2 Thessalonians – chapter 1

1:1-2 Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, 2χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς [ἡμῶν] καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

1.1-2    The salutation for 2 Thessalonians parallels that found in 1 Thess. 1:1, except for the final compound ἀπό prepositional phrase (but most textual witnesses in 1 Thess. 1:1 possess it and so it is possible that both letters had the same salutation). The two parts of the salutation (1:1-2) are verbless clauses. The three correspondents, Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος, in the nominative case, are the same group that composes 1 Thessalonians and they occur in the same order. For additional information about the proper names see the Exegetical Commentary on 1 Thess. 1:1. How soon after the composition of 1 Thessalonians they draft and send this second letter is a matter of speculation. However, not too much time seems to have lapsed. One issue that prompts its composition is the circulation of letters falsely attributed to this group (2:2 δι’ἡμῶν) and promoting a false eschatology.

The dative phrase τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων defines the intended recipients. The article only occurs in this noun phrase τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ in the salutation. Perhaps it serves to indicate that this is a specific assembly and there is not another of this kind in Thessalonika. The genitive describes the constituents who form the assembly. Presumably these are Christians in the city of Thessalonika. Outside of the NT writings people might understand this phrase as referring to the assembly of Thessalonian citizens who formally comprise the πόλις. However, the additional compound prepositional phrase ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ quickly corrects any wrong impression. This “assembly” gains its purpose and constitutional authority from “God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” We probably should interpret ἐν θεῷ similar to the way normally we understand the corresponding phrase ἐν…κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ χριστῷ. The two main nouns, θεῶ…καὶ κυρίῳ both have appositional modifiers. To the ears of Hellenistic Jews the juxtaposition of θεός and κύριος might have sounded odd, given the use of κύριος in the LXX as the equivalent for יהוה. Apart from the salutation, the collocation θεὸς πατήρ only occurs in one other context in 2 Thess 2:16.  Ἰησοῦς only occurs in 2 Thessalonians as an appositional modifier of κύριος and in conjunction with Χριστός. In NA 28, apart from 2 Thess 3:5, Χριστός always follows Ἰησοῦς in this three part designation in 2 Thessalonians. NA28 does not read ἡμῶν in 1 Thess. 1:1. Its presence indicates that both the writers and the audience acknowledge the same deity. It is a genitive of subordination.

Another verbless clause forms the second independent clause in the salutation (v. 2). It conveys the usual NT “greeting formula,” namely χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη. For the possible full formula see 1 Peter 1:2. The dative plural of possession, ὑμῖν, has τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων as the referent. The writers define the kind of favour and peace they wish for their audience by indicating its source in the ἀπό phrase. It has a divine origin and involves the same deity under whose authority the assembly is constituted.

Although 1:3-12 is one complex sentence, I have broken it into smaller segments in order to make it easier to track the exegetical notes.

1:3 Εὐχαριστεῖν ὀφείλομεν τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοί, καθὼς ἄξιόν ἐστιν, ὅτι ὑπεραυξάνει ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν καὶ πλεονάζει ἡ ἀγάπη ἑνὸς ἑκάστου πάντων ὑμῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους,

1:3   The writers use a first person plural verb ὀφείλομεν, that often takes a complementary infinitive (in this case a present infinitive εὐχαριστεῖν), to express the obligation to render thanks “to God” (τῷ θεῷ), dative complement of εὐχαριστεῖν. Presumably the sense of obligation (unusual for a Pauline thanksgiving) is responding to the deity’s gracious and continued redemptive work in the lives of the audience. The position of the infinitive first in the clause gives it prominence. Both the finite verb and infinitive are present tense forms whose aspect indicates incomplete action, i.e., the obligation to render thanks continues in some sense. The temporal adverb πάντοτε and its position emphasizes the continuing nature of the infinitive’s actions. The adverbial prepositional phrase περὶ ὑμῶν indicates the ‘topic’ for whom thanks must be offered. Although the vocative of address ἀδελφοί comes late in the clause, it probably reflects the imperatival sense expressed by the main verb ὀφείλομεν and identifies the audience intended for this declaration. It is juxtaposed with the genitive ὑμῶν to clarify who the ‘brothers’ might be. A similar construction occurs in 2:13. The writers employ an explicit subject (ἡμῖν) for emphasis in the parallel text in 2:13 and place the infinitive after the verb ὀφείλομεν. In that context, τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε follows the infinitive directly and this probably indicates how we should understand πάντοτε in 1:3.

