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THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 4 - Verse 11

Verse 11. And that ye study to be quiet. Orderly, peaceful; living in the practice of the calm virtues of life. The duty to which he would exhort them was that of being subordinate to the laws; of avoiding all tumult and disorder; of calmly pursuing their regular avocations, and of keeping themselves from all the assemblages of the idle, the restless, and the dissatisfied. No Christian should be engaged in a mob; none should be identified with the popular excitements which lead to disorder and to the disregard of the laws. The word rendered "ye study" (filotimeomai,) means, properly, to love honour, to be ambitious; and here means the same as when we say, "to make it a point of honour to do so and so." Robinson, Lex. It is to be regarded as a sacred duty; a thing in which our honour is concerned. Every man should regard himself as disgraced who is concerned in a mob.

And to do your own business. To attend to their own concerns, without interfering with the affairs of others. See Barnes "Php 2:4"; Comp. 2 Th 3:11; 1 Ti 5:13; 1 Pe 4:15.

The injunction here is one of the beautiful precepts of Christianity so well adapted to promote the good order and the happiness of society. It would prevent the impertinent and unauthorized prying into the affairs of others, to which many are so prone, and produce that careful attention to what properly belongs to our calling in life, which leads to thrift, order, and competence. Religion teaches no man to neglect his business. It requires no one to give up an honest calling, and to be idle. It asks no one to forsake a useful occupation unless he can exchange it for one more useful. It demands, indeed, that we shall be willing so far to suspend our ordinary labours as to observe the sabbath; to maintain habits of devotion; to improve our minds and hearts by the study of truth; to cultivate the social affections, and to do good to others as we have an opportunity; but it makes no one idle, and it countenances idleness in no one. A man who is habitually idle can have very slender pretensions to piety. There is enough in this world for every one to do, and the Saviour set such an example of untiring industry in his vocation, as to give each one occasion to doubt whether he be his true follower if he be not disposed to be employed.

And to work with your own hands, as we commanded you. This command is not referred to in the history, (Ac 17) but it is probable that the apostle saw that many of those residing in Thessalonica were disposed to spend their time in indolence, and hence insisted strongly on the necessity of being engaged in some useful occupation. Comp. Ac 17:21. Idleness is one of the great evils of the heathen world in almost every country, and the parent of no small part of their vices. The effect of religion everywhere is to make men industrious; and every man, who is able, should feel himself under sacred obligation to be employed. God made man to work, (Comp. Ge 2:15; 3:19,) and there is no more benevolent arrangement of his government than this. No one who has already enough for himself and family, but who can make money to do good to others, has a right to retire from business and to live in idleness, (Comp. Ac 20:34; Eph 4:28;) no one has a right to live in such a relation as to be wholly dependent on others, if he can support himself; and no one has a right to compel others to labour for him, and to exact their unrequited toil, in order that he may be supported in indolence and ease. The application of this rule to all mankind would speedily put an end to slavery, and would convert multitudes, even in the church, from useless to useful men. If a man has no necessity to labour for himself and family, he should regard it as an inestimable privilege to be permitted to aid those who cannot work—the sick, the aged, the infirm. If a man has no need to add to what he has for his own temporal comfort, what a privilege it is for him to toil in promoting public improvements; in founding colleges, libraries, hospitals, and asylums; and in sending the gospel to those who are sunk in wretchedness and want! No man understands fully the blessings which God has bestowed on him, if he has hands to work and will not work.

{d} "to do your own business" 1 Pe 4:15

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