Paul Requests Their Prayers
1Finally, dear brothers and sisters, pray for us that the Lord’s message will continue to spread rapidly and its glory be recognized everywhere, just as it was with you. 2And pray that God will rescue us from wicked # 3:2 The Greek word atopos can also be translated “weird,” “irrational,” “absurd,” “disgusting.” and evil people, for not everyone believes the message. 3But the Lord Yahweh # 3:3 As translated from the Aramaic. is always faithful # 3:3 Twelve times in the Bible the Lord is described as faithful. (See Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7; 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 2 Thess. 3:3; Heb. 10:23; 11:11; 1 Peter 4:19; 1 John 1:9; Rev. 1:5; 3:14; 19:11.) to place you on a firm foundation and guard you from the Evil One. # 3:3 Or “guard you from evil” (the unproductive and sinful ways of the past). 4We have complete confidence in the Lord concerning you # 3:4 Or “The Lord gives us confidence in you.” and we are sure that you are doing and will continue to do what we have told you.
5Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. # 3:5 Or “the faithful endurance of [all things] for Christ.” Either translation is grammatically possible as a subjective genitive or an objective genitive. The Aramaic can be translated “the hope of the Messiah.”
A Warning about Laziness and Disunity
6Beloved brothers and sisters, we instruct you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to stay away from believers who are unruly # 3:6 Or “undisciplined” or “lazy” or “not in battle order” or “not in your duty station.” There is an implication that there were believers who refused to work for a living. Paul is implying that the church should not financially support those who refuse to work. Personal responsibility is a common theme in Paul’s teachings. and who stray from all that we have taught you. # 3:6 Or “don’t live according to the traditions they received from us.” 7For you know very well that you should order your lives after our example, because we were not undisciplined when we were with you. 8We didn’t sponge off of you, but we worked hard night and day to provide our own food and lodging and not be a burden to any of you. 9It wasn’t because we don’t have the right to be supported, # 3:9 Those who preach the gospel have the right to be supported financially and deserve their wages (1 Cor. 9:6–18). However, it seems that Paul’s custom was to earn his own way when he went into a city for the first time to show the truth of the gospel without mixed motives. His ministry in Thessalonica was somewhat of an anomaly. Because there were believers who were lazy and not working for a living, Paul gave up his right to have financial support from them and chose to work “night and day” (v. 8) to be an example to them. but we wanted to provide you an example to follow. 10For when we were with you we instructed you with these words: “Anyone who does not want to work for a living should go hungry.”
11Now, we hear rumors that some of you are being lazy # 3:11 Or “not showing up for the war” (battle). and neglecting to work—that these people are not busy but busybodies! 12So with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, we order them to go back to work in an orderly fashion and exhort them to earn their own living. # 3:12 Or “eat their own bread.” 13Brothers and sisters, don’t ever grow weary in doing what is right. # 3:13 Doing right in this context is not growing tired of honest work. The Hebrew word for “work” (avodah) is the same Hebrew word (a homonym) for worship. Our work can be a form of worship. Our lives are to be a seamless expression of offering to God all of our activities as things we do with all our might for the glory of God.
14Take special note of anyone who won’t obey what we have written and stay away from them, so that they would be ashamed and get turned around. # 3:14 The passive Greek verb entropē means “to be turned” (around); that is, to be changed. This was not punishment but an attempt to draw wayward individuals into repentance and bring them back into restored fellowship with the church. 15Yet don’t regard them as enemies, but caution them as fellow believers.
16Now, may the Lord himself, the Lord of peace, pour into you his peace in every circumstance and in every possible way. The Lord’s tangible presence be with you all. # 3:16 Paul is longing for the guidance, influence, and power that comes from God’s presence to be real to them.
17-18So now, in my own handwriting, I add these words:
Loving greetings to each of you. And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
The above is my signature and the token of authenticity in every letter I write. # 3:17–18 See 1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; Col. 4:18; Philem. 19. The Aramaic ends with “The end of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, written from Laodicea [Pisidian].”