers to Judas Iscariot, whose deliberate betrayal of God’s Son made Judas subject to eternal destruction, one who was unworthy of a resurrection. The same expression is used at 2Th 2:3 with reference to “the man of lawlessness.” In the original Bible languages, the term “son(s) of” is sometimes used in a figurative sense about someone who pursues a certain course of conduct or who manifests a certain characteristic. Examples are such expressions as “sons of the Most High,” “sons of light and sons of day,” “sons of the Kingdom,” “sons of the wicked one,” “son of the Devil,” and “sons of disobedience.” (Lu 6:35; 1Th 5:5; Mt 13:38; Ac 13:10; Eph 2:2) In a similar way, the expression “son of” can be used to refer to the judgment or outcome that results from following a certain course or displaying a certain characteristic. At 2Sa 12:5, the expression rendered “deserves to die” is literally “is a son of death.” At Mt 23:15, the literal expression “a son of Gehenna” is used about someone who is deserving of eternal destruction, which was apparently what Jesus meant when he called Judas Iscariot “the son of destruction.”​—See study note on Mt 23:15 and Glossary, “Gehenna.”

the apostasy: The Greek noun a·po·sta·siʹa, used here, comes from a verb that literally means “to stand away from.” The noun has the sense of “desertion; abandonment; rebellion.” Thus, it denotes more than a mere falling away because of spiritual weakness or doubt. (See study note on Ac 21:21.) In classical Greek, the noun was used to refer to political defection or rebellion. In this context, Paul uses the word “apostasy” with regard to a religious defection that would develop before “the day of Jehovah.” (2Th 2:2) He means a willful abandonment of true worship and the service of God.​—See Glossary, “Apostasy.”

the apostasy comes first: Some Thessalonian Christians were being misled regarding “the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “the day of Jehovah.” So Paul reminds them of two events that must happen first: (1) The apostasy will come (see study note on the apostasy in this verse) and (2) “the man of lawlessness” will be revealed. (2Th 2:1-3) Paul’s expectation that a widespread apostasy would afflict the Christian congregation harmonizes with Jesus’ illustration about the wheat and the weeds. (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43) Paul gave other prophetic warnings that apostates would infiltrate the congregation; later, the apostle Peter did so as well.​—Ac 20:29, 30; 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 4:3, 4; 2Pe 2:1-3.

the man of lawlessness: The Greek word here rendered “lawlessness” conveys the idea of living in deliberate opposition to law. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12.) In this verse, Paul shows that “the man of lawlessness” is involved with the apostasy. Many congregations faced the problem of apostasy, so it seems clear that “the man of lawlessness” does not refer to any single individual. Rather, this composite “man” represents a dangerous group of false Christians. (See study note on 2Th 2:8.) Paul also foretells that at some future time, the identity of this “man” gets revealed​—in the sense of his coming out into the open. (See study note on 2Th 2:7.) A number of Bible translations read “the man of sin” here, based on the reading in some manuscripts. However, the rendering “the man of lawlessness” is supported by earlier manuscripts. The rendering is also consistent with the context; a few verses later, Paul speaks of “the mystery of this lawlessness” and calls this man “the lawless one.”​—2Th 2:7, 8.

the son of destruction: This expression, which could also be rendered “son of annihilation,” is used to describe Jesus’ betrayer, Judas Iscariot. (See study note on Joh 17:12.) Paul thus suggests that “the man of lawlessness” discussed here is certain to be permanently annihilated, just as the traitor Judas died a permanent death.

exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship: The phrase “object of worship” renders a Greek word that may also be translated “object of reverence.” Paul here suggests that the corrupt “man of lawlessness” would exalt himself by teaching twisted things that run counter to the law of God. (2Th 2:3) The phrase “every so-called god” might include powerful humans, such as secular rulers. (Compare Joh 10:34-36.) Paul thus suggests that this self-important “man” behaves as if his teaching were the supreme authority.

he sits down in the temple of God: Paul here seems to focus on the hypocritical actions of “the man of lawlessness.” (2Th 2:3) He cannot actually sit in God’s temple (or “divine habitation [dwelling]”), but he, in effect, claims to do so. “Of God” literally reads “of the God.” Paul’s use of the Greek definite article shows that this “man” lyingly claims to be a representative of the true God.

