The book of 2 The forms its own chiastic structure:
2 The 1:1-3:18
1a) 2 The 1:1-2, Greeting + grace and peace;
1b) 2 The 1:3, Your faith grows exceedingly + love abounds toward each other;
1c) 2 The 1:4-5, We boast of you/ patience + faith in persecutions + tribulations;
1d) 2 The 1:6-12,
— 1d.1) 2 The 1:6-10a, God’s righteous recompense for those who trouble you;
— 1d.2) 2 The 1:10, Because our testimony among you was believed;
— 1d.3) 2 The 1:11-12, We pray always for you + your calling + work of faith + Jesus glorified + grace;
central axis) 2 The 2:1-10, Coming of Jesus Christ + revelation of man of sin + mystery of lawlessness;
2d) 2 The 2:10b-3:3,
— 2d.2) 2 The 2:10b-12,They did not love or believe the truth that they might be saved;
— 2d.3) 2 The 2:13-17, We give thanks always for you + called + glory of our Lord + grace + good works;
— 2d.1) 2 The 3:1-3, Prayer for deliverance from the unreasonable and wicked;
2c) 2 The 3:4-5, We have confidence concerning you/ the love of God + patience of Christ;
2b) 2 The 3:6-15, Concerning godly conduct/ withdraw from those who do not obey;
2a) 2 The 3:16-18, Benediction + peace and grace.
The matching pairs surrounding the B pair force the B pair together, but for some time I had believed I had the structure wrong, because I couldn’t understand how the B pair mirrored each other. The 2B pair is about those who will not work, but are rather busybodies walking disorderly, that they should not eat, and the admonition to the church to withdraw from those, not as enemies, but so that they might be ashamed and admonished as brothers.
In other words, there is a standard of godly conduct which is normal for the church, as we represent the Lord Jesus Christ to the world. The church’s godly conduct reflects the Lord’s worthiness and glory. Therefore withdraw from those who will not obey.
This is paired with the growth of the Thessalonians’ faith and love for each other. 1B is about faith and love, 2B is about conduct and withdrawing. ??? Then I realized, it is because of our modern American culture that we have trouble seeing these as matching pairs. In fact, it is an act of love to withdraw from those who will not obey so that they might be ashamed and admonished as brothers. True love does not let a brother remain in sin and disobedience, because all sin hurts and is destructive. Love abhors sin because there is always someone who gets hurt (in this case, the one who walks disorderly is hurting himself). This message that we are constantly hammered with from our society, that love equals toleration of every evil thing, is a false message.
And in the life of the believer, godly conduct and good works and words, proceed from the heart and increase as faith increases. So the B pairs really are matching pairs.