Essay on 2 Thessalonians vs. 1 Thessalonians

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2 Thessalonians was written to a group of Christians who were enduring persecutions and trials because of their faith. It was written to assure the Thessalonians that they would be given relief of all their suffering when Christ returned, if they remained faithful. Also, After receiving 1 Thessalonians, many members of the church believed that the Lord’s return would occur immediately so they “quit their jobs” and “those who kept their jobs were having to feed those who had not”(Ehrman, 268). Even more, it was written to underline that “the end was not yet to come”(Ehrman, 267). 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written bearing the name of the apostle, Paul. Even though 1 Thessalonians is an undisputed work of Paul, scholars are divided on the authenticity of authorship of 2 Thessalonians. Many scholars believe that 2 Thessalonians is a pseudepigrapha. However, its acceptance into the canon, the eschatological theme, and its similarity in context to 1 Thessalonians supports authenticity of the Pauline authorship.

2 Thessalonians’ installation in the Marcion’s canon and the Muratorian canon confirms its authenticity because this shows that it was fully accepted as a work of Paul as early as c.150. In order for a book to be considered as an authoritative sacred scripture, it has to have apostolic authority and origin, sound doctrine, and wide usage which means that 2 Thessalonians was believed to have derived from the apostle Paul. It also means that the letter was in heavy circulation among the masses in the early periods. Its wide usage is evident because it is mentioned by name by Irenaeus and known by Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Polycarp” (Foster,160). The utilization of 2 Thessalonians in early Christian literature further confir...

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...salonians is upheld by its universal acceptance, its purpose of clarification of the eschatology of Paul, and its similarities to an undisputed Pauline epistle. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians shortly after 1 Thessalonians to address to the social situations that had begun after he wrote the first epistle. He wrote it to further clarify on what was said on the matter of the Lord’s return. The signature at the end of 2 Thessalonians is an overwhelming piece of evidence that Paul wrote the letter. He says, “ I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write”(3:17). This type of signature is also seen in Galatians and Corinthians. It shows his despair and fear that the forgeries in circulation could cause the faith of the Thessalonians to diminish. This epistle was not written by an imitator but by Paul himself.

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