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These are "needs-based" epistles (personal letters) to a particular church.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:4
- Do we please men, or not?
- 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 5:23
- Did Paul expect Jesus to return soon?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- This verse tells us to pray "without ceasing." What does this mean? as Marvin Wilsom explains in Our Father Abraham [156ff], this instruction reflects the Jewish perception that "everything is theological." All in life was sacred. Jewish prayers were not long explications as in our churches but were short, sentence-length prayers that punctuated the entire day. Prayers were said upon hearing good or bad news; upon smelling plants, when eating or drinking (in other words, "saying grace" was all day); there is even a record of a prayer thanking God that one is able to urinate. As a comparison, Wilson points to the line in The Fiddler on the Roof in which a rabbi is asked if there is a blessing for a sewing machine. Does this seems trite? Only because we are now used to praying as we do. In a true expression, such praying reflects the Jewish perception that all is of God and that all is owed to God.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:9
- Isn't this contradictory to Matthew 28:18, where Jesus says, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth? No -- "all power" in these passages means the ability to do certain supernatural feats. The "lawless one" will be allowed to do when he/she/it comes. Just because two people have the same quality/property does not mean they are the same, nor does the use "all power" by two persons mean the usage is mutually exclusive. Moreover, two different Greek words are in use: exousia in Matthew, which has the connotation of authority, and dunamis in 2 Thess., which merely refers to miracle-working power.
Well, how about Ps. 136:9, which says "To him who alone doeth great wonders..."? The adjective "great" -- not used in 2 Thess. -- makes all the difference. Others can do smaller wonders. Only God does great ones. (Note that the list following in Psalms is of miracles of creation of the earth and heavens.)
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10
- This we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. One Skeptic puts this against Gospel passages which say not to worry about the future. See here for relevant information. The Gospel passages are talking about not worrying because God will provide the essential needs of each person. It is not talking about the human MEANS of how to obtain food. Just because God grows apples on the tree does not mean that we don't have to go and pick it off of it so we can eat it. Note that Jesus' admonition to take "no thought" uses the word merimnao, in the sense of "to be anxious about" This does not refer to thought in the sense of making practical plans.