As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
Paul signals a transition from the discussion of chapter 2 into a new discussion that takes the form of a final exhortation and instructions that is so typical of his writings. He begins asking for prayer that the message of the gospel would spread rapidly and take hold quickly as it did in Thessalonica. It is interesting once again to note the priority of placement for this part of the prayer: First, God’s will is the first priority of the prayer- that the Gospel would spread.
Verse 2 is part of the same sentence as verse 1 in the Greek, and asks for prayer for his safety, for he is also being opposed harshly. I mention the continuation of the sentence, because it makes clearer the fact that Paul isn’t just asking for an easy ride, he is asking them to pray that he is able to continue spreading the Gospel, thus doing God’s will.
Not everyone has faith, and so some actively oppose the message, but God is faithful. This provides clear insight into the contrast between the faithlessness of men and the faithfulness of God and brings the strong insinuation that we can depend upon God to always be faithful. This is a reminder of Paul’s reason for writing, which is to encourage the brethren to hang onto their faith. Thus, the Lord can be counted on to provide us the resources we need to persevere and will protect us from the evil one. This should not be understood to mean that we will always have clean sailing, that the evil one will never bother us. Instead, it recognizes the reason for the evil one’s interest in harming us, that we might be separated from the love of God and lose all that we have in Christ, and this is what God will protect us from if we remain steadfast.
The end of this paragraph expresses Paul’s confidence that they will hold on, that they will continue to do what is right in God’s eyes and that they will continue to take his instruction to heart, for they are about to receive some more instruction!