Thessalonica was a city in Macedonia in the north of Greece. Paul planted a church there during his second missionary journey, and soon after he wrote the church two letters that have been preserved in the New Testament.
Background to 2 Thessalonians
Apparently the Thessalonians misunderstood some parts of the letter Paul had written to them, in particular those parts dealing with Christ’s return.
Some mistakenly thought that when Paul said Christ would return ‘suddenly’, he meant ‘immediately’. If that was the case, they saw no purpose in working for a living and so became idle and lazy. Paul sent off his second letter to correct these, and related, misunderstandings. Second Thessalonians was written only a short while after First Thessalonians. Paul was still in Corinth (he remained in Corinth for a year and a half; Acts 18:11) and he probably wrote the letter soon after hearing of the misunderstandings that had arisen over his previous letter.
Contents of 2 Thessalonians
As in his first letter, Paul begins by thanking God for the continued progress of the Thessalonian Christians. Although they are still suffering from persecution, they can be assured that the return of Jesus Christ will bring rest to them and punishment to their persecutors (1:1-12). Some thought that the Day of the Lord had begun, but Paul assures them it has not. There is yet to be a final great rebellion against God, but it will be overthrown by Christ when he returns (2:1-12). By contrast, believers in Christ can face the future with confidence (2:13-17). Paul asks prayer for himself, that his work for God in Corinth may be fruitful (3:1-5). He then deals with the problem of those who had become nuisances in the church through refusing to work (3:6-15). He concludes the letter in his usual manner by signing it personally (3:16-18).