Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2
March 20, 2016
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to imitate us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 neither did we eat bread for nought at any man's hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you:
9 not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you, that ye should imitate us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat.
11 For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.
14 And if any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed.
15 And [yet] count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
- I. The Awareness of the Thessalonians.
- A. Is intensive: "you, yourselves".
- B. Is comprehensive: "you, yourselves, are fully aware".
- C. Is specific: "how it is necessary".
- D. Is particular: "mimic us because we did not act in a disorderly way among you". Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon says the predominant idea is "laziness"; that the verb means to refuse to work at anything.
- II. The Apostolic Example.
- A. The verse (3:8) begins with "Neither...".
- 1. The straightforward implication is that "we did not act in a disorderly manner among you, neither..." is addressing two different issues, though not unrelated.
- 2. The implication is that the assumptions of Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon are weak: the verb does not mean "lazy"; it means unwilling to conform to legitimate patterns. Paul as much as says this in his prior description of the "disorderly" as "not [walking] after the tradition which he received of us". The "tradition" is the "legitimate pattern" and the refusal to conform is "disorderly".
- 3. That there is a "relationship" between the issues exists because Paul goes on to say that the "tradition" that he passed on was one of "working diligently so as not to burden someone else". That the "disorderly" are refusing to work does not, ipso facto, means "laziness"; it may simply mean "unwilling to put oneself out for his/her own needs" for any number of reasons.
- B. Paul says they did not "eat gift-bread from anyone". In other words, meals were not accepted as gifts. The implication is that Paul did not see the Thessalonians as "rich", easily able to afford to feed him and his ministry team. This is the second declaration; the first being 1 Thessalonians 2:9.
- 1. The first issue: working diligently to provide one's own bread.
- a. With "laborious toil" (Logos Library). The uses in the New Testament run a spectrum from having others criticize what you have done (Matthew 26:10) to having someone bang on your door after you have gone to bed (Luke 11:7) to having to work late into the night because you need to be able to buy food.
- b. With "hardship" (Logos Library). The word is only used three times in the New Testament. It builds the idea of having to go to significant lengths to accomplish a task.
- 2. The second issue: a goal of not being a "burden".
- a. The issue of "burden" is the issue of being "of significant weight." It is used without the intensifying preposition in six contexts, three of which use it to explain why people were going to sleep when they ought to have been alert ("heavy" eyelids).
- b. Thus, the relative poverty of the Thessalonians is obvious; feeding someone is not a major "burden", or even a minor one, for those who are wealthy [note 2 Corinthians 8:1-2].
- III. The Point: To Set Up An Example to be Followed.
- A. Paul initially said "...it is necessary for you to mimic us..." (3:7) and then he said "we made ourselves an example to you to mimic us..." (3:9).
- B. This is rooted in the fact that Paul and his ministry team did not have to do this.
- 1. They "had authority" to insist that the believers meet their physical needs while they were involved in the work of the ministry. In 1 Corinthians 9:14 he wrote, "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel".
- 2. But he also wrote in that same context "...when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel" (9:18). This is simply a choice he made so that others could not charge him with "preaching for money" (i.e., "godliness is a way to gain" -- 1 Timothy 6:5 ASV). The up side of his decision is that he set an example of putting others first; the down side of his decision is that he allowed others to put themselves first and shirk their "debt" to those who bring them eternal good news and make it possible for them to inherit eternal life.