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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2

Introduction

THIS Epistle is nothing more than a supplement to the preceding, from which it appears that the Apostle had anxiously desired to visit Thessalonica, “to accomplish the things that were wanting to their faith.”—(Chap. 3:10). This was to be effected by a fuller exposition of the several points of Christian doctrine. Having been prevented from the accomplishment of this his anxious desire, he writes this Epistle to answer all the ends he proposed to himself by a personal visit. Before writing, however, a second time, he wishes to ascertain what effect the former Epistle had produced on them, and finding that some portions of it, particularly the part relating to the resurrection, had been misunderstood, and that his exhortation to the poor, to shun a life of idleness, and to refrain from undue curiosity, had been attended with no effect, he now writes to instruct them more fully, on those points. Certain false and erroneous notions respecting the near approach of the day of General Judgment, to which his own words (4:14–16 of the preceding Epistle) had given some colour of truth, had been industriously circulated among the people by the false teachers, who, in support of their own views, produced counterfeit Epistles of the Apostle, to the same effect. The consequence was, that many among the Thessalonians became quite unconcerned regarding their temporal interests, and the duties they owed society.

The Apostle employs the first chapter in pointing out the glory, which was one day securely treasured up for the faithful, and in denouncing the heavy vengeance of God, against their persecutors. The second chapter he employs in removing the false notions that were afloat respecting the near approach of the great day of judgment; and for this end, he minutely describes the character of Antichrist, whose coming must precede the day of judgment. The third chapter is chiefly employed in pointing out the necessity, on the part of the disorderly, of shunning idleness, and of devoting themselves to a life of labour.

TIME AND PLACE OF.—This is generally supposed to have been written a few months after the date of the preceding Epistle. The Greek subscriptions say, it was written from Athens. But, more probably, it was written from Corinth, where the Apostle remained for eighteen months, after leaving Athens.—(Acts, 18)








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