2 Thessalonians 2
New English Translation
The Day of the Lord
2 Now regarding the arrival[a] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him,[b] we ask you, brothers and sisters,[c] 2 not to be easily[d] shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us,[e] to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes[f] and the man of lawlessness[g] is revealed, the son of destruction.[h] 4 He[i] opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat[j] in God’s temple, displaying himself as God.[k] 5 Surely you recall[l] that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you. 6 And so[m] you know what holds him back,[n] so that he will be revealed in his own time. 7 For the hidden power of lawlessness[o] is already at work. However, the one who holds him back[p] will do so until he is taken out of the way, 8 and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord[q] will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out by the manifestation of his arrival. 9 The arrival of the lawless one[r] will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles[s] and signs and false wonders, 10 and with every kind of evil deception directed against[t] those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth[u] so as to be saved. 11 Consequently[v] God sends on them a deluding influence[w] so that they will believe what is false. 12 And so[x] all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.[y]
Call to Stand Firm
13 But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters[z] loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning[aa] for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 He called you to this salvation[ab] through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.[ac] 15 Therefore, brothers and sisters,[ad] stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter.[ae] 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you[af] in every good thing you do or say.[ag]
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1 tn Or perhaps “return” (cf. CEV).
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1 tn Grk “our gathering with him.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:3.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:2 tn Or “quickly, soon.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:2 tn Grk “as through us.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tn Grk “for unless the rebellion comes first.” The clause about “the day” is understood from v. 2.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tc Most mss (A D F G Ψ 1175 1241 1505 M al lat sy) read ἁμαρτίας (hamartias, “of sin”) here, but several significant mss (א B 0278 6 81 1739 1881 2464 al co) read ἀνομίας (anomias, “of lawlessness”). Although external support for ἁμαρτίας is broader, the generally earlier and better witnesses are on the side of ἀνομίας. Internally, since ἁμαρτία (hamartia, “sin”) occurs nearly ten times as often as ἀνομία (anomia, “lawlessness”) in the corpus Paulinum, scribes would be expected to change the text to the more familiar term. At the same time, the mention of ἀνομία in v. 7 and ὁ ἄνομος (ho anomos, “the lawless one”) in v. 8, both of which look back to v. 3, may have prompted scribes to change the text toward ἀνομίας. The internal evidence is thus fairly evenly balanced. Although a decision is difficult, ἀνομίας has slightly greater probability of authenticity than ἁμαρτίας.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3 tn Or “the one destined for destruction.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tn Grk “the one who opposes,” describing the figure in v. 3. A new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the personal pronoun (“he”) and translating the participle ἀντικείμενος (antikeimenos) as a finite verb.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:4 sn Allusions to Isa 14:13-14; Dan 11:36; Ezek 28:2-9 respectively.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:4 tn Grk “that he is God.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:5 tn Grk “You do remember, don’t you?”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:6 tn Grk “and now,” but this shows the logical result of his previous teaching.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:6 tn Grk “the thing that restrains.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:7 tn Grk “the mystery of lawlessness.” In Paul “mystery” often means “revealed truth, something formerly hidden but now made widely known,” but that does not make sense with the verb of this clause (“to be at work, to be active”).
- 2 Thessalonians 2:7 tn Grk “the one who restrains.” This gives a puzzling contrast to the impersonal phrase in v. 6 (“the thing that restrains”). The restraint can be spoken of as a force or as a person. Some have taken this to mean the Roman Empire in particular or human government in general, since these are forces that can also be seen embodied in a person, the emperor or governing head. But apocalyptic texts like Revelation and Daniel portray human government of the end times as under Satanic control, not holding back his influence. Also the power to hold back Satanic forces can only come from God. So others understand this restraint to be some force from God: the preaching of the gospel or the working of the Holy Spirit through God’s people.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:8 tc ‡ Several significant witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western traditions, as well as many other witnesses, read ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iēsous, “Jesus”) after κύριος (kurios, “Lord”; so א A D* F G Lc P Ψ 0278 33 81 104 365 1241 2464 latt sy co). But there is sufficient evidence in the Alexandrian tradition for the shorter reading (B 1739 1881), supported by the Byzantine text, Irenaeus, and other witnesses (D2vid 630 1175 1505). Although it is possible that scribes overlooked ᾿Ιησοῦς if the two nomina sacra occurred together (kMsiMs), since “the Lord Jesus” is a frequent enough appellation, it looks to be a motivated reading. NA28 places ᾿Ιησοῦς in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:9 tn Grk “whose coming,” referring to the lawless one. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek construction, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:9 tn Grk “every miracle.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tn Grk “deception for/toward.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:10 tn Grk “they did not accept the love of the truth.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11 tn Grk “and for this reason.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11 tn Grk “a working of error.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:12 tn Grk “that.” A new sentence was started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:12 tn Grk “be judged,” but in this context the term clearly refers to a judgment of condemnation (BDAG 568 s.v. κρίνω 5.b.α; cf. KJV “that they all might be damned”). CEV views the condemnation as punishment (“will be punished”).
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:3.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13 tc ‡ Several mss (B F G P 0278 33 81 323 1505 1739 1881 al bo) read ἀπαρχήν (aparchēn, “as a firstfruit”; i.e., as the first converts) instead of ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς (ap’ archēs, “from the beginning,” found in א D K L Ψ 1175 1241 M it sa), but this seems more likely to be a change by scribes who thought of the early churches in general in this way. But Paul would not be likely to call the Thessalonians “the firstfruits” among his converts. Further, ἀπαρχή (aparchē, “firstfruit”) is a well-worn term in Paul’s letters (Rom 8:23; 11:16; 16:5; 1 Cor 15:20, 23; 16:15), while ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς occurs nowhere else in Paul. Scribes might be expected to change the text to the more familiar term. Nevertheless, a decision is difficult (see arguments for ἀπαρχήν in TCGNT 568), and ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς must be preferred only slightly.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:14 tn Grk “to which,” referring to the main idea of v. 13.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:14 sn That you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. For Paul the ultimate stage of salvation is glorification (Rom 8:30).
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:3.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15 tn Grk “that you were taught whether by word or by letter of ours.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:17 tn Grk simply “strengthen,” with the object understood from the preceding.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:17 tn Grk “every good work and word.”