The subordinate comparative clause marked by καθώς explains why they have obligation to render thanks to God for these believers. Such clauses occur frequently in 1 Thessalonians, but only twice in 2 Thessalonians (3:1). This is the only occurrence in the NT of a comparative clause with ἄξιον. In this equative clause ἄξιον functions as a predicate adjective and the implied subject is the previously stated obligation. ἄξιον here has the sense “worthwhile” and presumably it is the deity who provides this evaluation. For a similar use see 1 Cor. 16:4.

ὅτι probably marks a causal clause, explaining the cause for this obligation to give thanks. It contains two coordinated clauses (connected by καί) whose verbs are present indicative active forms indicating action that is incomplete and continuing. ἡ πίστις functions as subject of ὐπεραυξάνει, functioning intransitively, and the verb describes its exceptional growth (LSJ, 1860). This is the only occurrence of the verb in the NT. πίστις probably has the sense of trust or confidence and the writers assert that their audience’s confidence in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ shows exceptional growth. The genitive ὑμῶν probably is subjective here. The second verb πλεονάζει only occurs once in 2 Thessalonians. In 1 Thess. 3:12 it is joined with περισσεύσαι. Paul employs it in Rom.5:20 to describe the abundant development of sin. Here ἀγάπη is the subject, a combination that also occurs in 1 Thess. 3:12. It communicates the idea of something done to excess, something that goes beyond the bounds of expectation. The writers define this ἀγάπη with a subjective genitive construction ἑνὸς ἑκάστου, that is further defined by the partitive genitive πάντων ὑμῶν. The phrase εἰς ἀλλήλους identifies the object of this love.

1:4-5  4ὥστε αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐγκαυχᾶσθαι ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ὑμῶν καὶ πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς διωγμοῖς ὑμῶν καὶ ταῖς θλίψεσιν αἷς ἀνέχεσθε, 5ἔνδειγμα τῆς δικαίας κρίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς τὸ καταξιωθῆναι ὑμᾶς τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ, ὑπὲρ ἧς καὶ πάσχετε,

1:4  The result clause marked by ὥστε with a present middle infinitive is probably part of the ὅτι clause construction and expresses the consequence for the writers of the audience’s demonstration of “faith and love.” In the phrase αὐτούς ἡμᾶς the pronoun αὐτούς functions as an intensifier, with the sense “we, ourselves.” The accusative marks the pronoun (ἡμᾶς reference to the writers of the letter) as subject of the infinitive ἐγκαυχᾶσθαι (“to boast, express pride in” ἐγκαυχάομαι). The middle voice expresses some ‘self-involvement’ of the subject in the action of the verb, perhaps in this case an emotional element. This is the only use of verbs for boasting in the Thessalonian correspondence. The present tense form indicates an incomplete activity.

The infinitive is modified by four adverbial prepositional phrases. The first is ἐν ὑμῖν that designates the cause or reason that something happens (BDAG, 329, 9). The prefix in the compound verb may reflect this prepositional usage. The second adverbial prepositional phrase ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τοῦ θεοῦ has a locative significance (“among”). The plural form should be noted, indicating that the Messiah’s “assembly” exists in the form of many “assemblies.” In 1:1 the believers are τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ…ἐν θεῷ. The genitive τοῦ θεοῦ may be subjective, indicating that the deity constitutes these assemblies. A third phrase marked by ὑπέρ + genitive identifies that specific action of the audience “about, concerning” which the writers are boasting. Two nouns (τῆς ὑπομονῆς…καὶ πίστεως) linked by the single article and the conjunction καί form the object of this preposition. This may serve to define the outcome of the previous use of ἠ πίστις in the previous clause. ὑμῶν would be a subjective genitive.

The fourth prepositional phrase marked again by ἐν contains another compound noun construction, but in this case both nouns are arthrous and thus distinguished in some sense from each other. The preposition has a locative sense (“in the midst of, in the context of”). Although the noun διωγμός only occurs in the Thessalonian correspondence here, the other term θλῖψις (1 Thess. 1:6; 3:3, 7; 2 Thess. 1:4, 6) and its cognate verb θλίβω (1 Thess. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:6, 7) occur frequently. These two nouns occur together in Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 13:21; Mk. 4:17), as well as elsewhere in Paul’s letters (Rom. 8:35). Perhaps the writers are aware of Jesus’ usage and reflect it here. The present middle indicative verb ἀνέχεσθε means “to tolerate, endure, bear with” and its object can be accusative or genitive. In this case the relative pronoun αἷς is dative, probably by attraction to the previous ταῖς θλίψεσιν, but it functions as the object of the verb in its clause (either ἅς or ὧν). The feminine form suggests that θλίψεσιν is the specific referent of the relative pronoun. The present tense form of the verb indicates an incomplete activity or status and the middle voice indicates some kind of reciprocal engagement, between the subject and some other parties. Consider the usage in Matt. 17:17 (par. Mk. 9:19; Lk. 9:41), 1 Cor. 4:12. In Eph. 4:2 and Col. 3:13 Christians “bear with” other Christians graciously.

