“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you…”
The first five verses are a prayer for stability in the lives of the Thessalonians.
Paul now begins his closing remarks for 2 Thessalonians.
brethren, pray for us,
The word “finally” introduces the last major section of the letter. Paul asked the Thessalonians to pray for his gospel team. He knew his need for prayer. He asks for prayer in two categories:
1) the advance of the gospel (v.1) and
2) protection from evil men (v.2).
Paul asks for prayer at the close of five of his epistles (Romans 15:30; Colossians 4:2,3; Ephesians 6:18,19; 1 Thessalonians 5:25).
The purpose of the Thessalonian’s prayer is that Paul’s gospel team might advance the gospel in two ways:
1) that the “word of the Lord may run swiftly” and
2) that it might be “glorified.”
the word of the Lord may run swiftly
Paul’s primary concern in prayer was for the expansion of the gospel. This is a prayer that the word of the Lord would advance unhindered and without obstacles.
The word “run” means to proceed quickly and without hindrance. To describe the free and rapid progress of “the word of the Lord,” Paul sets forth the metaphor of a runner in a race, implying swiftness or effort to attain an end. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 5:7; Philippians 2:16).
Paul writes both 1 and 2 Thessalonians from Corinth, a major port city in southern Greece. It was the Paris of antiquity. Paul went there with his gospel artillery (Acts 17,18). His team needed prayer for such a daunting task. He needed intercessory prayer to penetrate that pleasure-loving city. God answered the prayer of the Thessalonians.
“Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18: 8).
The Thessalonians get some of the credit for the Corinthians coming to Christ. With little fanfare, they went to prayer for their native Greeks, the Corinthians. Satan could not bind God’s Word in that wild city, for some of them came to Christ.
God wants us to run with the gospel, not walk.
It is one thing for the gospel to walk, and it is another for it to run. We should each have a burden to spread the gospel widely.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
The Word of God is effective when we communicate it to those without Christ. The gospel is not effective if we do not share it. The Word and the gospel do not function like a religious rabbit’s foot. They are not magic. If we preach the gospel and share the Bible, it will dash, not jog or trot, toward its end.
Thanks so much for your insights on this text. I was connected to your studies via Precept Austin.
Just a quick question about what you said. Do you think it is the communicators (i.e. us the witnesses) that are to be running with the msg. or is is that He wants the msg. itself to “run” as it were by His empowering it and opening the eyes/ears of those who see/hear it? I thought it was more the latter than the former. Perhaps Paul has both in mind.
Either way, I appreciate any feedback.
Because He IS faithful,
Hal, I believe that the essential power of the gospel is in the message itself. This is the point of Romans 1:16. However, God uses individuals to carry that message so it is a tandem with the greatest power in the message. It was Paul’s team that ran with the Word but the Word is the effective agent (1 Th 2:13).