Reflections on the Greek Text


2 Thess. 1:1-12


Having introduced the topic of the second coming in chapter 4, Paul now gives a more detailed explanation of the second coming. Although Paul does give knowledge, he doesn't give the knowledge for knowledge sake alone. Rather his purpose in discussing the second coming is to motivate them to Christ-like living.


Verse 5

The Greek text highlights (1) that our suffering is part of God's righteous judgment and (2) that Paul is saying the PURPOSE of our suffering is that we might be considered worthy of God's kingdom. Many times when we suffer, we wonder what is wrong with God or with the moral universe.
Paul first says that it would be actually WRONG for Christians NOT to suffer. If we did not suffer, then something WOULD be wrong with the moral universe. If the kingdom of God was purchased with the sufferings of Christ, then surely we who enter that kingdom should suffer. Otherwise, there would be a tremendous disconnect between the kingdom and its inhabitants.
Second, suffering doesn't just "happen" to believers. God has a purpose in our sufferings. Our sufferings are always to produce in us the image of Christ. Other side purposes may be at work; however, this is the primary purpose.

Verse 7

Word order shows us that Paul is emphasizing the 2 words "us" and "rest." To US who are being afflicted and suffering great tribulation, God has NOT forgotten us. Rather He has for us in the future--REST. Our goal in the meantime is to be faithful to Him.

Verse 8

The wrath non-Christians face is not simply "fire" (Greek word "pur" pron. pure), but "fire of flame" ("en puri phlogos" pron. as written). A horrible destiny awaits those who reject God and the gospel of Jesus.

Verse 9

The unbelievers are not simply cast away from God's presence. The Greek says that they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the "face" ("prosopon" pron. pras-O-pawn) of the Lord. Seeing the fact of God according to John is the ultimate goal of all creation (same word for "face" in Rev. 22:4).

Verse 10

Most of the times the NT speaks of believing in the present tense, that is, people are to keep on believing. In this verse Paul speaks of it in the past (aorist) tense. He goes back to the first time that we believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior. That past moment in time which set the course for the rest of our life qualifies us to enter into the glory of God at the time of Christ's return.

Verse 12

By using the personal pron for "you" ("humeis" pron. hew-MICE), Paul is assuring us that all Christians ("you") will be glorified in Christ when He returns.