Chapter 2

The author of 2 Thessalonians

INTRODUCTION

According to the prescript of 2 Thessalonians (1.1), Paul wrote this letter, along with his co-workers Silvanus and Timothy. Many New Testament scholars are of the opinion that the ascription to Paul is reliable (see, e.g., Rigaux 1956:124-52; Jewett 1986:3-18; Wanamaker 1990:17-28; cf. the survey in Trilling 1987). In their view, Paul must have written 2 Thessalonians shortly after 1 Thessalonians, mainly to remove the false idea ‘that the day of the Lord has come’, an idea that had arisen ‘either by a prophetic utterance or by a word or by a letter purporting to be from us’ (2.2). Two reasons are advanced for assuming a brief interval of time between the two letters. First, in both letters Silvanus is mentioned as co-sender (1 Thess. 1.1; 2 Thess. 1.1) and, according to Acts, Silas (=Silvanus) was in Paul’s company only during the so-called second missionary journey (Acts 15.40-18.22). Secondly, there is a strong literary similarity between the two letters (it will be discussed below). That 2 Thessalonians was written after 1 Thessalonians (for a recent plea for the reverse sequence see Wanamaker 1990:37-45), is clear from 2 Thessalonians 2.15: in the reference to ‘the traditions which you have been taught by us, either by our word or by our letter’, the word ‘letter’ applies very well to 1 Thessalonians, which does not contain such a reference to earlier written correspondence. It is most improbable that ‘our letter’ here indicates 2 Thessalonians itself, because ‘our letter’ is parallel with ‘our word’, which refers to Paul’s oral preaching to the Thessalonians. If ‘our word’ is something that took place in the past, ‘our letter’ most probably also belongs to the past. Anyhow, 1 Thessalonians makes the impression of being the first

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2 Thessalonians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor’s Preface vi
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 2 - Thessalonians in English Translation 5
  • Part I 9
  • Chapter 1 11
  • Chapter 2 27
  • Chapter 3 44
  • Part 2 67
  • Chapter 4 69
  • Chapter 5 79
  • Chapter 6 96
  • Chapter 7 125
  • Conclusion - 2 Thessalonians and Paul 146
  • Bibliography 150
  • Index of Subjects 156
  • Index of References to Biblical and Other Ancient Literature 160
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