Do you not remember . . . ?: Paul visited the congregation in Thessalonica about the year 50 C.E., and he is writing this letter from Corinth not long thereafter, perhaps about 51 C.E. (Ac 18:11) Here he urges the Thessalonian Christians to remember that he used to give them warnings in person very similar to the ones he now offers in writing.

the one who is right now acting as a restraint: Paul here repeats the Greek word for “acting as a restraint” from the preceding verse, adding the time element “right now.” He likely refers to the restraining influence of the apostles. (See study note on 2Th 2:6.) Decades later, about 98 C.E., the apostle John suggested that it was then “the last hour” of the apostolic age and that apostasy was spreading. (1Jo 2:18) That last restraint against apostasy was “out of the way” after John died about 100 C.E.

what is acting as a restraint: It appears that Paul here refers to the faithful apostles who, as a group, were this restraint. Paul’s words, such as those recorded in this passage and elsewhere, show that he worked vigorously to restrain, or hold back, apostasy. (See also Ac 20:29, 30; 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 2:16, 17; 4:2, 4.) Likewise, the apostle Peter battled this poisonous influence. (2Pe 2:1-3) Decades later, the aged apostle John was still fighting the spread of apostasy, but he warned that it was already widespread in the congregations. (1Jo 2:18; 2Jo 7) Paul here suggests that “the man of lawlessness” would be revealed when the restraint was “out of the way.”​—2Th 2:3; see study note on 2Th 2:7.

sacred secrets: The Greek word my·steʹri·on is rendered “sacred secret” 25 times in the New World Translation. Here used in the plural, this expression refers to aspects of God’s purpose that are withheld until God chooses to make them known. Then they are fully revealed but only to those to whom he chooses to give understanding. (Col 1:25, 26) Once revealed, the sacred secrets of God are given the widest possible proclamation. This is evident by the Bible’s use of such terms as “declaring,” “making known,” “preach,” “revealed,” and “revelation” in connection with the expression “the sacred secret.” (1Co 2:1; Eph 1:9; 3:3; Col 1:25, 26; 4:3) The primary “sacred secret of God” centers on the identification of Jesus Christ as the promised “offspring,” or Messiah. (Col 2:2; Ge 3:15) However, this sacred secret has many facets, including the role Jesus is assigned to play in God’s purpose. (Col 4:3) As Jesus showed on this occasion, “the sacred secrets” are connected with the Kingdom of the heavens, or “the Kingdom of God,” the heavenly government in which Jesus rules as King. (Mr 4:11; Lu 8:10; see study note on Mt 3:2.) The Christian Greek Scriptures use the term my·steʹri·on in a way different from that of the ancient mystery religions. Those religions, often based on fertility cults that flourished in the first century C.E., promised that devotees would receive immortality, direct revelation, and approach to the gods through mystic rites. The content of those secrets was obviously not based on truth. Those initiated into mystery religions vowed to keep the secrets to themselves and therefore shrouded in mystery, which was unlike the open proclamation of the sacred secrets of Christianity. When the Scriptures use this term in connection with false worship, it is rendered “mystery” in the New World Translation.​—For the three occurrences where my·steʹri·on is rendered “mystery,” see study notes on 2Th 2:7; Re 17:5, 7.

the man of lawlessness: The Greek word here rendered “lawlessness” conveys the idea of living in deliberate opposition to law. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12.) In this verse, Paul shows that “the man of lawlessness” is involved with the apostasy. Many congregations faced the problem of apostasy, so it seems clear that “the man of lawlessness” does not refer to any single individual. Rather, this composite “man” represents a dangerous group of false Christians. (See study note on 2Th 2:8.) Paul also foretells that at some future time, the identity of this “man” gets revealed​—in the sense of his coming out into the open. (See study note on 2Th 2:7.) A number of Bible translations read “the man of sin” here, based on the reading in some manuscripts. However, the rendering “the man of lawlessness” is supported by earlier manuscripts. The rendering is also consistent with the context; a few verses later, Paul speaks of “the mystery of this lawlessness” and calls this man “the lawless one.”​—2Th 2:7, 8.

