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2 Thessalonians 2:1-12: An Analysis by Nathaniel Parks
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Before we begin our journey into 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, we should take a look at the book of 2 Thessalonians as a whole. The authorship of 2 Thessalonians is often disputed by scholars. Some believe that the authorship is genuine; that Paul, Sivanus, and Timothy truly au- thored the book, while other believe that it was authored by someone under the pseudonym of Paul. 1 This would classify the letter as Deutero-Pauline if the latter statement were true. If it is indeed Deutero-Pauline, the letter would have most likely been written by one of Paul’s disci- ples, possibly to honor his name. 2 One rather weak argument for the letter being Deutero-Pauline is that 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians are simply too much alike to have been written by the same author. They start the same way, with 2 Thessalonians’ greeting being about nine words longer. 3 The argument is made that none of the other Pauline books share so many phrases in common, leading us to believe that someone wrote the books while using Paul’s other books as a source. 4 If Paul and his cohorts did write this book, however, it would have been shortly after 1 Thessalonians had been written, which would explain such similarities in language. Another the- ory backing the pseudonymous authorship of this book revolves around the idea that the lan- guage is very similar to that of the Pastoral Epistles. The Pastoral Epistles are three books (1,2 Timothy, Titus) which claim to be written by Paul, but most scholars would agree are not and are written much later. 5 The final argument is that the apocalyptic nature of the book is too similar to that of Revelations, which we know to have been written towards the end of the first century, af- Cory, Catherine A.. "The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians." In A voyage through the New Testament , 308-314. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. 2 Cory, 308-314 3 Cory, 308-314 4 Cory, 308-314 5 Cory, 308-314
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ter Paul’s death. 6 Now that we have some background on the book of 2 Thessalonians, let’s dive into our excerpt. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is a very interesting passage. What makes it so, is how out of place it seems compared to the rest of the book. While both chapters one and three have a very positive message, where Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (Paul for the sake of simplicity) encourage the Church; chapter two takes on a much darker tone. It begins similarly to the other two chap- ters, encouraging the members of the church to ignore the false teachings and ideas about the coming of Christ that they have heard. This mimes the encouraging tone of the other two pas- sages; however, the tone changes drastically once the authors begin talking about “The Man of Lawlessness.” The Man of Lawlessness’s revelation is a prerequisite, according to the authors, for the coming of Christ. Only once the lawless one is revealed and the “rebellion” has happened, can Christ return. The passage then goes on to discuss what will happen when Christ returns, both to the Man of Lawlessness and the people who have turned their eyes from the truth of God.
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