In this careful study of 1-2 Thessalonians, readers will find an introduction that sets the letters in context and surveys their general content, highlighting issues surrounding their occasion and purpose. Passage-by-passage commentary follows that seeks to explain what these letters mean to us today as well as what they meant for their original hearers. Students, pastors, Bible teachers and everyone who wants to understand Paul’s message for the church will benefit from this excellent resource.
“The main interpretive idea and theological emphases of the entire first epistle can be formulated as follows: Paul thanks God for the Thessalonians’ salvation, gives them further instruction to complete their faith and prays for this in order that they might please God by being holy and thus pass through the end-time judgment.” (Page 25)
“The word church, however, must also be understood against the background of the Greek Old Testament, where the word repeatedly refers to the gathered congregation of Israel (see Schmidt 1972). In this light, the Thessalonian church was part of the true Israelite congregation of God’s people who had been established by Messiah Jesus’ latter-day redemptive work.” (Page 42)
“A better, though not ultimately sufficient, response in favor of the pretribulational rapture view is that the Spirit’s work of restraining through the church would end and then continue through the ministry of the ‘two [individual] witnesses’ of Revelation 11.” (Page 215)
“The restraining force is the proclamation of the gospel, above all, by Paul’s preaching. The strength of this identification is its compatibility with Mark 13:10, which says that ‘the gospel must first be preached to all nations’ before Christ’s coming and, apparently, before the appearance of ‘ ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong [i.e., in the temple]’ (Mk 13:14).” (Page 215)
“Whether in the ancient world or today, the chief end of humanity has often been to take pleasure in this life. In contrast, our passage begins by affirming the opposite: humanity’s chief goal ought to be to take pleasure in pleasing God.” (Page 114)
G. K. Beale (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, Illinois, and coordinator of Wheaton's M.A. in Biblical Exegesis program. His books include The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary), 1-2 Thessalonians (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series), The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, and The Temple and the Church's Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God.