2 Thessalonians 3:1

Friday, 13 October 2017

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Chapter 3 begins with the word, “Finally.” Though there were no chapter and verse divisions in the original books of the Bible, this is a logical place to begin the chapter. He has finished the main purpose of the book with its theological discourse on the timing of the end times. As was seen, those in Thessalonica had been disturbed by input from someone telling them that the day of the Lord had already come. Paul ensured them (and thus us!) that such was not the case, and that we could know how this was true. He gave a concise and precise detailing of the sequence of end-time events so that we wouldn’t be duped by others, and so that we wouldn’t waste our time speculating on who the Antichrist would be.

After opening the final section, he immediately again says, “brethren.” This is the fifth of seven times that he will say this in this short book. Thus, he is ensuring they don’t forget that they are “beloved by the Lord” (verse 2:13). Despite the things which may come against them and afflict them, they are united in Christ as brethren. With that understanding, he then petitions them for prayer.

As brethren, this is right for him to ask, and for them to respond. Paul was known for keeping his beloved brethren and their churches in prayer (such as in verse 1:11), and he anticipated that they would likewise be in prayer for him and those with him. And so with specificity, he names the type of prayer they seek. It is “that the word of the Lord may run swiftly.” His request is reflected in the 147th Psalm –

He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.” Psalm 147:15

The request of Paul and his companions is that their work of spreading the word would be swift, that it would not be in any way hindered, and that it would be without any type of anxiety or stress which could slow down its progress. And in addition to this, he asks that they pray that the message conveyed will “be glorified.” This is not asking for Paul and his associates to receive distinction or honor, but that the message itself would be honored. The desire is for the exaltation of the gospel message, and thus for the honor of the Lord upon whom it is based. The thought is reflected in Acts 12 where it says that “the word of God grew and multiplied” (verse 24). This was the continued hope of Paul and his company.

Finally he notes, “just as it is with you.” If they wanted to know exactly what to pray for, all they needed to do was to look at how the word had taken hold in their own church. It had been presented, received, and brought honor to the Lord. This was the hoped-for condition of each place to be encountered by Paul’s group.

Life application: There are churches in towns and villages around the world, but there are still places where the word has not been conveyed. Churches are set groups that generally don’t go far beyond their own places of meeting. But then there are missionaries who are willing to travel extensively to share the gospel. Even though churches don’t head out from their home areas, they can, and should, support those who do. This is one of the major purposes of the church. We are to ensure that we don’t stagnate behind walls, but that we continue to refresh ourselves and the gospel through the support of missionaries.

Lord God, we who live and work in various towns and cities enjoy gathering together to worship You and hear Your word explained, but we are also grateful for those who go out into the mission field, forsaking home and comfort, in order to help others establish what we already possess. Today, we pray for those who are willing to do this, knowing that they face times of trial, difficulty, and loneliness. Be with them and guide them. May their message run swiftly, and may Your word be glorified through them. Amen.

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