1:5       This next section, beginning with ἔνδειγμα “evidence,”[1] a hapax legomenon in the NT, is problematic. The neuter singular noun ἔνδειγμα could be nominative and be introducing a new, verbless clause  (“this is the evidence of….”), or it could be accusative and functioning as an appositional modifier in some way to what precedes, i.e., the relative clause (“which you bear with, the evidence of….”), action that refers to their persecution and opposition, rather than their endurance and faithfulness. Their sufferings demonstrate that they will be recipients of the future δικαίας κρίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, i.e., the future “righteous judgment of God.” κρίσεως is probably an objective genitive (what is demonstrated) and τοῦ θεοῦ is a subjective genitive (the one making this judgment). The logic would be that if they are still suffering after the Day of the Lord has come (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2), then their beliefs are wrong. Since they are still suffering as God’s people, the Day of the Lord has not come. Secondly, when that Day occurs, those persecuting will experience God’s retributive justice.

The punctuation in NA28 indicates that the articulated infinitive modified by εἰς goes with ἔνδειγμα. It is also possible, however, to place a comma after θεοῦ and read the articulated infinitive as an explanation for the audience’s endurance or suffering. εἰς + articulated infinitive usually expresses purpose or result. The accusative ὑμᾶς functions as subject of the aorist passive infinitive καταξιωθῆναι “to deem worthy” (LSJ, 903). The NIV interprets the clause as expressing result (“and as a result…”). NRSV translates “and is intended to make you worthy,” perhaps suggesting a purpose clause. I think “result” is more logical, since suffering is not required for believers to be considered/held worthy; conversely they might receive comfort to know that their sufferings demonstrate that they are considered worthy of kingdom life – and not rejected by God or recipients of his punishment. The verb takes an accusative object and the genitive case identifies what one is worthy of. In this case it is τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ. τοῦ θεοῦ is a subjective genitive. “The kingdom of God” usually in Paul’s letters has a future reference to full consummation of God’s rule with the second coming of the Messiah and this its only use in 2 Thessalonians. This reference begins to shape the eschatological focus of this letter. A similar idea, connected with current conduct, occurs in 1 Thess. 2:12; Gal. 5:21.

The writers make explicit the connection between suffering and future involvement in God’s kingdom in the relative clause ὑπὲρ ἧς καὶ πάσχετε. The antecedent of ἧς is βασιλεία. The adverbial prepositional phrase modifies πάσχετε and indicates for whose sake (ὑπὲρ ἧς) the audience is suffering (present active indicative verb πάσχετε). The aspect of the present tense form indicates incomplete action. καί is ascensive. Perhaps there is the sense that they demonstrate their loyalty to the Kingdom and its King through their suffering.

1:6-8  6εἴπερ δίκαιον παρὰ θεῷ ἀνταποδοῦναι τοῖς θλίβουσιν ὑμᾶς θλῖψιν 7καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς θλιβομένοις ἄνεσιν μεθ’ ἡμῶν, ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ μετ’ ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ 8ἐν πυρὶ φλογός, διδόντος ἐκδίκησιν τοῖς μὴ εἰδόσιν θεὸν καὶ τοῖς μὴ ὑπακούουσιν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ,

1:6  The writers employ a conditional clause to articulate Yahweh’s justness in bringing retribution against their persecutors. The particle περ frequently combines with conjunctions of various kinds to add an ascensive note, i.e., “perchance, indeed, after all.” Presumably the implied verb is an indicative form of εἰμί, expressing a first class condition. δίκαιον functions as a predicate adjective, with the aorist active infinitive ἀνταποδοῦναι (“to repay, requite”; cf. Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30) serving as the subject. παρά + dative can refer to someone “whose viewpoint is relevant” (cf. Gal. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:4) to the activity described (BDAG, 757 B.2). In this case the prepositional phrase modifies δίκαιον. ἀνταποδίδωμι takes an indirect object, namely the substantival present active participle τοῖς θλίβουσιν, whose aspect indicates an incomplete activity. The participle governs an accusative object ὑμᾶς. The infinitive also has an accusative direct object θλίψιν, defining the deity’s pay back.

