chapter  4
10 Pages

The structure of 2 Thessalonians

We shall now discuss the structure of 2 Thessalonians, that is, the main divisions of the letter, the way each of its parts has been built, and the relationship between these parts. If we want to gain a clear understanding of the message the author of the letter communicates to his readers, we have to investigate the literary means he has used to organize his message. In such an investigation, we have to take into account the literary genre of the letter (especially that of the Pauline letter) with its own conventions, the formal literary features of the text such as antithesis or repetition of words, phrases or ideas, and the content of the letter. From the letter pattern of 2 Thessalonians, it is clear that 1.1-2 constitute the epistolary prescript, and that 3.17-18 certainly belong to the letter-closing.