If there was a recording of our conversation for an entire day, what would it reveal? As our words played back, would God be glorified in our language? In their book, Redeeming How We Talk, Ken Wytsma and A. J. Swoboda wrote: “Words are not to give us power over others. Words are gifts to help us worship God and serve people.”
Throughout his two letters to the Thessalonians, and especially in today’s reading, Paul used language in exactly these God-intended ways. First came yet another word of prayer, blessing, or benediction (v. 16). He asked that the Lord of peace would Himself give them “peace at all times and in every way.” “Peace” means a holistic sense of well-being built on the foundation of peace with God (Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15).
The Thessalonians needed such peace particularly at this time because the false teaching about the Day of the Lord had unsettled and shaken them. They were no doubt also understandably anxious about the persecution they’d been facing ever since the founding of their church. In all cases, peace is inextricably connected with God’s presence, so Paul also prayed, “The Lord be with all of you”—a prayer that had already been answered by Christ, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
Next, Paul authenticated the letter by taking up the pen and writing a verse himself (v. 17). We’ve previously explained how this worked to verify the author of the letter. Finally, he closed, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all” (v. 18). This is our hope and prayer for you as well!
>> In response to our study of Paul’s letters, why not pen one of your own? Write to a friend and tell them what you learned from 1 and 2 Thessalonians this month.
We praise you, Lord Jesus, for your peace, which your presence spreads. We praise you for your grace, which frees us from shame. We praise you for the truth you teach us through your Word by the Holy Spirit.