That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
— 2 Thessalonians 2:2
In Second Thessalonians 2:2, the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers and warned them about events that would occur right before the coming of the Lord. He wanted to prepare them so these major world events wouldn’t take them off guard and throw them into a state of panic. Therefore, Paul told them, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:2).
Notice that Paul told the Thessalonian believers not to be “soon shaken.” The word “soon” is the Greek word tachus, which means quickly, suddenly, or hastily. The word “shaken” is the Greek word saleuo, which means to shake, to waver, to totter, or to be moved. The tense used in the Greek points to events so dramatic that they could result in shock or alarm. In fact, the Greek tense strongly suggests a devastating occurrence or a sequence of devastating occurrences so dramatic that they will throw the world into a state of shock or distress.
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By using the words “soon shaken,” Paul was urging his readers (and us!) to resist being easily shaken up by events that will occur just before the coming of Jesus. He was particularly careful to mention that we must not be “soon shaken in mind.” The Greek word for the “mind” is nous, which describes everything in the realm of the intellect, including one’s will, emotions, and ability to think, reason, and decide.
Whoever or whatever controls a person’s mind ultimately has the power to dictate the affairs and outcome of that person’s life. Thus, if a person allows his mind to be doused with panic or fear, he is putting fear in charge of his life. Because Paul wanted his readers to remain in peace regardless of the tumultuous events that transpired around them, he urged them not to allow fear from these shocking and distressful events to penetrate their minds, will, and emotions.
Then to make certain we comprehend the magnitude of these last-day events, Paul went on to say, “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled.…” The word “troubled” is the Greek word throeo, which indicates an inward fright that results from the shocking occurrence described above. The shock resulting from these nerve-racking events could be so severe that it could cause a person to be devoured with worry, anxiety, or fear.
Paul is confident these events will not be only a one-time occurrence; thus, he uses a Greek tense that points to an ongoing state of worry and inward anxiety resulting from these outward events that keep occurring again and again. It is as if he prophesies that there is no pause between these shocking, debilitating, and nerve-racking happenings. One scholar therefore translates the word “troubled” as being jumpy or nervous.
These words are so jammed-packed with meaning that it is almost impossible to directly translate them. To help you see exactly what Paul was communicating to his readers, I have translated and paraphrased the original Greek words, pulling the full meaning out of each word and then transferring those meanings into the interpretive translation below.
All the words Paul used in Second Thessalonians 2:2 convey this idea:
“Some things will be happening right before His coming that could shake you up quite a bit. I’m referring to events that will be so dramatic that they could really leave your head spinning — occurrences of such a serious nature that many people will end up feeling alarmed, panicked, intimidated, and even unnerved! Naturally speaking, these events could nearly drive you over the brink emotionally, putting your nerves on edge and making you feel apprehensive and insecure about life. I wish I could tell you these incidents were going to be just a one-shot deal, but when they finally get rolling, they’re going to keep coming and coming, one after another. That’s why you have to determine not to be shaken or moved by anything you see or hear. You need to get a grip on your mind and refuse to allow yourselves to be traumatized by these events. If you let these things get to you, it won’t be too long until you’re a nervous wreck! So decide beforehand that you are not going to give in and allow ‘fright’ to worm its way into your mind and emotions until it runs your whole life.”
Paul strongly urges us not to allow ourselves to be shaken or moved by anything we see or hear. He tells us that we must get a grip on our minds and refuse to allow ourselves to be traumatized by the events that occur in the world around us or to allow fear to control our whole lives. Instead of letting these things “get to us” and rob us of our joy, peace, and victory, we need to be deeply rooted in the confidence of God’s promises!
If you take a look at the world around us today, it is clear that Paul’s prophecy about the last days is unfolding before our very eyes. Because of the many different situations that our generation is facing, we must take a stand against fear and determine to stay in faith! But in order for us to stay in faith, it is imperative that we keep our minds focused on the Word of God.
Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.…” Verse 16 goes on to say, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” When the Word of God dwells richly in our lives, it produces peace — so much supernatural peace that it actually rules our hearts!
The word “rule” that is used in this verse is the Greek word brabeuo, which describes an umpire who calls all the shots and makes all the decisions. You see, when God’s Word is dwelling richly in your heart, suddenly the peace of God makes all the big decisions, calls all the shots, and umpires your emotions. Rather than being led by the ups and downs of the day or by what you read in the newspaper, you will be ruled by the wonderful peace of God!
But to receive this benefit of God’s Word, you must let it dwell in you richly. This word richly is the Greek word plousios, and it can be translated lavishly. This presents the picture of you giving the Word of God a wonderful reception as you roll out the red carpet so you can richly and lavishly welcome the Word into your heart. When you let God’s Word have this place of honor inside your heart, mind, and emotions, it releases its power to stabilize you and keep you in peace, even in the most difficult times.
There is no doubt that we are living in the very end of the last days. We are a chosen generation — and we will observe events that no other generation has ever seen.
If you are going to keep your heart fear-free so you can live in continual peace, you must make a firm commitment to let God’s Word rule in your heart! God’s Word will protect your mind and prohibit fear from worming its way into your emotions and turning you into an emotional mess. Is God’s Word the foundation of your life today?
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I am so thankful that Your Word prepares us for every event that comes along in this life! I know I am living in the last days and that these challenging times require a higher level of commitment from me if I am going to live free from fear. This is such a critical moment for me to be strong, free, and secure. When I am strong, I can be a tower of strength to others who are drowning in the world around me. Help me be that source of strength and power to the people who surround me, Lord. I want to be all that I need to be in this hour.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that God’s Word dominates my mind, my will, and my emotions! Because I have put God’s Word into my heart, I am not shaken or easily moved by the things that occur in the world around me. I know who I am; I am secure in my Father’s love; and I recognize that He destined me to live in these last days because He has a special plan for me. Regardless of what I see or hear, I take my stand on the promises of God’s Word, and it provides me with safety and security!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. In light of the world events that have occurred in recent years, how pertinent for you are Paul’s words in Second Thessalonians 2:2? Does it sound like Paul is writing about the nonstop traumatic events that have shaken the world over the past several years?
2. If it is true that we are living in the last days just before the coming of Jesus Christ, how should this affect the manner in which you are living your life?
3. Do you spend more time reading your Bible, reading the newspaper, or watching the news? Whatever you dwell on the most is what will dominate you, so isn’t it time that you make God’s Word the primary focus of your attention?