Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Earlier New Testament Epistles"
Second Thessalonians

and Key Word Chart

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible


  1. INTRODUCTION 1:1-12

    1. Salutation 1:1-2

    2. Thanksgiving 1:3-10

      1. For their growth in faith 3a
        The first epistle is bearing fruit. It is not new truth we need so much as meditation on the old, that love and faith may expand.

      2. For their increase in love 3b

      3. For their patience in affliction (hope) 4-5
        Patient endurance is foreign to us and is a good sign of the new life.

        Parenthesis 6-10
        This concerns the judgment of God in relation to the coming of Christ.

        God's judgment is said to be "a righteous thing, " i.e., without partiality. This judgment is continued throughout the 70th Week and climaxed by the revealing of Christ, i.e., His return to earth.

        Put a parenthesis before the words "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed" in v.7, and conclude the parenthesis with the words "glory of his power" in v.9. This portion forms a parenthesis within the whole parenthesis of w. 6-10. (So mark it in your Bible for future clarity.)

        God gives "rest" to believers even now while trouble is going on, but particularly will He give "rest" when He recompenses wrath on His enemies.

        "Everlasting destruction" with 'asbestos' fire (Matthew 3:12, etc.)! It does not
        bring annihilation. "Destruction is not cessation of life, but wrong relation of life" (Gray).

    3. His prayer 1:11-12

      1. A threefold petition 11

        1. That they be counted worthy. Prove themselves to be true Christians by enduring.

        2. That God will fulfill "every desire of goodness. "

        3. That their work of faith might be fulfilled (completed).

      2. The goal of the petition 12
        "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified, " etc.

    "Day of Lord": Acts 2:20; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 6:17. In the O.T. it appears some thirty or forty times (e.g., Isaiah 2:12, 17; Amos 5:18). The prophets all warned that it would be a day of darkness and sorrow, not joy (Zepheniah 1:12). See note at close of 1 Thessalonians.

    1. Warning concerning the Day 2:l-3a
      Verse 2 means "Do not be troubled as though 'The Day of the Lord is now present.'" Reference is made to spurious letters that had been written. "Don't be troubled; for as long as the Church is on earth, the Day of the Lord cannot come. "Let no man deceive you. "

    2. Preceding events 2:3b-1

      1. The apostasy ("falling away") or The Departure 3b
        Attention has been drawn by Dr. E. Schuyler English and others (The Bible Today, May, 1950; Our Hope, June, 1950) to the fact that the Greek word is elsewhere translated "a departing" and may be so translated here. Tyndale so translated it. The King James version is the first English version to suggest that it means a falling away from true doctrine (i.e., apostasy). Dr. English thinks that since doctrine is not mentioned, we should accept the simple meaning of departing as referring to departing from the earth, i.e., the translation of the Church, as in 2:1, "our gathering together unto him"; cp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

      2. The revelation of the Man of Sin 3c-12

        1. His blasphemy 3c-5
          This is the apostasy. A denial of anything above man; pulling God down to man. It is not the deifying of man but the humanizing of God.

          He draws after him not only apostate Christendom but paganism. This is "the lawless one" of 1 John 2:18, the one of whom Christ said that he would come in his own name (Jn. 5:43), and whom they would receive. Daniel 11:36-37 makes him a Jew. He takes the place of the pagan, Jewish, and Christian God (1 Cor. 8:5-6; Dt. 6:4).

        2. His hindrance 6-7
          What is withholding the Man of Sin from being revealed before his time? It is the Holy Spirit of God in and through the Church. The Church is like salt--keeps things from rotting. When the Holy Spirit and the Church are removed from the earth, then the Man of Sin will be revealed.

        3. His doom 8
          Sudden, complete, by the Lord's return to the earth.

        4. His power 9-lOa
          Supernatural, subtle, and Satanic.

        5. His followers lOb-12
          v. 10b "received not" -- i.e., the tense is, they did not receive the love of the truth (gospel) in this age while they had the opportunity. Those who had the chance to receive the truth, and did not, shall come under strong delusion and believe the lie of the Anti-Christ.

          Judicial blindness follows (cp. Rom. 1:28). If the Cross won't move them, judgment won't either -- nothing will (cp. Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9,11).