what is acting as a restraint: It appears that Paul here refers to the faithful apostles who, as a group, were this restraint. Paul’s words, such as those recorded in this passage and elsewhere, show that he worked vigorously to restrain, or hold back, apostasy. (See also Ac 20:29, 30; 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 2:16, 17; 4:2, 4.) Likewise, the apostle Peter battled this poisonous influence. (2Pe 2:1-3) Decades later, the aged apostle John was still fighting the spread of apostasy, but he warned that it was already widespread in the congregations. (1Jo 2:18; 2Jo 7) Paul here suggests that “the man of lawlessness” would be revealed when the restraint was “out of the way.”​—2Th 2:3; see study note on 2Th 2:7.

the mystery of this lawlessness: For “mystery,” Paul uses the Greek word my·steʹri·on, which describes something secret and beyond normal understanding. It is used in a similar sense at Re 17:5, 7. (For a discussion of other occurrences of this Greek word, see study note on Mt 13:11.) In the case of “the man of lawlessness,” there was an element of mystery because the leadership among apostates had not yet established itself as an identifiable group. But that mystery was already at work because apostates were infiltrating the congregation, acting as a subversive influence toward lawlessness.​—Ac 15:24; see study note on 2Th 2:3.

the one who is right now acting as a restraint: Paul here repeats the Greek word for “acting as a restraint” from the preceding verse, adding the time element “right now.” He likely refers to the restraining influence of the apostles. (See study note on 2Th 2:6.) Decades later, about 98 C.E., the apostle John suggested that it was then “the last hour” of the apostolic age and that apostasy was spreading. (1Jo 2:18) That last restraint against apostasy was “out of the way” after John died about 100 C.E.

the man of lawlessness: The Greek word here rendered “lawlessness” conveys the idea of living in deliberate opposition to law. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12.) In this verse, Paul shows that “the man of lawlessness” is involved with the apostasy. Many congregations faced the problem of apostasy, so it seems clear that “the man of lawlessness” does not refer to any single individual. Rather, this composite “man” represents a dangerous group of false Christians. (See study note on 2Th 2:8.) Paul also foretells that at some future time, the identity of this “man” gets revealed​—in the sense of his coming out into the open. (See study note on 2Th 2:7.) A number of Bible translations read “the man of sin” here, based on the reading in some manuscripts. However, the rendering “the man of lawlessness” is supported by earlier manuscripts. The rendering is also consistent with the context; a few verses later, Paul speaks of “the mystery of this lawlessness” and calls this man “the lawless one.”​—2Th 2:7, 8.

the Word: Or “the Logos.” Greek, ho loʹgos. Here used as a title, it is also used at Joh 1:14 and Re 19:13. John identified the one to whom this title belongs, namely, Jesus. This title was applied to Jesus during his prehuman existence as a spirit creature, during his ministry on earth as a perfect man, and after his exaltation to heaven. Jesus was God’s Word of communication, or Spokesman, for conveying information and instructions to the Creator’s other spirit sons and to humans. So it is reasonable to think that prior to Jesus’ coming to earth, Jehovah on many occasions communicated with mankind through the Word, His angelic mouthpiece.​—Ge 16:7-11; 22:11; 31:11; Ex 3:2-5; Jg 2:1-4; 6:11, 12; 13:3.

