Over the past few years, I have collected about two dozen commentaries on 1-2 Thessalonians for my research. Some of them are good, some are mediocre. A few are truly excellent – for example, Howard Marshall’s NCB volume is a classic. Also, F.F. Bruce’s work never gets old for me. Still, many commentaries come and go and few leave a lasting impression on scholarship.
Well, the case is quite different with Jeffrey Weima’s 2014 BECNT commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians (Baker). This is the most thoroughly-researched, soundly-argued evangelical academic commentary to date, and it will serve students and pastors well for a very long time. Weima has spent a lifetime researching these letters and there is hardly a soul in the world (perhaps Karl Donfried is a rare exception!) who knows these letters and the history of their study better.
I have been impressed time and time again with Weima’s careful argumentation and his attention to details: linguistic, exegetical, historical, etc. Here are some areas where I think Weima shines:
1 Thess 2:1-12 as defensive/apologetic – Weima offers a strong defense for this somewhat traditional view (against, e.g. Malherbe).
1 Thess 2:7a – Weima makes a good case for reading nepioi as original (infants)
1 Thess 4:4 – Weima argues soundly that skeuos (vessel) does not mean wife. He prefers the “sexual organ” interpretation, which I am amenable to, but I personally prefer “body.”
2 Thess 2 – few scholars really understand rhetorically why Paul raises the whole issue of the Man of Lawlessness. Weima has a great read on how Paul is crafting an argument and comforting/exhorting his readers.
2 Thess 3 -the ataktoi as rebellious-idlers.
The one area where I don’t think Weima has made a strong case is in his appeal to “peace and security” as a Roman slogan, or representing Roman protection ideology. Whether or not Paul’s phrase fits a Roman slogan, this kind of reference to Roman securitas does not fit the context of 1 Thess 5. But Weima is in the majority of scholars on this issue (and I am “the odd man out,” so to speak), so he is running on a well-trodden path.
If I were collecting commentaries on the New Testament (e.g,. as a pastor), Weima’s would be at the top of my list for 1-2 Thessalonians. There is no question about it. As I complete my 1-2 Thessalonians commentary, Weima’s work has been an important teacher, companion, and dialogue partner.