The Second to the Thessalonians 1:1-12

1  Paul, Sil·vaʹnus, and Timothy,+ to the congregation of the Thes·sa·loʹni·ans in union with God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:  May you have undeserved kindness and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are obligated always to give thanks to God for you, brothers. This is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of each and every one of you is increasing toward one another.+  As a result we ourselves take pride in you+ among the congregations of God because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the hardships that you are suffering.*+  This is a proof of the righteous judgment of God, leading to your being counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are indeed suffering.+  This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for you.+  But you who suffer tribulation will be given relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus+ from heaven with his powerful angels+  in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance on those who do not know God+ and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.+  These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction+ from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength, 10  at the time when he comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder among all those who exercised faith, because the witness we gave met with faith among you.+ 11  To that very end we always pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling+ and with his power perform completely all the good that he pleases and every work of faith. 12  This is so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in union with him, according to the undeserved kindness of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Or “enduring.”

Study Notes

The First to the Corinthians: Titles like this were apparently not part of the original text. Ancient manuscripts show that they were added later, doubtless to make it easier to identify the letters. The papyrus codex known as P46 shows that scribes identified Bible books by titles. That codex is the earliest known collection of Paul’s letters, often dated to about the year 200 C.E. It contains nine of his letters. At the beginning of Paul’s first inspired letter to the Corinthians, this codex has a title that reads Pros Ko·rinʹthi·ous A (“Toward [or, “To”] Corinthians 1”). (See Media Gallery, “Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.”) Other early manuscripts, such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century C.E., contain the same title. In these manuscripts, the title appears both at the beginning of the letter and at the end.

The Second to the Thessalonians: Titles such as this were apparently not part of the original text. Ancient manuscripts show that the titles were added later, doubtless to make it easier to identify the books.​—See study note on 1Co Title.

Silvanus: This coworker is also mentioned by Paul at 1Th 1:1 and 2Th 1:1 and by Peter at 1Pe 5:12. In the book of Acts, he is called Silas. Luke’s account shows that he was a leading member of the first-century Christian congregation in Jerusalem, a prophet, and a companion of Paul’s on his second missionary journey. Silvanus was apparently a Roman citizen, which may explain why his Roman name is used here.​—Ac 15:22, 27, 40; 16:19, 37; 17:14; 18:5.

Silvanus: See study note on 2Co 1:19.

to the congregation of the Thessalonians: Like Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, this letter is addressed “to the congregation” in general. This differs from his letters to Timothy or Titus, which were addressed to individual overseers, and from the letter to the Philippians, which specifically mentions the congregation overseers and the ministerial servants.​—Php 1:1.

is growing exceedingly: At the beginning of his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul mentions their faith and love. (1Th 1:3) Here he commends them because of the remarkable growth of these qualities in them. The term he uses (hy·pe·rau·xaʹno) is related to a word that was often used regarding the growth of plants. (Mt 6:28; Lu 13:19) Paul adds the Greek prefix hy·perʹ (meaning “over; beyond”) for emphasis. (Compare Eph 3:20, “superabundantly beyond.”) So here the expression could literally be rendered “is having supergrowth.”​—Kingdom Interlinear.

trials: Or “troubles; tribulation.” The Greek word used here basically means distress, affliction, or suffering resulting from the pressures of circumstances. It is often used with reference to the affliction associated with persecution. (Mt 24:9; Ac 11:19; 20:23; 2Co 1:8; Heb 10:33; Re 1:9) The tribulation might include imprisonment and death as a result of a course of integrity. (Re 2:10) However, other circumstances, such as famine (Ac 7:11), poverty, and adversities common to orphans and widows (Jas 1:27), even family life and marriage, may bring varying degrees of “tribulation.”​—1Co 7:28.

hardships: Or “tribulations.”​—See study note on 2Co 1:4.

the revelation: Or “the uncovering; the disclosure.” The Greek term a·po·kaʹly·psis is here used in the expression “the revelation of the Lord Jesus.” He will be revealed as King and Judge, empowered to reward and to punish. At the time of his “revelation,” he will reward his faithful followers, who have suffered tribulation, and he will execute vengeance on the ungodly.

their coming to know you: Or “their taking in knowledge of you; their continuing to know you.” The Greek verb gi·noʹsko basically means “to know,” and here the verb is used in the present tense to express continuous action. It may denote a process of “taking in knowledge about someone; getting to know someone; becoming better acquainted with someone.” It may also include the thought of making an ongoing effort to get better acquainted with someone who is already known. In this context, it refers to a deepening personal relationship with God brought about by ever-increasing knowledge of God and Christ and a growing trust in them. Clearly, this necessitates more than knowing who a person is or knowing his name. It would also involve knowing what that person likes and dislikes and knowing his values and standards.​—1Jo 2:3; 4:8.

you have come to know God: Many of the Galatian Christians had “come to know God” through Paul’s preaching. The verb rendered “come to know” and “be known” in this verse may denote a favorable relationship between the person and the one he knows. (1Co 8:3; 2Ti 2:19) So “to know God” is not just a matter of knowing basic facts about God. It involves cultivating a personal relationship with him.​—See study note on Joh 17:3.

days for meting out justice: Or “days of vengeance,” that is, divine vengeance and judgment. On an earlier occasion, in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus quoted part of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 61:1, 2) and applied it to himself, but the record does not say that he quoted the part concerning “the day of vengeance of our God.” (Lu 4:16-21) However, on this occasion, Jesus did proclaim “days of vengeance,” foretelling that Jerusalem would be surrounded by encamped armies. God’s vengeance was among the things written in the Hebrew Scriptures. The same Greek word here rendered “meting out justice” or “vengeance” occurs in the Septuagint at De 32:35; Jer 46:10 (26:10, LXX); and Hos 9:7. In these scriptures, the corresponding Hebrew terms are rendered “vengeance” or “reckoning.”

