2 Thessalonians 3:14
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And if any man,—An appeal to the rightminded, not only to persevere themselves, but to join with the overseers of their Church in enforcing discipline, as in 1Thessalonians 5:12-15.

By this epistle.—Rightly rendered. The marginal version, “by an Epistle,” is impossible, for in the Greek the definite article appears. It might, if the context suited, be attached to the following clause, instead of the foregoing, and translated, “by means of the Epistle signify that man,” meaning “in your answer.” But there is nothing to show that St. Paul was expecting any answer; and, for another thing, he has given them full directions for dealing with the case themselves, so that it would be superfluous to send the particulars to St. Paul. For several other weighty reasons it is best to attach the words to the hypothetical clause; and the sense will be, “There can be no excuse now. It was possible to forget or misinterpret our verbal tradition, painstaking and definite though it was; possible also to ignore the example which we set; but now you have it in black and white, and the man who does not submit to our directions in this form must be visited severely.” There are at least three places besides this in St. Paul’s writings where “the Epistle” stands absolutely for “the present Epistle,” viz., Romans 16:22; Colossians 4:16; 1Thessalonians 5:27; possibly a fourth might be added, 1Corinthians 5:9; only once in a very clear context it refers to a former Letter (2Corinthians 7:8).

Note that man.—The reflexive voice of the verb implies mutual warning against him: “Agree to set a mark upon him, to make a marked man of him.” The notion is that of making him easily recognisable, so that no Christian should “have company” with him unawares. (Comp. Genesis 4:15.) The word and the thought in Romans 16:17 are slightly different. The best text goes on abruptly, without conjunction: “Note that man; have no company with him.” This social extrusion from good men’s conversation, not to speak of the Sacraments, would, to a Christian in a heathen city, be indeed a delivering to Satan, a thrusting into outer darkness.

That he may be ashamedi.e., put to shame. Comp. 1Corinthians 6:5; 1Corinthians 15:34; Titus 2:8; and (for the end to be served by this shame) the first clause of the Commination of Sinners.

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.And if any man obey not our word by this epistle - Margin, "or signify that man by an epistle." According to the marginal reading this would mean "signify, mark out, or designate that man to me by an epistle." The difference is merely whether we unite the words "by the epistle" with what goes before, or what follows. The Greek would admit of either construction (Winer, p. 93), but it seems to me that the construction in the text is the correct one, because:

(1) the requirement was to proceed to discipline such a man by withdrawing from him;

(2) in order to do this it was not necessary that the case should be made known to Paul, for there was no supposable difficulty in it, and the effect would be only needless delay;

(3) Paul regarded the right of discipline as residing in the church itself, and did not require that cases should be referred to him to determine; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 5:2-4.

(4) though the Greek will admit of either construction, yet it rather favors this; see Oldhhausen, in loc. Note that man. The word here used, means to mark; to sign; to note with marks; and the idea is, set such a mark upon him that he shall be shunned; that is, withdraw all Christian fellowship from him.

And have no company with him - The Greek word here means, to mix up together; then to mingle together with; to have contact with. The idea is that they were not to mingle with him as a Christian brother, or as one of their own number. They were not to show that they regarded him as a worthy member of the church, or as having a claim to its privileges. The extent of their discipline was, that they were to withdraw from him; see the 2 Thessalonians 3:6 note, and Matthew 18:17 note; compare 2 John 1:10-11.

14. note that man—mark him in your own mind as one to be avoided (2Th 3:6).

that he may be ashamed—Greek, "made to turn and look into himself, and so be put to shame." Feeling himself shunned by godly brethren, he may become ashamed of his course.

Here we have further commandments given concerning the disorderly; in case of obstinacy, to proceed further against them. The apostle had given commandments about their walking in his first preaching to them, after that he repeats them in his First Epistle, and again in this Second.

And now if any man obey not our word by this epistle, saith he, note that man; and he would have none excepted, either through fear or favour, and nothing done by partiality, 1 Timothy 5:21. What is meant by noting is disputed among expositors; more seems to be meant than marking them, Romans 16:17. Some take it for what we call excommunication; so Aug. lib. 3, Cont. Epist. Parmen. cap. 4. Theophyl. in locum; either the casting him out of the church, which is the greater, or suspension from the Lord’s supper, which is the lesser. As there were degrees of church censure among the Jews, so also we read practised in the gospel church, as is evident in the councils. Others think it is no more than a withdrawing from him, as was mentioned before, 2 Thessalonians 3:6; but then the apostle saith the same thing over again, which seemeth needless. And he speaks here of some greater contumacy than before, when his word in this Second Epistle is not obeyed. We may suppose the apostle may mean not only a withdrawing from familiarity with him, but exposing his name to some public notice in the church, that both his crime and his name should be publicly noticed; as the apostle speaks of Hymeneus and Alexander, and Philetus, by name in his Epistles that were made public. shmeiousye, note him by a sign, as the word signifies, which cannot well be done by a mere withdrawing. And seeing he speaks here of one that is not only disorderly, but obstinate, some further and more signal act of discipline is to be inflicted on him. And what word the apostle refers to in this Epistle as not obeyed is not expressed, neither need we limit it, but it may be meant of all his commandments herein, to which obedience was required. And the word, as written, is the word of God, and is to be obeyed as well as that which is preached. I know there is another reading of the text: If any man obey not our word, note that man by an epistle; and so it is in our margins. But this is not probable. By an epistle? To whom? To the apostle himself? And for what? To know how to proceed towards such a one? What need that, when he here gives direction about it to them; which follows.

And have no company with him; or be not mingled with him, which refers either to his crime, as the Greek word is so applied, Ephesians 5:11, or to his person also, as the word is used, 1 Corinthians 5:9. And yet some think the apostle here forbids only civil communion, not sacred, because the word in the text is generally so used, and so rendered by expositors; but sacred communion is expressed in the New Testament by another word, 1Jo 1:3. And if meant of sacred, it is then casting him out of the church, which is a delivering him up to Satan: see Estius in loc. And that seems not to agree with what follows:

Admonish him as a brother; and so not to be accounted as a heathen or a publican, Matthew 18:17. And we know admonition goes before casting out. But to be thrust out of the company of the people of God in all civil, friendly society, is a great punishment and affliction. And some think, that the noting of him was to be done by the governors of the church, and the renouncing his company, by all the people: let the reader judge.

That he may be ashamed: the end of both is here expressed. This is not added before as a reason of withdrawing, and therefore some think the apostle required that only to avoid the infection of sin by familiar society; but this further proceeding here mentioned is to make the man ashamed that is obstinate in disobedience; but we need not so limit it. And this making him ashamed is not to be out of hatred to his person, but for his good, as all church censures ought to be so intended, to bring him to that shame that may be the first step to true repentance. There is a shamefulness in sin; and when sinners repent, they see it, and are ashamed, Isaiah 1:29 Ezekiel 16:61 Romans 6:21; and God complains of sinners when not ashamed, Jeremiah 3:3. Shame is a natural affection in men, and is not in the nature of beasts, neither was it in man before the fall; and though in itself it is no virtue, being the proper effect of sin, yet it is of use to restrain much open wickedness, and to keep decorum in men’s outward actions: and God makes use of it also in leading men to true repentance. To shame men out of envy or hatred is sinful, and against the law of charity; but to do it to bring them to repentance, is better than by flattery or familiar society to harden them in sin.

And if any man obey not our word,.... Of command, to work quietly, and eat his own bread, now signified "by this epistle", particularly in 2 Thessalonians 3:12,

note that man; some read this clause in connection with the preceding phrase, "by this epistle", or by an epistle; and so the Ethiopic version, "show", or "signify him by an epistle"; that is, give us notice of it by an epistle, that we may take him under our cognizance, and severely chastise him, according to the power and authority given us by Christ; but that phrase rather belongs to the preceding words: and the clause here respects the notice the church should take of such a person; not in a private way, or merely by way of admonition and reproof, such as is given before rejection from communion; but by the black mark of excommunication; lay him under censure, exclude him from your communion, put a brand upon him as a scabbed sheep, and separate him from the flock; and so the Syriac version renders it, "let him be separated from you" and this sense is confirmed by what follows,

and have no company with him; as little as can be in common and civil conversation, lest he should take encouragement from thence to continue in his sin, and lest others should think it is connived at; and much less at the Lord's table, or in a sacred and religious conversation, or in a way of church fellowship and communion:

that he may be ashamed; that he may have his eyes turned in him, as the word signifies, and he may be brought to a sight and sense of his sin, and be filled with shame for it, and loath it, and himself on the account of it, and truly repent of it, and forsake it; and this is the end of excommunication, at least one end, and a principal end of it, to recover persons out of the snare of the devil, and return them from the error of their ways: so the Jews say (s),

"in matters of heaven (of God or religion), if a man does not return privately, they "put him to shame" publicly; and publish his sin, and reproach him to his face, and despise and set him at nought until he returns to do well.''