1:7  The writers add a second direct object to the infinitive. God will repay “relief, rest” (ἄνεσιν). The indirect object is ὑμῖν, that in turn is defined by the attributive present passive participle τοῖς θλιβομένοις. The writers affirm that they too will participate in this relief (μετὰ ἡμῶν) given their own experience of opposition. It is important for the writers to specify when God will initiate his retributive justice program. They employ ἐν + dative to define the circumstances that will precipitate such diving action. ἀποκαλύψει refers to the “revealing” of a figure. The cognate verb occurs in 2:6-8 and so the writers are anticipating the coming discussion about the Day of the Lord. The genitive τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ probably is an objective genitive, given the references to θεός in the context. The location from which this appearance will occur is ἀπ’ οὐράνου. The writers do not explain how the Lord Jesus has come to reside in “heaven.” Notice that they use the singular noun form, not the plural. μετά + genitive indicates accompaniment. In this case it is heavenly beings, i.e., ἀγγέλων, who form the divine forces (δυνάμεως) that either θεός or κυρίου Ἰησοῦ commands (αὐτοῦ genitive of subordination). Kings have armies. The manner of their appearance (1.8) with the Lord is ἐν πυρὶ φλογός (lit. “in fire of flame”), a phrase describing their state. Perhaps the genitive is epexegetical. In Ex. 3:2 the angel in the burning bush appears (ὤφθη…ἐν πυρὶ φλογός). Note the textual variant εν φλογι πυρος).

1:8  The genitive τοῦ κυρίου…Ἰησοῦ receives further definition in the adverbial present active participle διδόντος. Perhaps it has a temporal force, i.e., “when he gives….” Its object ἐκδίκησις can mean “vengeance; punishment.” This is the term that OG Exodus uses to describe Yahweh’s actions against Pharaoh (7:4; 12:12 משפט). Wanamaker argues that ἐν πυρὶ φλογός should be read with the participle διδόντος because he thinks the writers are paraphrasing OG Isaiah 66:15 (ἀποδοῦναι ἐν θυμῷ ἐκδίκησιν καὶ ἀποσκορακισμὸν ἐν φλογὶ πυρός “to give out vengeance in wrath and damning in flames of fire”). The dative marks the party against whom this retribution comes (τοῖς μὴ εἰδόσιν θεὸν καὶ τοῖς μὴ ὑπακούουσιν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ). The writers use two substantival participles to describe Yahweh’s opponents. εἰδόσιν is a dative masculine plural perfect active participle (οἶδα), marked by the negative μή. Its aspect expresses a state or condition. The direct object is θεόν. ὑπακούουσιν also is dative masculine plural, but a present active participle, describing a group of people who are not listening responsively to, or obeying the gospel. It is also is marked with the negative μή. It takes a dative complement τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ. Some scholars argue that the writers are referring to non-Jews (those who do not know God) and to Jews (those not obeying the good news). However, as Wanamaker notes, Scripture applies the concepts both to Jews and non-Jews (227).  The genitive τοῦ κυρίου…Ἰησοῦ could be subjective or objective genitive or possibly the writers leave the nuance deliberately ambiguous (cf. Mark 1:1). ἡμῶν is a genitive of subordination. Why does he use the possessive pronoun here, but not in v. 7?

1:9-10  9οἵτινες δίκην τίσουσιν ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ κυρίου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ, 10ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐνδοξασθῆναι ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ καὶ θαυμασθῆναι ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύσασιν, ὅτι ἐπιστεύθη τὸ μαρτύριον ἡμῶν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ.