the man of lawlessness: The Greek word here rendered “lawlessness” conveys the idea of living in deliberate opposition to law. As used in the Bible, it suggests disregard for God’s laws. (See study note on Mt 24:12.) In this verse, Paul shows that “the man of lawlessness” is involved with the apostasy. Many congregations faced the problem of apostasy, so it seems clear that “the man of lawlessness” does not refer to any single individual. Rather, this composite “man” represents a dangerous group of false Christians. (See study note on 2Th 2:8.) Paul also foretells that at some future time, the identity of this “man” gets revealed​—in the sense of his coming out into the open. (See study note on 2Th 2:7.) A number of Bible translations read “the man of sin” here, based on the reading in some manuscripts. However, the rendering “the man of lawlessness” is supported by earlier manuscripts. The rendering is also consistent with the context; a few verses later, Paul speaks of “the mystery of this lawlessness” and calls this man “the lawless one.”​—2Th 2:7, 8.

the lawless one: Paul here refers to the same “man of lawlessness” mentioned at 2Th 2:3.​—See study note.

by the spirit of his mouth: As “The Word of God,” Jesus serves as Jehovah’s principal spokesman. (Re 19:13; see study note on Joh 1:1.) With the authority that Jehovah has granted him as Messianic King, Jesus will pronounce divine judgments against all enemies of God, including this “lawless one.”​—Compare Isa 11:3, 4; Re 19:14-16, 21.

by the manifestation of his presence: Paul here refers, not to Christ’s entire invisible presence, but to an event that will take place near the end of that presence. Christ’s presence will then become manifest, plainly evident to all. (Lu 21:25-28; see Glossary, “Presence.”) Paul’s words here show that “the man of lawlessness,” who was already at work in the first century C.E., would still exist during the time of Christ’s presence. This indicates that Paul refers to a composite man rather than to any individual. (See study note on 2Th 2:3.) The execution of divine judgment on “the man of lawlessness” will make evident not only that Christ is present as King but also that the “great tribulation” Christ foretold will then be underway.​—Mt 24:21; see Glossary, “Great tribulation.”

Satan: From the Hebrew word sa·tanʹ, meaning “resister; adversary.”

wonders: Or “portents.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word teʹras is consistently used in combination with se·meiʹon (“sign”), both terms being used in the plural form. (Mt 24:24; Joh 4:48; Ac 7:36; 14:3; 15:12; 2Co 12:12) Basically, teʹras refers to anything that causes awe or wonderment. When the term clearly refers to something portending what will happen in the future, the alternate rendering “portent” is used in a study note.

the lawless one’s presence: The Greek text could here be more literally rendered “whose presence.” The context makes it clear that this phrase refers, not to the presence of Christ, but to the presence of “the lawless one” mentioned in the preceding verse.

by the operation of Satan: The Greek word here rendered “operation” could be rendered “activity.” One reference work says that in the Christian Greek Scriptures, this term is “used only of superhuman power, whether of God or of the devil.” Paul thus indicates that Satan uses his superhuman might to empower “the man of lawlessness.” (2Th 2:3) Additionally, “Satan” is a Hebrew word meaning “resister,” and “the man of lawlessness” resists Jehovah by opposing His teachings and His people.​—See study note on Mt 4:10.

wonders: Or “portents.” The true apostles of Christ did perform powerful works, signs, and wonders because they had God’s holy spirit. (Ac 2:43; 5:12; 15:12; 2Co 12:12) However, any similar displays on the part of the rebellious “man of lawlessness” would actually be an indication of Satan’s powerful operation and activity. (2Th 2:3) The “wonders,” or “portents,” would be lying ones. Either they would be fraudulent or they would lead to false or misleading conclusions. (2Th 2:10, 11) They would divert people from the Source of life and the path to life everlasting.​—Compare Mt 7:22, 23; 2Co 11:3, 12-15; see study note on Ac 2:19.

deception: Or “seduction.” The Greek word used here is also rendered “deceptive power” (Mt 13:22; Heb 3:13) and “deceptive teachings” (2Pe 2:13).

deception: Or “seduction; enticement.” The Greek term rendered “deception” was sometimes used as a synonym for sensual pleasure, implying that such deception could involve enticement by sinful and materialistic desires rather than outright fraud.​—See study note on Col 2:8.

