Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to continue in brotherly love more and more, while at the same time commanding those who would misuse Christian generosity to work and provide for themselves. Further, he taught that brothers who persist in taking advantage and refusing to work should be withdrawn from, in the sense of not keeping company together. Yet, this should be done so as to warn and help brothers learn to help themselves, not to treat brothers as enemies.
Primary Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-16
Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:37-40, John 13:34, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 John 3:18, 1 Timothy 5:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 26:17, Galatians 6:2, Galatians 6:9-10
Notes to Consider
These two passages discuss the same subject.
Both stress the apostolic command to work, and associate it with providing for yourself (eating your own bread or having lack of nothing) and not being overly involved in the personal affairs of others. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 appears to be a first attempt to correct a problem, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-16 appears to be an additional attempt to correct that same problem with increased severity.
And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business (1-4:11)
Study to be quiet means to strive earnestly to live a quiet, peaceful life. Working with quietness in 2 Thessalonians 3:12 would mean much the same thing. Business refers to your own personal affairs (rather than a literal business), as in mind your own business. A busybody would be someone who doesn’t mind their own business.
Walking disorderly (2-3:6, 2-3:7, 2-3:11)
Disorderly is translated from a Greek word that means for a soldier to be out of ranks. It had come to be used as an idiom meaning someone unwilling to work. In much the same way, “deadbeat” was used during the American Civil War to refer to a soldier out of ranks, but it later came to mean a person unwilling to work. Unruly in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 also comes from this word, so warn the unruly there has the same meaning as warn those that are walking disorderly (in terms used in 2 Thessalonians 3:6).
Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly (2-3:6)
This is not about withdrawing fellowship from brothers over disagreements. It specifically means to withdraw yourself from brothers who are refusing to work (despite ability and opportunity) and misusing the generosity of the church. Have no company with him in verse 14, along with the command to eat their own bread, implies that this “withdrawing from” literally has to do with keeping company together socially (as in sharing a meal).
Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2-3:15)
Along with that he may be ashamed in verse 14, this indicates that the end goal is to help the brother and not drive him away. Admonish (or warn) seems to indicate communication. Warn him and set a boundary on his bad attitude and behavior so that he will feel convicted and change. Think James 5:19-20.