Patience with Faith, Hope, and Christ Pt I

Exegetical Study: 
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2 Thess continues Paul's discourse to the Thessalonians. Scholars have not determined the time span between the first and second letter. The structure of the second letter is similar to the first. Both letters contain an opening greeting, prayer-report, instruction on the Lord's coming, instruction for life in the church, and closing greeting. The similarities also indicate Paul's attempts to address issues within the church. The second letter reveals that specific issues from the first letter remained outstanding. Paul emphasizes the outstanding issues by using stronger language. In addition, the letter exhorts the Thessalonians in righteous behavior with the clarity of the Gospel.

 

Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians follows his previous Greco-Roman pattern, which includes an opening, prayer-report which includes thanksgiving for the Thessalonians. In the thanksgiving portion of the letter (2 Thess 1:3 – 4), Paul recognizes the Thessalonians' "patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance" and faith in the midst of enduring "persecution" and "distress". The term ὑπομονῆς translates as perseverance or patience. Perseverance occurs thirty-one times in the New Testament, which includes three times in the Thessalonians' letters. The other two cases, the term translates to steadfastness in relation to hope and Christ. The TDNT denotes ὑπομονῆς as an active force demonstrated and proved with a view to a final reward. The final reward occurs after clinging to the piety of life and work in spite of all opposition and temptation. Simply, the final reward signifies attaining salvation in Christ. The TDNT also denotes that in preserving to attain this final goal, God provides the needed power of resistance. Therefore, it is not by the believer's own power, but God himself. God demonstrates his power by imparting Christ. Therefore through salvation in Christ, believers are able to hold fast under their sufferings. Paul identifies this relationship in the letters to Thessalonians as he references patience with faith, hope, and Christ.