I am challenged by the sensitive spirit in Paul. Not only did he have a rigorous schedule as he moved from place to place, preaching the Gospel, planting churches, revisiting those that were planted, but he also was receiving communications through a network of faithful workmen. As little as five or six months after he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians, he is compelled to write them again because of reports regarding their spiritual condition.
It seems that these new believers were going through persecution that carried over from Paul’s visit with them. They were also being misled about “the day of the Lord” by false teachers. This caused some to stop working and become idle and “busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11). This second letter was intended to correct their fears and get them back to work.
Paul’s teaching to correct these errors can be summed up by Chapter 2:15; “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
The meaning behind “stand firm” is that we are to “continue to accept the teaching you received at first” and do not be moved away from the truth of the Gospel. This is so important in our day. As a “master builder,” Paul made sure that he presented the gospel completely when he went to a place. There was no need of adding or taking away from what they believed. This idea is confirmed in the next phrase, “hold to the traditions that you were taught by us.” The word “traditions” was not referring to man-made practices, but to truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This direct approach to foundational issues was so they would be “comforted…and established…in every good work and word” (2:17). It is vital that we follow Paul’s method of establishing believers and not use ‘trends’ as the basis of shepherding the flock of God. It is His, not ours!
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