Introduction to II Thessalonians
It is evident that Paul’s second letter to the young church at Thessalonica followed soon after the first. It seems to have been written while he was still at Corinth (he was there some eighteen months—Acts 18:11) in response to certain disturbing reports from some of the Thessalonian believers (II Thessalonians 3:6,11). At the same time, he had been greatly encouraged by the strong faith and courageous stand of the church as a whole, even under persecution (II Thessalonians 1:4).
There seem also to have been certain counterfeit letters written to the church in his name (II Thessalonians 2:1-2), confusing the church about the doctrine of Christ’s second coming, and conflicting with what Paul had written about this in his first letter. Consequently, II Thessalonians 2:1-12 contains a very important exposition of the coming Antichrist, as well as the coming of the true Christ (II Thessalonians 1:7-11).
Both I Thessalonians and II Thessalonians were accepted as authentic Pauline documents by the early church. Paul introduces himself as author of both (with the agreement of both Silas and Timothy in the messages he was sending) in the first verse of each epistle. He again refers to himself by name in I Thessalonians 2:18 and II Thessalonians 3:17, and makes many personal references in both epistles which could hardly have been faked by someone other than Paul. Although a few modern liberals have questioned Paul’s authorship of one or both of the epistles, practically all agree that the traditional view is right. There is really no valid reason to question the authenticity of either epistle.