SPECIAL NOTE: Order of Events (comparing this passage with other Scripture)

  1. Mystery of Iniquity already working in Paul's day (beginning of the Apostasy) v.7

  2. The Rapture (Holy Spirit--the Hinderer--taken out of the world and Church with Him); possibly w.7b and 3(?); certainly 1 Thes. 4:16-17.

  3. The Manifestation of the Man of Sin vv. 3b, 8

  4. The Apostasy with judicial blindness (they believe the lie of Anti-Christ, vv.4, 11)

  5. The Return of Christ to earth and destruction of Man of Sin w. 8-9

    "Yes, the Day of the Lord is coming, but you need not worry; you have the assurance of deliverance (by being caught up from earth at the Rapture).

    1. Reason for this assurance 2:13-14

      1. Their place in the Lord 13a In His Heart "Loved of the Lord, " centered in their Lord.

      2. Their choice by Him 13b-14a In His Will
        God's choice becomes effective through the Spirit's working, using the Word. "Sanctification of the Spirit" (setting apart by Spirit) is the Godward aspect, and "belief in the truth" is the manward aspect of salvation.

        Together they bring about the new birth, etc. (See chart at end of this syllabus.)

        The word 'chosen' is used in many aspects:
        Chosen to salvation 13
        to be holy Ephesians 1:4
        to service 1 Peter 2:9
        to bear fruit John 15:16
        to be a good soldier 2 Timothy 2:4

      3. Their future in Him 14b In His Plan (of Future Glory) His eternal purpose (Romans 8:29-30)


    2. Enjoyment of this assurance 2:15
      "Stand fast": put out your anchor, do not be moved from your moorings.
      "Hold the traditions": traditions mean "instructions, " something handed on. Cp. Jude, "the faith once delivered." We heard the gospel from someone else and were saved, so we should pass it on to others so that they might be saved.

    3. Prayer for them' 2:16-17
      They need the Lord Himself, not only knowledge of His Word and work. We have:
      a good hope in v. 16 ..... Anticipation
      a living hope (1 Peter 1:4) . . . Assurance
      a happy hope (Titus 2:13) ... Joy


    1. Two requests for prayer 3:1-2

    2. Exhortation to obedience 3:3-4

    3. Exhortation to patience 3:5
      Hiding place: God, the love of God, and the patient waiting for Christ

    4. Exhortation to orderliness 3:6-15
      "Withdraw": "shrink from." The particular disorderliness here is their refusal to work while waiting for the Lord. Meddling with other people's affairs, making themselves a nuisance and a burden (v. 11).

      Paul had given them an example, vv.7-10. Let everyone work, vv. 12-131 If anyone refuses, dis-fellowship him, vv. 14-15.

  3. CONCLUSION 3:16-18

    1. An all-inclusive prayer 16

    2. The answer to forgers 17 (announced plan for future letters' identification)

    3. The benediction 18

Special Note on New Testament Use of the Key Words:


  ROMANS 8:29-30 EPHESIANS 1:4-14 1 PETER 1:2, 4 2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-14
1. "God ... foreknew ("before foundation of world," 4) "Foreknowledge" (2) ("from the beginning" 13)
2.   "Chosen in Him" (4) "Elect" (2) "Chosen" (13)
3. "Predestined (29), No. 3 assures No. 6 "Predestined" (5) ("Kept by power of God" 5) ("to obtaining of glory" 14)
4. "Called (30)
     a. Born of Spirit (wind)
          John 3:5; 6:44
     b.  Born of Word (water)
          John 3:5; 153; 13:10
          Timothy 3:5; Romans 10:17
a. "The Holy Spirit (13)
(i.e., through whom they believed)
b.  "heard ... trusted Word of truth" (13)
a.  "through sanctification of Spirit" (2)
b.  "unto obedience"
(i.e., faith in Word)
(2 and 22-23)
"Called" (14)
a.  "through sanctification of Spirit" (13)
5. "Justified" (29; by blood 5:9) "Redeemed" (7; through His blood "Sprinkling of blood" (2) "salvation" (13)
6. "Glorified" ... "conformed to image of Son: (29-30)
(cp. "co-heirs with Christ," 17)
"adopted" = placed as sons (5)
"inheritance ... glory" (11-12)
"inheritance undefiled" (4) "called to ... glory" (14)



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