a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Request for Prayer


Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, 2and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 4And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Warning against Idleness

6 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

14 Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. 15Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

Final Greetings and Benediction

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.

17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

14 If any one obeys not. He has already declared previously, that he commands nothing but from the Lord. Hence the man, that would not obey, would not be contumacious against a mere man, but would be rebellious against God himself; 727727     “Ce n’eust point contre vn homme mortel qu’il eust addresse son opiniastre et rebellion;” — “It would not have been against a mortal man that he had directed his stubbornness and rebellion.” and accordingly he teaches that such persons ought to be severely chastised. And, in the first place, he desires that they be reported to him, that he may repress them by his authority; and, secondly, he orders them to be excommunicated, that, being touched with shame, they may repent. From this we infer, that we must not spare the reputation of those who cannot be arrested otherwise than by their faults being exposed; but we must take care to make known their distempers to the physician, that he may make it his endeavor to cure them.

Keep no company. I have no doubt that he refers to excommunication; for, besides that the (ἀταξία) disorder to which he had adverted deserved a severe chastisement, contumacy is an intolerable vice. He had said before, Withdraw yourselves from them, for they live in a disorderly manner, (2 Thessalonians 3:6.) And now he says, Keep no company, for they reject my admonition. He expresses, therefore, something more by this second manner of expression than by the former; for it is one thing to withdraw from intimate acquaintance with an individual, and quite another to keep altogether aloof from his society. In short, those that do not obey after being admonished, he excludes from the common society of believers. By this we are taught that we must employ the discipline of excommunication against all the obstinate 728728     “Et endurcis;” — “And hardened.” persons who will not otherwise allow themselves to be brought under subjection, and must be branded with disgrace, until, having been brought under and subdued, they learn to obey.

That he may be ashamed. There are, it is true, other ends to be served by excommunication — that contagion may spread no farther, that the personal wickedness of one individual may not tend to the common disgrace of the Church, and that the example of severity may induce others to fear, (1 Timothy 5:20;) but Paul touches upon this one merely — that those who have sinned may by shame be constrained to repentance. For those that please themselves in their vices become more and more obstinate: thus sin is nourished by indulgence and dissimulation. This, therefore, is the best remedy — when a feeling of shame is awakened in the mind of the offender, so that he begins to be displeased with himself. It would, indeed, be a small point gained to have individuals made ashamed; but Paul had an eye to farther progress — when the offender, confounded by a discovery of his own baseness, is led in this way to a full amendment: for shame, like sorrow, is a useful preparation for hatred of sin. Hence all that become wanton 729729     “Tous ceux qui se desbordent et follastrent;” — “All those that break out and become wanton.” must, as I have said, be restrained by this bridle, lest their audacity should be increased in consequence of impunity.

VIEWNAME is study