1:9  The relative pronoun οἵτινες (ὅστις) is an undetermined relative with the sense “whoever.” Its referents are the two previous substantival participles. τίσουσιν is a future active indicative form of τίνω “to experience retribution, pay, undergo a penalty” and this is its only occurrence in the NT. The writers place the object δίκην (“punishment, penalty; justice”) in the focal point of the clause, giving it prominence. The phrase τίνω δίκην means “to pay the penalty” for their failure to respond to God’s overtures. δίκην is cognate with the previous δικαίας…δίκαιον…ἐκδίκησιν. This repetitive usage functions like counterpoint to the repeated use of θλίβω and its cognates in this section. ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον probably functions as an appositional comment defining the nature of this δίκη. God metes “eternal (age-long or ultimate) destruction or ruin (or possibly plague, pestilence – something that causes death)” for such reprobates. The phrase by itself might describe annihilation or a destruction that lasts for eternity. Recourse to the context of the NT has to resolve this question. The repeated adverbial ἀπό phrases may modify the main verb, describing the source of the penalty, or they may define the character of this ὄλεθρον, i.e., it is “away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power” expressing exclusion. These two phrases resemble the wording used in Isa. 2:10, that describes similarly a judgment scene. The second genitive in the double phrase ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος could be an attributed genitive (a glorious might) or an attributive genitive (a mighty glory). In OG Isaiah 2:10 (ἀπὸ τῆς δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ) κύριος is Yahweh, but in 2 Thess. 1:9 this noun refers to Jesus. The referent for αὐτοῦ would be the previous κυρίου. The pronoun perhaps is a subjective genitive.

1:10   The writers add a chronological indicator to define when all of this exceptional and extraordinary activity will occur. ὅταν marks a general temporal clause “whenever” and it takes a subjunctive verb (ἔλθῃ), because the time is uncertain. The aspect of the aorist tense form indicates a completed activity. The subject is the previous ὁ κύριος. The writers define the purpose of this journey using two aorist passive infinitives, a common construction. The compound verb ἐνδοξάζομαι (“be honoured, esteemed”) is first attested in OG Exodus with Yahweh as subject and may be one of the translator’s neologisms. It occurs twice in the NT in 2 Thess. 1:10, 12 and in both cases the implied subject is the Lord Jesus. It is modified by the adverbial phrase ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ, with the preposition resonating with the prefixed ἐν attached to the verb. The preposition could be instrumental “through,” or causal “because of,” or locative “in the midst of.” If this entire expression is an allusion to OG Ps. 88.9 ἐνδοξαζόμενος ἐν βουλῇ ἁγίων, then probably the locative sense is intended. αὐτοῦ could be a subjective genitive (“the ones made holy by him”) or relational/possessive.

Wanamaker (231) suggests that the second infinitival clause θαυμασθῆναι ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύσασιν is a paraphrase of OG Ps. 67.36 (θαυμαστὸς ὁ θεὸς ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ). However, the texts have no lexemes in common and so the proposed intertextual connection is improbable, even though the concepts expressed may be similar. θαυμάζω in the passive means “to be a cause of astonishment,” occurring frequently in the Gospels. The prepositional phrase marked by ἐν modifies the infinitive and probably has a locative sense, i.e., “in the midst of.” The substantival aorist active participle τοῖς πιστεύσασιν functions in parallelism with the preceding τοῖς ἁγίοις. The aspect of the aorist tense form indicates a completed activity. πᾶσιν has an inclusive sense. This participle similarly occurs in 2:12, but there it is marked by the negative μή. The aspect of the two aorist infinitives suggests a particular event.

Many regard the ὅτι clause to be parenthetical (perhaps similar to the καθώς clause in 1 Cor. 1:6). The subject is τὸ μαρτύριον and refers to the testimony about the gospel that the writers had communicated earlier to these people. ἡμῶν is subjective genitive. The aorist indicative passive verb ἐπιστεύθη indicates that their testimony “was believed, trusted” and the aspect indicates a completed activity. The adverbial phrase ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς probably means “among you” and could modify μαρτύριον in the sense “our testimony among/to you.” NA28 places a comma after ὑμᾶς indicating that ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ modifies the previous verb ἐλθῇ and refers to “the day of the Lord” (2:2).

Some scholars hypothesize that the material in vv. 7b-10a was incorporated from another source by the writers. The use of synonymous parallelism, repetitious terminology, and also the possible paraphrase of LXX material might support such an idea, but it is only hypothetical. The writers may be using material that they taught previously when at Thessalonica.

1:11-12  11Εἰς ὃ καὶ προσευχόμεθα πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ἀξιώσῃ τῆς κλήσεως ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν καὶ πληρώσῃ πᾶσαν εὐδοκίαν ἀγαθωσύνης καὶ ἔργον πίστεως ἐν δυνάμει, 12ὅπως ἐνδοξασθῇ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν, καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐν αὐτῷ, κατὰ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

1:11  NA28 places a period at the end of v. 10 and marks v. 11 with a capital letter, indicating that in the editors’ view vv. 11-12 form a separate sentence. However, this is not necessary in that εἰς ὅ could mark a relative clause whose antecedent is the preceding teaching. The first person plural form of the verb and the repeated expression πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν signal that the writers may be using an inclusio to bring the introductory thanksgiving to a conclusion in vv. 11-12. They recapitulate various themes in doing so.

