2 Peter 3:15-17 – Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
Like 1 Thessalonians, the author of the letter is the Apostle Paul along with Silvanus and Timothy, senior leaders on his ministry team. The opening and closing of 2 Thessalonians clearly name Paul as the author:
- 2 Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…
- 2 Thessalonians 3:17 – I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.
Paul was likely born in the same decade as Jesus Christ and is believed to have died between AD 62-64. Known as the “apostle to the Gentiles”, he was largely responsible for Christianity expanding beyond the Jewish people to the nations of the earth and largest and most diverse movement of any kind in world history. The following are some of the details regarding the life and ministry of Paul:
- Born as Saul in Tarsus (on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey). The exact date of his birth is unknown.
- Schooled as a Pharisee in Jerusalem under the religious leader Gamaliel.
- Became a traveling missionary and preacher for the early church; renamed Paul.
- Worked as an artisan who made tents.
- Was imprisoned multiple times by the Roman authorities for his religious agitation.
- Wrote several theological letters (some of which are included in the New Testament).
- Died sometime between ad 62–64; Paul may have been martyred in Rome. (1)
The majority of the New Testament falls into one of three categories:
- Written by Paul. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, Paul wrote at least 13 (the author of Hebrews is uncertain but may have also been Paul) over the course of 15-plus years. He wrote to at least seven different churches and two individual church leaders.
- Written about Paul. The history book of the early church, Acts, focuses on the mission work of Paul in chapters 13-28.
- Written by someone working closely with Paul. The author of Luke and Acts, Luke, was Paul’s friend, traveling companion, and doctor.
It would be difficult to overestimate what the Holy Spirit has accomplished through Paul. He is one of the most genius minds and towering figures in the history of planet earth. Even Peter, the human leader of the early church following Jesus’ resurrection, was clear that Paul wrote Scripture, and was a genius saying, “Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15–17)
Read Acts 9:1-19 to see how Paul’s life was radically changed by Jesus.
- Anthony Le Donne, “Paul the Apostle,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
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