loved by Jehovah: Paul here assures his fellow believers in Thessalonica that he is grateful to God for them and that they are loved by Jehovah God. Paul uses a similar expression at 1Th 1:4 when he addresses his spiritual brothers as those “loved by God.” These expressions may echo similar ones in the Hebrew Scriptures regarding Jehovah God’s love for his people.​—De 7:7, 8; 33:12; for the use of the divine name here, see App. C3 introduction; 2Th 2:13.

the traditions: The Greek word pa·raʹdo·sis, here rendered “traditions,” refers to something handed down, such as information, instructions, or practices that have been conveyed to others to follow. The word as used in the Christian Greek Scriptures is sometimes applied to beneficial traditions, that is, traditions that were proper or acceptable aspects of true worship. (2Th 2:15; 3:6) For example, the information that the apostle Paul received regarding the observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal could properly be passed on to the Christian congregations as acceptable Christian tradition. (1Co 11:23) The same Greek expression is often applied to traditions that were in error or that were followed or viewed in a way that made them harmful and objectionable.​—Mt 15:2, 3; Mr 7:3, 5, 13; Col 2:8.

the traditions that you were taught: Paul here refers to traditions that were proper or acceptable aspects of true worship.​—See study note on 1Co 11:2.

the God of all comfort: The Greek noun pa·raʹkle·sis, here rendered “comfort,” literally means “a calling to one’s side.” It conveys the idea of standing next to a person, helping or encouraging him when he is undergoing trials or feeling sad. (See study note on Ro 12:8.) Some have suggested that Paul’s emphasis on comfort from God echoes Isa 40:1, where the prophet writes: “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God.” (See also Isa 51:12.) Additionally, the related Greek term rendered “helper” (pa·raʹkle·tos) at Joh 14:26 refers to Jehovah’s holy spirit. God uses his powerful active force to give comfort and help in situations that from a human viewpoint seem hopeless.​—Ac 9:31; Eph 3:16.

comfort your hearts: In this request, Paul uses the Greek verb pa·ra·ka·leʹo, here rendered “comfort,” which literally means “to call to one’s side.” (See study note on Ro 12:8.) After mentioning “God . . . who loved us” in verse 16, Paul connects the thought of having one’s heart comforted with the fundamental truth that Jehovah loves his servants. (Ro 8:32, 38, 39; Eph 1:7; 2:4, 5) This reminder must have been especially encouraging to Christians in Thessalonica, who were experiencing persecution.​—2Th 1:4.

everlasting comfort: The Greek word here rendered “comfort” (pa·raʹkle·sis) literally means “a calling to one’s side.” (See study note on 2Co 1:3.) God gives comfort that is “everlasting,” or without end.​—See study note on 2Th 2:17.

encourages: Or “exhorts.” The Greek word pa·ra·ka·leʹo literally means “to call to one’s side.” It is broad in meaning and may convey the idea “to encourage” (Ac 11:23; 14:22; 15:32; 1Th 5:11; Heb 10:25); “to comfort” (2Co 1:4; 2:7; 7:6; 2Th 2:17); and in some contexts “to urge strongly; to exhort” (Ac 2:40; Ro 15:30; 1Co 1:10; Php 4:2; 1Th 5:14; 2Ti 4:2; Tit 1:9, ftn.). The close relationship between exhortation, comfort, and encouragement would indicate that a Christian should never exhort someone in a harsh or unkind way.

comfort your hearts: In this request, Paul uses the Greek verb pa·ra·ka·leʹo, here rendered “comfort,” which literally means “to call to one’s side.” (See study note on Ro 12:8.) After mentioning “God . . . who loved us” in verse 16, Paul connects the thought of having one’s heart comforted with the fundamental truth that Jehovah loves his servants. (Ro 8:32, 38, 39; Eph 1:7; 2:4, 5) This reminder must have been especially encouraging to Christians in Thessalonica, who were experiencing persecution.​—2Th 1:4.

Media