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THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 10

Verse 10. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you. It would seem from this that the evil of which the apostle here complains had begun to operate even when he was with them. There were those who were disposed to be idle, and who needed the solemn command of an apostle to induce them to labour.

That if any would not work, neither should he eat. That is, at the public expense. They should not be supported by the church. This was a maxim among the Jews, (see Wetstein, in loc.;) and the same sentiment may be found in Homer, Demosthenes, and Pythagoras. See Grotius, in loc. The maxim is founded in obvious justice, and is in accordance with the great law under which our Creator has placed us, Ge 3:19. That law, in the circumstances, was benevolent, and it should be our aim to carry it out in reference to ourselves and to others. The law here laid down by the apostle extends to all who are able to work for a living, and who will not do it, and binds us not to contribute to their support if they will not labour for it. It should be regarded as extending

(1.) to the members of a church—who, though poor, should not be supported by their brethren, unless they are willing to work in any way they can for their own maintenance.

(2.) To those who beg from door to door, who should never be assisted unless they are willing to do all they can do for their own support. No one can be justified in assisting a lazy man. In no possible circumstances are we to contribute to foster indolence. A man might as properly help to maintain open vice.

{e} "that if any" Ge 3:19

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