I don’t know when I started it, or who it was that influenced me to do it, but I have always translated 2 Thessalonians 3;1 as “That the word of the Lord may speed on and conquer”. The ladies of the LWML, always sharp about such things asked me where that quote comes from and when we looked it up together the translations were to say the least, different. That got me a little bit worked up and so I went back and checked it out, and I cannot find a translation like that although I have to admit that I haven’t looked too thoroughly.
I went back and did something even better. I checked out the original words. The word I translated “speed on” what has the connotation of an athlete who is so focused on the finish line, striving so hard to get there, that he goes as fast as
he can to get the race finished in the shortest amount of time he can. I imagine the guy at the end of the race spreading himself out and lunging forward to break the ribbon at the finish. So speed on is actually a pretty good translation.
The word that I translate as “conquer” is a bit more difficult. It basically means to glorify, or to attain a place of honor. Now back in the day when Paul was writing very often glory and honor came about because of conquest. If you can conquer your, enemies you got fame, glory and honor and sometimes you even got a triumph. A triumph was a parade with your enemies and all the spoils of war walking ahead of you. Paul alludes to the triumph for Christ whose enemies, death and the devil are paraded before him is he rides in as a conquering hero. Christ the defeat of our enemies is something for which we offer him glory. God gives Him glory because he defeated those things that would keep us away from our heavenly Father‘s home. The church gives Him honor when we worship Him in spirit and in truth and receive the gifts that He wants us to have because He conquered everything to make us His possession. The Word of God is the means that God uses to conquer and win souls for His Kingdom.
Thanks for the questioning of a translation. It leads to some great insights and a further study of the Word. It might be one of the ways that it speeds on and conquers.