Request for Prayers. 1Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you,a 2and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.b 4We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you [both] are doing and will continue to do.c 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.
Neglect of Work. 6We instruct you, brothers, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us.* 7For you know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, 8nor did we eat food received free from anyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you.d 9Not that we do not have the right. Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.e 10In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.f 11We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.g 12Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food. 13But you, brothers, do not be remiss in doing good. 14If anyone does not obey our word as expressed in this letter, take note of this person not to associate with him, that he may be put to shame. 15Do not regard him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother.h 16May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.i
IV. Final Greetings
17This greeting is in my own hand, Paul’s. This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write.j 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.
* [3:1–18] The final chapter urges the Thessalonians to pray for Paul and his colleagues (2 Thes 3:1–2) and reiterates confidence in the Thessalonians (2 Thes 3:3–5), while admonishing them about a specific problem in their community that has grown out of the intense eschatological speculation, namely, not to work but to become instead disorderly busybodies (2 Thes 3:6–15). A benediction (2 Thes 3:16) and postscript in Paul’s own hand round out the letter. On 2 Thes 3:17–18, cf. note on 2 Thes 2:2.
* [3:6] Some members of the community, probably because they regarded the parousia as imminent or the new age of the Lord to be already here (2 Thes 2:2), had apparently ceased to work for a living. The disciplinary problem they posed could be rooted in distorted thinking about Paul’s own teaching (cf. 1 Thes 2:16; 3:3–4; 5:4–5) or, more likely, in a forged letter (2 Thes 2:2) and the type of teaching dealt with in 2 Thes 2:1–15. The apostle’s own moral teaching, reflected in his selfless labors for others, was rooted in a deep doctrinal concern for the gospel message (cf. 1 Thes 2:3–10).