or, rather, have come to be known by God: Using this wording, Paul shows that to “come to know God,” a person must also be recognized as known, or approved, by Him. One lexicon defines the Greek word for “to know; be known” as to “have a personal relationship involving recognition of another’s identity or value.” To enjoy such favorable recognition from God, a person must conduct himself in a way that is in harmony with God’s personality, ways, and dealings.

in a flaming fire: The Scriptures often use “fire” in a figurative sense, as in this verse. In Bible times, fire was the most thorough means of destruction. (De 13:16; Jos 6:24) On occasion, Jesus used the term “fire” in an illustrative way to denote the complete destruction of the wicked.​—Mt 13:40-42, 49, 50; compare Isa 66:15, 24; Mt 25:41.

vengeance: That is, divine vengeance and judgment. Paul says that “it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation” for the Christians. (2Th 1:6) The Greek word rendered “vengeance” (ek·diʹke·sis) literally means “from justice,” suggesting that the action represents justice achieved. It has also been rendered “meting out justice” or simply “justice.” (Lu 18:7, 8; 21:22 and study note) The Bible shows that God is ultimately responsible for bringing “vengeance” that will result in true justice. (De 32:35, 43; Ps 94:1; Ro 12:19; Heb 10:30) For the vengeance that Paul describes here, God has appointed the Lord Jesus Christ as Chief Executioner.

those who do not know God: Paul refers to those who willfully decide that they will not develop a relationship with Jehovah and become his friends. In contrast, those who “know God” do more than acknowledge that he exists; they have more than superficial knowledge of him. They take steps to develop a close friendship with him; they know his likes and dislikes. They love him and live by his standards. (1Jo 2:3, 4; 4:8) Those who truly know God have the honor of being “known by him” (1Co 8:3), which means having his approval.​—See study notes on Joh 17:3; Ga 4:9.

the good news about our Lord Jesus: This expression includes all that Jesus taught, as found in God’s Word. This good news is the basis on which all mankind will be judged. Those who accept and obey the good news will gain salvation; those who “do not obey the good news” will bring destruction on themselves.

everlasting destruction: The Bible indicates that some people will suffer everlasting destruction. For example, Jesus said that those who blaspheme the holy spirit are “guilty of everlasting sin” and will not be forgiven, “no, not in this system of things nor in that to come.” (Mr 3:28, 29; Mt 12:32) This apparently includes Judas, whom Jesus called “the son of destruction.” (Joh 17:12 and study note) Judas’ deliberate betrayal of the Son of God made him subject to everlasting destruction. Here Paul states that those who by choice “do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus” will experience “everlasting destruction.”​—2Th 1:8.

from before the Lord: Lit., “from the face of the Lord.” Although the words at 2Th 1:9 may allude to what is expressed at Isa 2:10, 19, 21, this is not a direct quotation from the Hebrew Scriptures. “The Lord” could here be referring either to Jehovah God or to Jesus. In a case like this, the New World Bible Translation Committee retained the rendering “Lord” so as not to overstep the bounds of a translator.​—See App. C1; compare study note on Ro 10:12.

Lord: The identity of the one referred to as “Lord” (Kyʹri·os) in this verse cannot be established with certainty from the context; nor have Bible scholars come to an agreement as to whether Paul meant the Lord Jesus Christ or the Lord Jehovah. Ro 10:9 clearly refers to Jesus Christ as Lord, and the quotation from Isa 28:16 found at Ro 10:11 applies to him as well. So if the “Lord” at Ro 10:12 is to be directly linked with “him” at Ro 10:11, the “Lord” referred to is Jesus Christ. On the other hand, at Ro 10:9, Paul speaks of exercising faith ‘in your heart’ that “God raised him up from the dead.” Furthermore, Ro 10:13, a quotation from Joe 2:32, states: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” Hence, if the “Lord” referred to at Ro 10:12 is the same as at Ro 10:13, Jehovah God is the “Lord” being referred to. The thought would then be the same as that expressed at Ro 3:29​—there is one God over both Jews and Gentiles. This is an example of how the New World Bible Translation Committee examined the context of each occurrence of the word Kyʹri·os (Lord) to determine where to restore the divine name. If the Hebrew Scripture background and the context provide no clear support for restoring the divine name, the committee retained the rendering “Lord” so as not to overstep the bounds of a translator, venturing into the field of interpretation.​—See App. C1.

the son of destruction: In this context, the expression refers to Judas Iscariot, whose deliberate betrayal of God’s Son made Judas subject to eternal destruction, one who was unworthy of a resurrection. The same expression is used at 2Th 2:3 with reference to “the man of lawlessness.” In the original Bible languages, the term “son(s) of” is sometimes used in a figurative sense about someone who pursues a certain course of conduct or who manifests a certain characteristic. Examples are such expressions as “sons of the Most High,” “sons of light and sons of day,” “sons of the Kingdom,” “sons of the wicked one,” “son of the Devil,” and “sons of disobedience.” (Lu 6:35; 1Th 5:5; Mt 13:38; Ac 13:10; Eph 2:2) In a similar way, the expression “son of” can be used to refer to the judgment or outcome that results from following a certain course or displaying a certain characteristic. At 2Sa 12:5, the expression rendered “deserves to die” is literally “is a son of death.” At Mt 23:15, the literal expression “a son of Gehenna” is used about someone who is deserving of eternal destruction, which was apparently what Jesus meant when he called Judas Iscariot “the son of destruction.”​—See study note on Mt 23:15 and Glossary, “Gehenna.”


Video Introduction to the Book of 2 Thessalonians
Video Introduction to the Book of 2 Thessalonians