Final Greetings… and Questions

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

2Thessalonians 3:16-18

As was customary, Paul wraps up the second letter to the Thessalonian church with final greetings. In this case, there is a final hope/prayer in verse 16, authentication in verse 17, and a closing in verse 18.

First, Paul expresses his wish that God will grant to his recipients peace in the midst of their persecution. If you think about it, peace is almost the opposite of what they are going through at this time, and this wish expressed by Paul reminds us that even in the most difficult of times, we can be at peace in Christ, for we may realize that in Him we not only have all that we need, but the hope of a greater and more wonderful future that will set us at peace even now as we live through the strife and trials of this world.

The next verse is the authentication. Those who claim that the letter was written after Paul’s death would suggest that either (a) this was done to enhance the chances people would accept the fraud, and (b) that it was a grave error because Paul didn’t authenticate his letters in this way. To my mind, both of these are absurd because if Paul didn’t normally do this, it is likely to stand out and bring questions upon the letter, thus defeating the supposed purpose. Yet the fact remains that Paul did authenticate several of his letters by writing in his own hand at the end. (1 Cor. 16:21; Col. 4:18; Gal. 6:11; Phlm. 19) It would be fair to ask why he chose to do it here however, and to answer that question, I would suggest that we consider the fact that one of his reasons for writing was to correct the false teaching, outright lie actually, that Jesus had already returned but had left the Thessalonians on their own in persecution.

He made much in this letter of following his teachings and instructions, and rejecting contrary teaching from others, and thus it makes perfect sense that he would want to add his own hand to the letter to validate that this is his own teaching, much as he did in Galatians where he was contradicting the teachings of those who claimed that a Gentile must first become a Jew.

Finally, Paul concludes with a statement that the grace of our Lord is with his recipients. This is one of those sentences that we often race past, and assume it is a wish that the grace will be (one day) with us because of the word “be” instead of the word “is”. This happens sometimes when Greek is translated into English, but notice that the word “will” does not precede “be” (will be). Bearing in mind that “be” and “is” are conjugations of the same verb with “will be” being future tense and “is” being present tense, we assume therefore that this indicated the future. To be very precise, this sentence actually means that the grace of our Lord is with you, and will continue to be with you, which is a wonderful meaning for all of us.

On that wonderful note, our little adventure through Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians draws to a close.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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4 Responses to Final Greetings… and Questions

  1. Thanks for making this happen. It has been a wonderful study.

    Blessings for a wonderful day in paradise.

  2. eguyadeen3 says:

    The peace of Christ also be with you now and forever

  3. Pingback: Final Greetings… and Questions — TLP – QuietMomentsWithGod

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