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Who wrote the book of 2 Thessalonians? Who was the author of 2 Thessalonians?

author of 2 Thessalonians

Paul is the author of 2 Thessalonians, written shortly after his first letter to the Thessalonian church. Similar to the first letter, Silas and Timothy were Paul’s companions at the time of writing (2 Thessalonians 1:1). Paul visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1–9), following which he wrote the initial letter to encourage the new church. The second letter quickly followed, prompted by confusion regarding the timing of the day of the Lord. Some false teachers had instilled fear among the believers, alleging that the day of the Lord had already commenced (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Paul’s purpose was to correct their thinking and allay their fears.

Due to its purpose, 2 Thessalonians is succinct in its focus on eschatology. Paul elucidates that the day of the Lord will come after the “man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), a reference to the Antichrist. This revelation will occur amidst a great rebellion. Though lawlessness was already evident in Paul’s day, as it is now, someone is restraining the revelation of the man of lawlessness until the proper time. While the identity of the restrainer has sparked debate, He is likely the Holy Spirit, whose influence through the church impedes the forces behind the Antichrist from taking control. Following the rapture, nothing will hinder the Antichrist from stepping to the fore and wreaking havoc.

In addition to the customary salutation, Paul underscores the authenticity of 2 Thessalonians with his own handwriting (2 Thessalonians 3:17). Apparently, the false teachers had attempted to fabricate a letter from Paul and his companions (2:2), prompting Paul’s emphasis. The signature provides a second internal evidence of Pauline authorship. Moreover, 2 Thessalonians boasts strong external evidence, with direct references from the early church fathers. It also appears in Marcion’s canon and the Muratorian Fragment.

Despite the robust internal and external evidence, disputes regarding the Pauline authorship of 2 Thessalonians persist, largely due to perceived dissimilarities with its predecessor. A common objection contends that 1 Thessalonians portrays the end times as a soon-to-occur, unexpected event, but 2 Thessalonians emphasizes certain signs that must first occur. However, this objection is easily resolved. Paul simply emphasized different aspects of the same event. In 1 Thessalonians, he wrote on the rapture to encourage the struggling believers. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul’s target was alleviating the fears of believers who felt they had missed the rapture. It is also possible for an event to occur without warning, yet still have signs that indicate its imminency.

The evidence supporting the Pauline authorship of 2 Thessalonians undermines any objections critics might raise. The text is authentic, and Paul is its author.

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Who wrote the book of 2 Thessalonians? Who was the author of 2 Thessalonians?
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This page last updated: April 24, 2024