Be Not Weary In Well Doing

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 Further, he taught that brothers who persist in taking advantage and refusing to work should be withdrawn from, in the sense of not keeping company together.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.

Scripture References

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.

Unblameable in Holiness Through Love

Holiness, or being sanctified, is being set apart in service to God, and it is an essential part of a believer’s life. It is ultimately His work in us, but involves our change from sinfulness to righteousness in our day to day lives. According to Paul, becoming “unblameable in holiness” happens through abounding in love one toward another, and toward all.

Scripture References

Primary Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:11-4:8

Hebrews 12:14, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 6:17-23, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 John 2:3-4, John 8:32, John 15:12, John 13:33-35

Notes to Consider

Ye should abstain from fornication (4:3) 

Like many words, fornication can have a broad or narrow meaning, depending on the context. In this case, the immorality involved would be present whichever way the word is used, so it makes sense to think of it as covering any behavior that is sexually immoral.

Possess his vessel in sanctification and honour (4:4)

Vessel, here, probably refers in a general way to the body. Our body is the Lord’s, but it is given to us to direct and care for during our lifetime. So, this essentially means to control yourself, such that your body is fit for the master’s use. See 2 Timothy 2:16 and 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

The Lord is the avenger of all such (4:6)

The Lord is the one who carries out justice. The meaning is probably not that the Lord will avenge when we defraud someone else in the church, but the broader idea that the Lord will right all wrongs, even those where we think no one is harmed or no one will find out

Lust of concupiscence (4:5)

Desire or craving for what is forbidden. The human tendency to want things one is not permitted to have or do things one is not permitted to do.

He that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God (4:8)

Despise typically means “count as nothing” in the Bible. So, this essentially means: If you think what I’m saying is not worth listening to, it is not really me you are disregarding (Paul, the man). You are disregarding God, because He is teaching us this.

10,000 Talents and 100 Pence

Believers are forgiven a vast debt that we could never repay, so we should be willing to forgive others for the ways they have trespassed against us.

Primary Text

Matthew 18:21-19:1

Definitions

Forgive: Stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting, healing (not hurting anymore), or showing mercy (releasing someone from consequences of their actions).

Denarius (Denarii): An ancient Roman silver coin. Thought to have been the value of one day’s work for a common unskilled laborer during the first century.

Penny (Pence): In this context, one denarius. 100 pence was roughly equivalent to the wages for 100 days of unskilled labor.

Talent: In this context, an amount of money equivalent to 6,000 denarii. 10,000 talents was roughly equivalent to the wages for 60 million days of unskilled labor. 

Scripture References

Romans 5:6-8, Isaiah 53:4-6, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Matthew 6:14, Colossians 3:12-13, Ephesians 4:30-3219