The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians has three main themes. The first is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and included also is a long portion on the identity of the Antichrist. The second is about intercessory prayer when Paul treats us to examples of different types of prayer. From his prayers we learn what kind of subject matter there should be in the prayers of Christians when making intercession. Thirdly, the important theme of local Church discipline is the second longest section in the epistle. It is evident that it is a topic that needed to be aired among Paul's correspondents for his previous exhortation in 1 Thessalonians had not produced the desired effect.
At first sight there seems very little about suffering in this epistle, but Chapter 1: 4-5 opens this theme for us and gives helpful insights into this most perplexing and controversial subject. Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians is as relevant for us today as it was for the first-century Thessalonian believers to whom he wrote. Its three main themes 'the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, intercessory prayer and local church discipline' were addressed to a young church experiencing trouble, discrimination and harassment because of their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Here Ian McNaughton unpacks these themes, demonstrating the timeless importance of each one in encouraging strong and assured hope in the midst of suffering.
Ian McNaughton was converted when 19 years old after attending his local church for several years, following which he studied theology at the Free Church of Scotland College, Edinburgh, gaining their post-graduate Diploma in Theology and subsequently gaining a Master of Theology degree in Historical Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania, USA. He has served as a pastor in FIEC Churches for over thirty years and is now pastor of West Worthing Evangelical Church, West Sussex. He and his wife, Violet, have one adult son, Mark.