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2 Thessalonians 3

Praying and Active
2 Thessalonians 3

Teaching Moments

1. The title represents the two major themes of this last chapter of 2 Thessalonians in addition to the closing benediction (verses 16-18). Paul calls the church to prayer (verses 1-5), and he calls the church to remain active as they wait for the Lordís return (verses 6-15).

2. Paul asks the church to pray for his ministry. In particular, that they pray for two items. First, that they pray that the message of the Lord will spread rapidly just as it did among the Thessalonians. They are praying for the success of Paulís missionary journeys. Second, that they pray for Paulís safety, particularly as he is attacked by evil men (since not everyone believes his message). Thus, Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for him, just as he prays for them, that is, protection against the Evil One (Satan).

3. Paul also prays for the Thessalonians (verse 5). If the Thessalonians are to remain faithful, they need their hearts firmly rooted in Godís love and Christís endurance. Just as God loved them and Christ persevered for them, so the Thessalonians need to fully immerse themselves in Godís work for them. Their hearts need rootage in Godís character and work.

4. Paul prays with confidence (verses 3-4). His confidence is rooted in the faithfulness of the Lord. God will be active within the church. God will strengthen and protect his church. Satan is making his attempts, but God is faithful. His confidence is also located in the good hearts of the Thessalonians as well. He is confident that they will continue to remain faithful just as God himself is faithful.

5. The Thessalonian had a particular problem with people who lived idle lives because they believed the coming of the Lord was near. What do you do with idle people?

6. Paul offers his own life as a model for working for a living. Paul left an example. People should labor for their living and not burden others. Indeed, they should work to be able to share with others rather than burden them. The motive for work is not just self-oriented, but other-oriented (cf. Ephesians 4:28).

7. Idleness breeds problemsógossips, busybodies, etc. Such people should not even be allowed to eat. The church should help people in their laziness or people who seek to burden the church out of their own selfishness. [We must be careful not to apply this to all the poor. Most poor are not lazy or seek help for purely selfish motives. This is a specialized problem here, but the principle is applicable where people seek to burden the church out of their own selfishness and unwillingness to work.]

8. Paul even thinks this problem must be disciplined. The discipline (verses 6, 14) must be carried out in a brotherly way (v.15), but it must be implemented because this is a rebellious spirit.

9. ďNever tire of doing what is right.Ē (verse 13). An important principle that should pervade the people of God and counteracts idleness. This is the proper perspective of Godís people. They should be proactive rather than passive (idle). They should seek to give blessing rather than seek to receive blessings. They should be doers rather than consumers.

10. Note Paulís final prayer (verse 16). Peace in all times and in every wayóthis is what the people of God need, especially under Satanic attack. It is our prayer for Godís people today. It is, however, something only God can supply.

11. Paul calls attention to his own signature in verse 17 because of the problem of forgeries circulating among the churches (cf. 2 Thess. 2:1-2).


1. What does Paul ask the Thessalonians to pray for? What does this say about the power of prayer? What sort of things does Paul expect God to do for him in response to these prayers?

2. What does Paul ask for the Thessalonians in prayer?

3. How does the encouragement offered in verses 3-5 help their prayers? How are Godís love and Christís endurance an encouragement?

4. What do you think we should ask others to pray for regarding the Cordova Community Church? What is our list of prayer requests that parallels verses 1-5 and verse 16? [prayer for evangelism, prayer for protection against enemies, prayer for the health of the church, prayer for encouragement, prayer for peace]

5. Why is Paul opposed to idleness? What is the basic problem with idleness?

6. What is the importance of Paulís modeling? What does this say about leadership in a church?

7. Apply this text to the issue of consumerism and churches. Are church goers consumers or are they doers? Are we active or passive? ďNever tire of doing what is right.Ē What kind of perspective does this text give us about ďchurch workĒ?

8. Why is discipline so difficult? Who is to be disciplined in this text? Why are they disciplined? Why is discipline important? Why is it so often either abused or neglected?


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