For we hear that there are some - It is very likely that St. Paul kept up some sort of correspondence with the Thessalonian Church; for he had heard every thing that concerned their state, and it was from this information that he wrote his second epistle.
Disorderly - Ατακτως· Out of their rank - not keeping their own place.
Working not at all - Either lounging at home, or becoming religious gossips; μηδεν εργαζομενους, doing nothing.
Busybodies - Περιεργαζομενους· Doing every thing they should not do - impertinent meddlers with other people's business; prying into other people's circumstances and domestic affairs; magnifying or minifying, mistaking or underrating, every thing; newsmongers and telltales; an abominable race, the curse of every neighborhood where they live, and a pest to religious society. There is a fine paronomasia in the above words, and evidently intended by the apostle.
For we hear - It is not known in what way this was made known to Paul, whether by Timothy, or by some other one. He had no doubt of its truth, and he seems to have been prepared to believe it the more readily from what he saw when he was among them.
Which walk disorderly - See the notes, 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
But are busy-bodies - Compare the 1 Timothy 5:13 note; 1 Peter 4:15 note. That is, they meddled with the affairs of others - a thing which they who have nothing of their own to busy themselves about will be very likely to do. The apostle had seen that there was a tendency to his when he was in Thessalonica, and hence he had commanded them to “do their own business;” 1 Thessalonians 4:11. The injunction, it seems, had availed little, for there is no class of persons who will heed good counsel so little as those who have a propensity to intermeddle with the affairs of others. One of the indispensable things to check this is, that each one should have enough to do himself; and one of the most pestiferous of all persons is he who has nothing to do but to look after the affairs of his neighbors. In times of affliction and want, we should be ready to lend our aid. At other times, we should feel that he can manage his own affairs as well as we can do it for him; or if he cannot, it is his business, not ours. The Greek word used occurs only here, and in 1 Timothy 5:13; compare the notes on Philemon 2:4.
The watchful Christian is a working Christian, seeking zealously to do all in his power for the advancement of the gospel. As love for his Redeemer increases, so also does love for his fellow men. He has severe trials, as had his Master; but he does not allow affliction to sour his temper or destroy his peace of mind. He knows that trial, if well borne, will refine and purify him, and bring him into closer fellowship with Christ. Those who are partakers of Christ's sufferings will also be partakers of His consolation and at last sharers of His glory. AA 261.1
“We beseech you, brethren,” Paul continued in his letter to the Thessalonians, “to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” AA 261.2
The Thessalonian believers were greatly annoyed by men coming among them with fanatical ideas and doctrines. Some were “disorderly, working not at all, but ... busy-bodies.” The church had been properly organized, and officers had been appointed to act as ministers and deacons. But there were some, self-willed and impetuous, who refused to be subordinate to those who held positions of authority in the church. They claimed not only the right of private judgment, but that of publicly urging their views upon the church. In view of this, Paul called the attention of the Thessalonians to the respect and deference due to those who had been chosen to occupy positions of authority in the church. AA 261.3Read in context »
Before he became a disciple of Christ, Paul had occupied a high position and was not dependent upon manual labor for support. But afterward, when he had used all his means in furthering the cause of Christ, he resorted at times to his trade to gain a livelihood. Especially was this the case when he labored in places where his motives might have been misunderstood. AA 347.1
It is at Thessalonica that we first read of Paul's working with his hands in self-supporting labor while preaching the word. Writing to the church of believers there, he reminded them that he “might have been burdensome” to them, and added: “Ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:6, 9. And again, in his second epistle to them, he declared that he and his fellow laborer while with them had not eaten “any man's bread for nought.” Night and day we worked, he wrote, “that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 9. AA 347.2
At Thessalonica Paul had met those who refused to work with their hands. It was of this class that he afterward wrote: “There are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” While laboring in Thessalonica, Paul had been careful to set before such ones a right example. “Even when we were with you,” he wrote, “this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Verses 11, 12, 10. AA 347.3Read in context »