Christian Theology and Apologetics

A Quick Note on the Parousia of Christ.

The Below is an excerpt from my Thesis currently in work and as such is copyrighted material.

1 Thess. 2.19. F.F. Bruce comments, “This is the earliest occurrence in literature of παρουσια in its distinctive Christian sense of the advent of Christ in glory.”[1] In this passage, Paul considers his spiritual children as his joy (χαρά) or crown (στέφανος).[2] The Thessalonian community came to faith as a result of Paul’s ministry and as such he considers them his crown, because at the parousia, he would be rewarded for his efforts in bringing them to faith. Hence, judgment was expected at Christ’s parousia.

Paul also mentioned this occasion of reward to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul states that there is laid up for him a “crown of righteousness” which he will be rewarded on “that day, ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ.” Paul uses the term ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ precicely in another passage in connection with the judgement of Christ (cf. 2 Tim. 1:18). Moreover, in 1 Thess. 1:5-10, Paul links “that day, τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ” with the judgment of unbelievers. In Paul’s understanding, judgment is to be expected at the parousia of Christ, for believers and unbelievers correspondingly.

Another passage which theologically parallels 1 Thessalonians 2:19 is 2 Corinthians 1:14. In this passage Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the source of his boasting “in the day of our Lord Jesus, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ.” The expression, “ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ” also occurs in 1 Corinthians 1:8. Paul says to the Corinthians that they would be confirmed until the end blameless “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

With 1 Cor. 1:8 in mind, David E. Garland states the following:

“The day of the Lord Jesus” refers to the Parousia, which Christians associated with the day        of judgment found in the Old Testament (see Isa 13:6, 9; Ezek 13:5; Amos 5:18; Joel 2:1; Obad 1:15; Zeph 1:14). Paul identifies it as the time when God judges an individual’s motives (1 Cor 4:3–5). Boasts can only be fully realized on the day of the Lord, when God’s judgment reveals who we are and what our work was (see 1 Cor 3:12–15).[3]

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude as Garland has in the above, that Paul understood the “day of the Lord Jesus Christ” and the parousia of Christ to be tantamount to one another.

[1]. Bruce, F. F. Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 45, 1&2 Thessalonians. Waco: Word Books, 1982.

[2]. In a similar fashion, Paul also called the other believers his “joy or crown,χαρὰ ἢ στέφανος” (Phil. 4:1).

[3]. Garland, David E. 2 Corinthians, vol. 29, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 93.


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