v1-5 - Paul requests that people pray for the following things:
That the Word of the Lord will spread rapidly;
That Paul and the other missionaries will be delivered from wicked people;
That God will direct the hearts of Christians into God's love.
v6-15 - As an apostle, Paul had the authority to command the Thessalonians. These commands remain normative for us today as well:
Keep away from people who claim to be Christians but who live blatantly hypocritical lives;
Work hard and earn your keep;
Mind your own business and never tire of doing what is good.
v16-18 - The letter ends with another beautiful benediction (words of blessing).
How do you think most people would finish this sentence:
God is the God of _________
There are certainly lots of good answers: other Bible passages list God as the God of 'heaven and earth,' 'Israel,' 'hope,' 'glory,' 'grace,' and many more.
Some of your skeptical friends might say that God is the God of anger or vindictiveness or spite or another negative attribute. They blame God for all of the bad things going on in their lives.
Today, concentrate on how God is described in the closing benediction of 2 Thessalonians:
May the Lord
Himself give you peace
at all times
and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.
May the Lord of peace
We've seen that God is described as the God of many things in the Bible, but 'peace' needs to be near the top of any list. Peace is the one thing all people want (although many people have a very poor understanding of what peace is).
Himself give you [His] peace
Paul uses this awkward grammatical construction to emphasize two things.
First, the peace God gives you is His own peace. You share in His very nature, not some watered down facsimile.
Second, although this peace often comes through an intermediary (a friend, pastor, etc), God Himself gives you His own peace.
at all times and in every way.
You receive this peace through the means of grace (reading scripture or hearing it proclaimed), but then this peace can be experienced continually and in all things.
The Lord [be/is] with all of you.
The original Greek sentence doesn't have a verb. The translators added one (be) so that it fits in the context of this benediction. It makes sense to understand that Paul was wishing/praying that God will be with us.
But it also makes sense to use the verb is, which makes this final sentence a reminder that God goes with you everywhere you go.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Proverbs 12:11 & 14 (NIV)
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— As he begins closing down this letter, what does Paul pray for the Thessalonians? (See verse 16.)
If Satan wrote down some guidelines and commands to get people to do just the opposite of what this chapter teaches, how do you think his message might be worded?
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the God of peace;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will work hard for the Lord and never tire of doing what is good.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: