2 Thessalonians 3:10
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."

New Living Translation
Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat."

English Standard Version
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Berean Study Bible
For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: "If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat."

Berean Literal Bible
For even when we were with you, we were commanding you this, that "if anyone is not willing to work, neither let him eat."

New American Standard Bible
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

King James Bible
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: "If anyone isn't willing to work, he should not eat."

International Standard Version
While we were with you, we gave this order: "If anyone doesn't want to work, he shouldn't eat."

NET Bible
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: "If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat."

New Heart English Bible
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For when we were with you, we had commanded you this, that no one who is unwilling to work shall eat.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
While we were with you, we gave you the order: "Whoever doesn't want to work shouldn't be allowed to eat."

New American Standard 1977
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For even when we were with you, this we declared unto you, that if anyone desires not to work neither should he eat.

King James 2000 Bible
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

American King James Version
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

American Standard Version
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

Darby Bible Translation
For also when we were with you we enjoined you this, that if any man does not like to work, neither let him eat.

English Revised Version
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat.

Webster's Bible Translation
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

Weymouth New Testament
For even when we were with you, we laid down this rule for you: "If a man does not choose to work, neither shall he eat."

World English Bible
For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat."

Young's Literal Translation
for even when we were with you, this we did command you, that if any one is not willing to work, neither let him eat,
Study Bible
Warning against Irresponsibility
9Not that we lack this right, but we wanted to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat.” 11Yet we hear that some of you are leading undisciplined lives and accomplishing nothing but being busybodies.…
Cross References
1 Thessalonians 3:4
Indeed, when we were with you, we kept warning you that we would suffer persecution; and as you know, it has come to pass.

1 Thessalonians 4:11
and to aspire to live quietly, to attend to your own matters, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.
Treasury of Scripture

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

when.

Luke 24:44 And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while …

John 16:4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, …

Acts 20:18 And when they were come to him, he said to them, You know, from the …

that.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to …

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of …

Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall …

Proverbs 21:25 The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor.

Proverbs 24:30-34 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man …

1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and …

(10) For even.--The sequence of thought is a little difficult, but it seems best to regard this "for" as connecting its sentence, not with 2Thessalonians 3:9, but rather with 2Thessalonians 3:6. It does not give the reason why St. Paul and his companions worked: "because we strictly enjoined you to work, and therefore could not be idle ourselves." Rather, it justifies the reiteration of the command: "We do not hesitate to command you now to repress this disorderly conduct, so contrary to the example set you; for, in fact, when we were with you we used to lay down this law." So Theodoret takes it: "It is no new thing that we write to you."

We commanded.--The tense in the original is that of constant re-assertion, which brings out once more the thorough grounding which the Apostles gave at once to their converts. (See Note on 2Thessalonians 3:6 : "the tradition;" also the Note on 2Thessalonians 2:5.) The same definite precept is referred to in 1Thessalonians 4:11.

If any would not work.--The word "would" stands for "is not willing," "refuses." To any weakness or incapacity for work, except in himself, St. Paul would be very tender; the vice consists in the defective will. The canon (in the original) is laid down in the pointed form of some old Roman law like those of the Twelve Tables: "If any man choose not to work, neither let him eat." It does not mean, "let him leave off eating," putting it to the man's own conscience to see the necessary connection between the two things (Genesis 3:19); but, "let him not be fed." The Thessalonians are not to be misled into a false charity: giving food in Christ's name to persons who are capable of working and able to get work, and are too indolent to do so. The support which is here forbidden to be given to these disorderly persons might come either direct from the private liberality of individuals, or from some collected church fund administered by the deacons. It does not seem at all impossible that this Thessalonian Church, which St. Paul himself declares to have taken the churches of Judaea for a model (1Thessalonians 2:14), may have copied its model in adopting some form of communism, or, at any rate, some extensive use of the agap which we see to have been in use at Corinth, established by the Apostle at the very time of writing this Letter (1Corinthians 11:21). Such a supposition would give much more point to St. Paul's canon, as well as to other phrases in both these Epistles, and would enable us to understand better how this discipline could be actively enforced. That the ordinary agape was a matter of considerable importance to the poorer classes is evident from 1Corinthians 11:22.

