Praying For Ministers Of The Gospel II (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2).

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

1 Finally, brethren, PRAY FOR US, that the word of the Lord MAY RUN SWIFTLY and BE GLORIFIED, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be DELIVERED FROM UNREASONABLE AND WICKED MEN; for not all have faith.

The Apostle Paul, in this text (like several others in the Epistles), beseeches the saints to pray for him, even as he preaches Christ. St. Chrysostom remarks concerning this, “Himself had prayed for them; now he asks them to pray for him.” It was characteristic of Paul to request prayers from those he had discipled (see Rom 15:30, 2 Corin 1:11, Eph 6:18-19, Col 4:3-4, 1 Thess 5:25).

Here, Paul asks the saints at Thessalonica to pray for two major things:

1) that the word of the Lord “may run swiftly and be glorified” (vs. 1).

The phrase “run swiftly” translates the Greek “trechó” (τρέχω), which means “to spread quickly.” This word was used to describe athletes in ancient Greek times, as they ran swiftly, towards the finish line. Paul asks that they pray that “the word of the Lord” (i.e. the Gospel) would advance speedily i.e that the doctrine of Christ would be rapidly propagated.

Also, he requests prayers that the Word “may be glorified” (Grk.doxazó“-to become manifest and acknowledged). They were to pray that men would honor the Gospel, and submit to the same.

The Gospel is described in the Book of Acts as spreading and diffusing, into all of the Earth.

Acts 6:7 (NKJV)

7 Then THE WORD OF GOD SPREAD, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 

Acts 12:24 (NKJV)

24 But the word of God GREW AND MULTIPLIED.

Acts 19:20 (NKJV)

20 So the word of the Lord GREW MIGHTILY AND PREVAILED.

Jesus illustrates this expansion, by the parable of the mustard seed and the leaven (see Matthew 13:31-33).

The saints at Thessalonica are to pray for more of this; for the influence of the Gospel all around the world (“that it may be glorified“), through Paul’s ministry.


2) deliverance from “unreasonable and wicked men who do not have faith” (vs. 2).

As the Gospel runs swiftly, some attempt to stand in its way. This, they do, by way of persecution.

Paul asks the saints to pray for his deliverance, from such men. He calls them “unreasonable and wicked men” (“atopōn kai ponērōn anthrōpōn“), that is, perverse and evil men. This phrase describes monstrous men; bent on causing harm.

The Apostle actually refers to the Jews (“unreasonable and wicked men“), who opposed the Gospel preached by him (see Acts 18:5-6, 12-13), for they “did not have faith” (Rom 10:16).

Therefore, as the Gospel is preached, it must be accompanied by prayer, to achieve its desired effects. It is implicit that Paul was delivered (on numerous occasions) from persecution, through the prayers of the saints.

2 Timothy 3:11 (NKJV)

11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. AND OUT OF THEM ALL THE LORD DELIVERED ME. 

2 Timothy 4:17 (NKJV)

17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LION. 

The lion” here is figurative for extreme danger, at the hands of opponents (read more here: “Delivered out of the mouth of the lion”—2 Timothy 4:17). Thus, Paul was delivered from adversaries (“the lion’s mouth“), and this was chiefly due to the saints’ intercessions. Acts 12 makes it clear that if the saints would simply pray, deliverance would be wrought on behalf of God’s ministers (see vv. 1-17).


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2023.


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