(s) Maimon, Hilch. Deyot, c. 6. sect. 8.

{11} And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no {12} company with him, {13} that he may be ashamed.

(11) Excommunication is a punishment for the obstinate.

(12) We must have no familiarity or fellowship with the one who has been excommunicated.

(13) The end of the excommunication is not the destruction, but the salvation of the sinner, that at least through shame he may be driven to repentance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 3:14. Διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς] is, by Nicolas de Lyra, Luther, Calvin, Musculus, Hemming, Bullinger, Lucius Osiander, Balduin, Grotius, Calovius, Clericus, Sebastian Schmid, Bengel, Moldenhauer, Zachariae, Koppe, Krause, Pelt, Winer, p. 108 [E. T. 147], and others, united with what follows. It is usually explained: If any obey not my word, note that man to me in writing, sc. in order that I may direct what punishment is to be inflicted on him. But this interpretation is to be rejected—(1) on account of the article τῆς, which, if unforced, can only denote a definite epistle lying before them, not an epistle to be written only at a later period; (2) as the inversion of the words: διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε, instead of the natural order: τοῦτον διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς σημειοῦσθε, would not be justified; (3) lastly, because it is very improbable that Paul should still have retained for himself a statement of the punishment, as he has already in 2 Thessalonians 3:6 stated the mode of punishment, and again repeated it in this verse, commanding them to withdraw from the society of every brother acting contrary to his admonitions. But interpretations in this connection, as that of Bengel: “notate notâ censoriâ, hanc epistolam, ejus admonendi causa, adhibentes eique inculcantes, ut, aliorum judicio perspecto, se demittat,” or that of Pelt: “eum hac epistola freti severius tractate,” alter the idea of the verb σημειοῦσθαι. We are obliged to unite διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς with τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν. So, correctly, Chrysostom, Clarius, Estius, Piscator, Andrew Osiander, Aretius, Menochius, Vorstius, Cornelius a Lapide, Beza, Fromond., Hammond, Nat. Alexander, Joachim Lange, Harduin, Whitby, Benson, Bolten, Flatt, Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bloomfield, Alford, Ewald, Bisping, Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 80 [E. T. 92]; Hofmann, Riggenbach, and others. It was not necessary to repeat the article τῷ before διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, because τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς is blended into the unity of the idea of a written command. Comp. Winer, p. 123 [E. T. 169]. ἡ ἐπιστολή denotes the definite Epistle, i.e. our Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:27; Romans 16:22; Colossians 4:16); and the command expressed by that Epistle is the admonition in 2 Thessalonians 3:12. The meaning is: But if any one acts contrary to my prohibition repeated in this Epistle, note that man, i.e. mark him, sc. in order to avoid intercourse with him (comp. 1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11), and thereby to bring him to shame (and amendment); as Paul, explaining himself, expressly adds: καὶ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθε αὐτῷ, ἵνα ἐντραπῇ. This meaning also remains, if, instead of the Receptus καὶ μὴ συναναμίγνυσθε, we read, with Lachmann and Tischendorf 1, after A B D* א, the infinitive μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι, only the form of expression being changed.

ἐντραπῇ] is passive, not middle (Pelt). Comp. Titus 2:8; 1 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 6:5; 1 Corinthians 15:24.

2 Thessalonians 3:14. διὰ τ. ἐπ., implying that the matter ends with this letter (Weiss); Paul has spoken his last word on the subject. With this and the following verse, cf. Did. xv. 3 (ἐλέγχετε δὲ ἀλλήλους μὴ ἐν ὀργῇ ἀλλʼ ἐν εἰρήνῃ, ὡς ἔχετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ· καὶ παντὶ ἀστοχοῦντι κατὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου μηδεὶς λαλείτω μηδὲ παρʼ ὑμῶν ἀκουέτω, ἕως οὗ μετανοήσῃ).—ἐντραπῇ, “be ashamed” (= αἰδεῖσθαι as often).

14. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle] More strictly, But if any one obeys not, &c. As the writer passes, by a contrasting But in 2 Thessalonians 3:13, from the disorderly fraction to the well-conducted majority of the Church, so he returns again from the latter to the former, in order to give his final directions concerning them. “Obeys not” (indicative): the Apostle is not providing for a contingency, but dealing with the existing case. The matter is put, according to the Greek epistolary idiom, from the standpoint of the readers. The letter has been read to the assembled Church; the disorderly have received the Apostle’s message; some acknowledge their fault, and submit; others—one or more—are still refractory; and he tells the Church how it must now proceed.

“Our word through the Epistle,”—i.e. what we say by this letter. Word and Epistle were distinguished in ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15, here identified; the letter has the force and authority of the writer’s spoken word (see note on ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

note that man, and have no company with him] Better reading: note that man, that ye have no company with him (R.V.); i.e., “mark him as a man with whom you are not to associate,”—literally, not to be mixed up with him: comp. the use of the same verb in 1 Corinthians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:11. The “noting,” one imagines, would be effected by publicly naming the culprit in the Church as one disobedient to the Apostle’s command.

This “mark” set on the obstinate breaker of rule is intended for his good—to the end that he may be ashamed (R.V.), or abashed. This is all the punishment desired for him. If shame is awakened in him, when he finds himself condemned by the general sentiment and left alone, this may be the beginning of amendment. Compare the directions given in the extreme case of offence at Corinth, 2 Corinthians 2:6-8. The door for repentance is left wide open.

2 Thessalonians 3:14.[30] Διὰ τῆς ἐπιστολῆς τοῦτον σημειοῦσθε, note this man by (this) letter) This same epistle is meant; comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:27, where the article has the same demonstrative meaning: σημειοῦσθε, mark, with a note of censure; using this epistle for the sake of admonishing him, and inculcating it upon him. Comp. ויהיו לנם, καὶ ἐγενήθησαν ἐν σημείῳ (said of Korah and his company), and they became a sign, Numbers 26:10. The signification of the verb ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΓΜΑΤΊΖΕΙΝ is akin to this. It may be done to others either by letters, if they are in a foreign land, or face to face, if present. This diversity of circumstances does not alter the meaning.—ἽΝΑ ἘΝΤΡΑΠῇ) that, having seen the judgment of others (respecting him), he may humble himself [be ashamed, Engl. Vers.]. נכנעו they humbled themselves, 2 Chronicles 12:7.

[30] Τῷ λόγῳ ἡμῶν, our word) already spoken, ver. 10.—V. g.

Verse 14. - And if any man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man. Some attach the words, "by this Epistle," to" note that man," and render the clause, "Note that man by an epistle to me." Thus Calvin: "He desires that they may be reported to him, that he may reprove them by his authority." So also in the margin of our A.V.: "Signify that man by an epistle." But the presence of the article denoting a definite Epistle, "this Epistle," and the order of the words in the Greek, are against this interpretation. Others render the clause, "Note that man by this Epistle;" point out to him the injunctions and the warnings which are contained in it against such a line of conduct; but such a meaning is too artificial. It is better, therefore, to attach the words, "by this Epistle," to "our word," as in the A.V.: "If any man obey not our word by this Epistle." "Note that man;" that is, set a mark upon him, note him for the sake of avoidance, excommunicate him from your society. And have no company with him. Exclude him from your fellowship meetings, your love feasts. That he may be ashamed; the design or object of thus noting him. As if the apostle had said, "Bring the force of Christian opinion to bear upon him. Show your moral indignation by excluding him from the Christian community." The noting or excommunicating was more of the nature of a correction than of a punishment, and its design was the reclaiming of the offender. 2 Thessalonians 3:14By this epistle

Connect with our word. The message we send in this letter. Not, as some, with the following words, note that man in your epistle.

Note (σημειοῦσθε)

N.T.o. Lit. set a mark on. The nature of the mark is indicated in the next clause.

Have no company with (μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι)

Po. See on 1 Corinthians 5:9.

Be ashamed (ἐντραπῇ)

See on Matthew 21:37, and see on 1 Corinthians 4:14.

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