Study Guide

1-2 Thessalonians Good vs. Evil

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Good vs. Evil

For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, NRSV)

For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

Paul assures the good people of Thessalonica that he and his friends haven't come to them with bad intentions. That's probably a rumor some wicked and evil folks have been spreading, but it is totally not true. Take that, evil folks.

You suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, NRSV)

Ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins away: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, KJV)

Whoa. Paul may be Jewish, but he doesn't have much love for the Jewish people here. He accuses them of killing Jesus and claims that God will have his revenge.

We wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. (1 Thessalonians 2:18, NRSV)

We would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18, KJV)

Paul's vacation plans were foiled by Satan! (Seriously, Paul? Over dramatic much?) We didn't know the Prince of Darkness was so skilled at ruining people's travel plans…

See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. (1 Thessalonians 5:15, NRSV)

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:15, KJV)

Awww. This is giving us the warm fuzzies. But there's a reason for it: Paul would probably tell you to leave the revenge for God. He's pretty good at it.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NRSV)

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, KJV)

This one is a little contradictory: don't try to stop the Spirit of God and the prophets from working, but also test everything. Well, how will the Thessalonians know which stuff is from God and which stuff is evil? Oh, right…Paul will tell them.

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, NRSV)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, KJV)

According to Paul, Christians don't need to worry about smacking down all the evil people in the world who are making them suffer. Jesus will do their dirty work for him.

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, NRSV)

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, KJV)

If God's word spreads all over the world, evil is done for. Just one question: if God can protect Christians from the evil one, why can't he just get rid of him? Hmmm.

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God[…] The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-12, NRSV)

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God[…] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-12, KJV)

Ooo, the Man of Sin. This guy is bad news. He raises himself up above God (a big no-no) and is pretty much in league with Satan. Doesn't get more terrible than that. Even God gets in on a little evil action here. Those who don't see his wickedness get bewitched by God into thinking the Man of Sin is great. So which came first? The unbelief or the God that caused this unbelief?

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