1. Greeting: 2Th 1:1,2
2. Thanksgiving and prayer for the Thessalonians: 2Th 1:3-12
a) Paul's thanksgiving: 2Th 1:3-5
b) Divine judgment: 2Th 1:6-10
c) Paul's prayer for their future acceptance: 2Th
3. The Man of Sin destroyed by Christ at His Coming: 2Th
a) Warning against false claims: 2Th 2:1,2
b) The Man of Sin revealed: 2Th 2:3-9
c) His followers deceived: 2Th 2:10-12
4. Thanksgiving and encouragement: 2Th 2:13-17
a) Paul's thanksgiving: 2Th 2:13,14
b) Paul's encouragement: 2Th 2:15
c) Paul's prayer for their strengthening: 2Th
5. Prayerful preparation for the work: 2Th 3:1-5
a) Paul's request for prayer: 2Th 3:1,2
b) Paul's confidence in Christ: 2Th 3:3-5
6. Warnings against idleness: 2Th 3:6-15
a) Paul's previous example: 2Th 3:6-10
b) Additional instruction: 2Th 3:11-13
c) Discipline: 2Th 3:14,15
7. Conclusion: 2Th 3:16-18
See Lesson, Paul the man.
See Lesson, Paul's ecclesial letters.
There are very great similarities between the two Thessalonian
letters. The second letter, written only a few months or perhaps as much as a
year after the first, repeats a number of the main exhortational points of the
first letter, such as the necessity of work and a means of avoiding the perils
of idleness. In both letters there is thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonians'
faith and love, even in the midst of persecution.
One outstanding feature distinguishes the second letter from
the first: the detailed section about the Man of Lawlessness (2Th 2:1-12). This
was necessary as a corrective for those who so took to heart Paul's statements
about the nearness of Christ's coming that they began to neglect their family
and personal responsibilities. While the return of Christ could still be
expected and longed for, there were other things that must happen first. Thus
the second letter would, to some extent, modify the false impression left in
some more excitable minds by the first.