Peace — 2 Thess 3:16

The prayers of Paul

This is a series on the prayers of St Paul found in the letters attributed to him in the order he is believed to have written them. Letters to the same place or person will be treated together with the first letter to that destination.


This prayer for peace is not the last word in prayer to the Thessalonian church, that would be, in verse 18, a prayer for God’s grace to be with them. I have dealt with the starting and ending of Paul’s letters when I wrote about the letter to the Galatians. Grace is a very important topic in the teaching of Paul, it goes through all of Paul’s teaching, thins like judgement, forgiveness and repentance are all part of grace in the way Paul taught. See here for the post on grace.

Amadores beach, Gran Canaria, Spain at sunset.

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESVUK


This is a prayer for peace, but the context, taken from the words between the previous prayer and this one, is discipline and the context of discipline is the family.

There is not much talk of discipline in churches these days, which is understandable. In far lesser things than people being executed as heretics by the Inquisition, the church has gone beyond its authority to discipline. In much more recent times stories of psychological, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse have been swept under the carpet and the victims blamed, only to be exposed later. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the last Lambeth Conference that there was no part of the Anglican church, regardless of churchmanship or theology, that has not been tainted by abuse.

The abuse can happen because we are wrong about what church discipline should be. It is in the context of family, we discipline children because we love them, we do everything in our power to grow up as a family, which includes welcoming family members back after their discipline. It also means we should be transparent. Let our discipline be seen. Let it be fair and seen to be fair. Too much damage has been done.

It follows that a prayer following talk of discipline should be for peace because the context for discipline is family and a family needs peace. Paul is the Apostle of grace it is said, and grace gets a mention at the end of this letter, but in 2 Thessalonians peace gets a more prominent mention because peace is what is needed when discipline is a problem. Not the peace that will make those you disagree with be quiet, but the peace of being a family that gets on with each other despite disagreement.

Discipline is hard. It is during difficult times we need peace.

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