Verse 10. - For even when we were with you; during our residence in Thessalonica. This we commanded, that if any man would not work, neither should he eat. This or similar expressions have been shown to be a proverb in frequent use among the Jews. Thus: "Whoever doth not work doth not eat" ('Bereshith Rabba'); "Let not him who would not labour before the sabbath eat on the sabbath" ('In Lib. Zenon.'). It is a law of nature, and the apostle here sanctions it as a law of Christianity. There is here a reference to the sentence pronounced on man in Paradise in consequence of disobedience: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Genesis 3:19). Labour, indeed, may in one point of view be considered as part of the curse, but it is also a blessing adapted to man's fallen nature. Labour is the law of God; idleness is the parent of many crimes and is productive of misery. He who has no business allotted to him ought to choose some useful occupation for himself. For even when we were with you,.... At Thessalonica in person, and first preached the Gospel to them,

we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat; the Ethiopic version reads in the singular number, "when I was with you, I commanded you"; using the above words, which were a sort of a proverb with the Jews, and is frequently used by them, , or , "that if a man would not work, he should not eat" (q). And again (r),

"he that labours on the evening of the sabbath (or on weekdays), he shall eat on the sabbath day; and he who does not labour on the evening of the sabbath, from whence shall he eat (or what right and authority has he to eat) on the sabbath day?''

Not he that could not work through weakness, bodily diseases, or old age, the necessities of such are to be distributed to, and they are to be taken care of, and provided with the necessaries of life by the officers of the church; but those that can work, and will not, ought to starve, for any assistance that should be given them by the members of the church, or the officers of it.

(q) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 14. fol. 13. 1. Echa Rabbati, fol. 48. 4. & Midrash Koholet, fol. 65. 4. (r) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 1. 10. For even—Translate, "For also." We not only set you the example, but gave a positive "command."

commanded—Greek imperfect, "We were commanding"; we kept charge of you.

would not work—Greek, "is unwilling to work." Bengel makes this to be the argument: not that such a one is to have his food withdrawn from him by others; but he proves from the necessity of eating the necessity of working; using this pleasantry, Let him who will not work show himself an angel, that is, do without food as the angels do (but since he cannot do without food, then he ought to be not unwilling to work). It seems to me simpler to take it as a punishment of the idle. Paul often quotes good adages current among the people, stamping them with inspired approval. In the Hebrew, "Bereshith Rabba," the same saying is found; and in the book Zeror, "He who will not work before the sabbath, must not eat on the sabbath."3:6-15 Those who have received the gospel, are to live according to the gospel. Such as could work, and would not, were not to be maintained in idleness. Christianity is not to countenance slothfulness, which would consume what is meant to encourage the industrious, and to support the sick and afflicted. Industry in our callings as men, is a duty required by our calling as Christians. But some expected to be maintained in idleness, and indulged a curious and conceited temper. They meddled with the concerns of others, and did much harm. It is a great error and abuse of religion, to make it a cloak for idleness or any other sin. The servant who waits for the coming of his Lord aright, must be working as his Lord has commanded. If we are idle, the devil and a corrupt heart will soon find us somewhat to do. The mind of man is a busy thing; if it is not employed in doing good, it will be doing evil. It is an excellent, but rare union, to be active in our own business, yet quiet as to other people's. If any refused to labour with quietness, they were to note him with censure, and to separate from his company, yet they were to seek his good by loving admonitions. The Lords is with you while you are with him. Hold on your way, and hold on to the end. We must never give over, or tire in our work. It will be time enough to rest when we come to heaven.
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Alphabetical: a anyone eat either even For gave give he If is man not order rule shall then this to used we were when will willing with work you

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