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2 Thessalonians 3:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

With quietness they work - Μετα ἡσυχιας· With silence; leaving their tale-bearing and officious intermeddling. Less noise and more work!

That - they work, and eat their own bread - Their own bread, because earned by their own honest industry. What a degrading thing to live on the bounty or mercy of another, while a man is able to acquire his own livelihood! He who can submit to this has lost the spirit of independence; and has in him a beggar's heart, and is capable of nothing but base and beggarly actions. Witness the great mass of the people of England, who by their dependence on the poor rates are, from being laborious, independent, and respect able, become idle, profligate, and knavish; the propagators and perpetrators of crime; a discredit to the nation, and a curse to society. The apostle's command is a cure for such; and the Church of God should discountenance such, and disown them.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus … - A more solemn command and appeal to do what he had before enjoined on all of them; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; see the notes on that verse.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Those who have received the gospel, are to live according to the gospel. Such as could work, and would not, were not to be maintained in idleness. Christianity is not to countenance slothfulness, which would consume what is meant to encourage the industrious, and to support the sick and afflicted. Industry in our callings as men, is a duty required by our calling as Christians. But some expected to be maintained in idleness, and indulged a curious and conceited temper. They meddled with the concerns of others, and did much harm. It is a great error and abuse of religion, to make it a cloak for idleness or any other sin. The servant who waits for the coming of his Lord aright, must be working as his Lord has commanded. If we are idle, the devil and a corrupt heart will soon find us somewhat to do. The mind of man is a busy thing; if it is not employed in doing good, it will be doing evil. It is an excellent, but rare union, to be active in our own business, yet quiet as to other people's. If any refused to labour with quietness, they were to note him with censure, and to separate from his company, yet they were to seek his good by loving admonitions. The Lords is with you while you are with him. Hold on your way, and hold on to the end. We must never give over, or tire in our work. It will be time enough to rest when we come to heaven.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 347-8

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 347.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 267

“Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” “The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” AA 267.1

The work of the believers had been given them by God. By their faithful adherence to the truth they were to give to others the light which they had received. The apostle bade them not to become weary in well-doing, and pointed them to his own example of diligence in temporal matters while laboring with untiring zeal in the cause of Christ. He reproved those who had given themselves up to sloth and aimless excitement, and directed that “with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” He also enjoined upon the church to separate from their fellowship anyone who should persist in disregarding the instruction given by God's ministers. “Yet,” he added, “count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” AA 267.2

This epistle also Paul concluded with a prayer that amidst life's toils and trials the peace of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ might be their consolation and support. AA 268.1

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