εἰς ὅ marks a relative clause that provides a reason or explanation for previous declarations. καί is ascensive. The present active middle form προσευχόμεθα (used also in 3:1) aspectually indicates an incomplete activity, as the temporal adverb πάντοτε emphasizes. The focus of their prayers is περὶ ὑμῶν (1:2). In my opinion ἵνα marks purpose, indicating what the writers are praying for and hoping their prayers will accomplish. They front the object ὑμᾶς and place it in the focal point of the clause before the verb. ἀξιώσῃ is an aorist active subjunctive and its aspect suggests an activity that is viewed as completed. It is cognate with the previously used ἄξιον (1:2) and καταξιωθῆναι (1:5). These are the only uses of this word group in 2 Thessalonians, but they express the goal of kingdom living, namely the condition of ἄξιος. The subject ὁ θεός is modified by a genitive of subordination (ἡμῶν). The simplex verb form takes a genitive complement (cf. 1:5), namely τῆς κλήσεως. The cognate verb καλέω occurs in 2:14 with Yahweh/θεός as the subject. The writers do not explain what they mean by this noun, but presumably it carries the theological register of “summon, invite” that it has in the LXX when Israel is the object. Here it applies to all believers whether Jews or non-Jews. The writers include a second prayer focus, identified by the aorist active subjunctive verb πληρώσῃ (the only occurrence of πληρόω in 2 Thessalonians). Its aspect indicates a completed activity. This verb with God as subject occurs in the benedictions Paul expresses in Rom. 15:13-14. Here it probably has the sense “bring to completion.” Two direct objects, namely πᾶσαν εὐδοκίαν and ἔργον. As Wanamaker points out (234) these two nouns could have God or the Thessalonian Christians as their referent. He argues, given the use of εὐδοκία and πίστις elsewhere in Paul’s writings that the writers probably intend these nouns to refer to the Thessalonians’ activities. It is “every good desire for goodness or every good intention” that these believers have and their “activity resourced by their faith” that the writers pray God will help them accomplish “with his power” (ἐν δυνάμει instrumental dative or dative of manner).

1:12  A second purpose clause follows, marked by ὅπως (“in order that somehow”). This subordinate clause seems to modify the previous ἵνα and is one of several examples in the NT where writers juxtapose two purpose clauses (e.g., Gal. 3:14). The purpose why the deity would bring the moral and kingdom efforts of these believers to completion is to bring glory to his son, the Lord Jesus. The aorist passive subjunctive verb ἐνδοξασθῇ repeats the usage of this verb in 1:10. The aspect of the aorist points to a intended, completed activity. τὸ ὄνομα, the subject, refers to the person and character of the individual defined in the following genitive. The writers continue to use κύριος Ἰησοῦς to refer to Jesus (1:7, 8; but not in 1:9 (influence by OT allusion?)). In Isa. 66:5 we read ἵνα τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου δοξασθῇ. ἡμῶν is a genitive of subordination. As in 1:10 the verb is modified by an adverbial prepositional phrase marked by ἐν. However, Wanamaker argues (235) that it has an instrumental sense (“because of you”), because the focus in vv. 11-12 is on the present, not the future as in v.10. Nonetheless, it is possible that we should interpret the phrase in v. 10 similarly, even though the reference is to the future coming of the Lord Jesus. The deity will receive glory then also “because of his saints.”

With the concise clause ὑμεῖς ἐν αὐτῷ the writers express the reciprocal relationship between the Lord Jesus’s glory and the believers’ glory. If the ἐν phrase is instrumental in the first instance, presumably it continues to have an instrumental force in the second instance. All of this “in accord with” (κατά + accusative) “the favour of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Presumably the deity’s χάρις includes the present and future ages. Apart from the term πατήρ, the titles for the deity match those used in 1:1-2 and along with χάρις these elements create an inclusion with the initial greeting and indicate the opening section of the letter is now concluded. Note the position of ἡμῶν vis-à-vis θεός in 1:11-12. Also is there any significance to the use of the single article with θεοῦ…καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ? It suggests that the source of χάρις is unified in some sense.

[1] The cognate noun ἐνδειξις “sign, omen; demonstration, proof” occurs in Rom. 3:25-26; 2 Cor. 8:24; 2 Thess. 1:5.