2 Thessalonians 3:7
For yourselves know how you ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) For justifies the assertion that they had received a better teaching. (Comp. 1Thessalonians 2:1; 1Thessalonians 4:9; 1Thessalonians 5:2.)

To follow us.—The word, of course, means “to imitate”; and the rather compressed expression seems to stand for something fuller, such as, “Yourselves know how you ought to live, for you have but to imitate us: you recollect not only a tradition, but an example.” This is better than (with St. Chrysostom) to make the whole “tradition” consist of example without precept, however such an interpretation might simplify the logic.

For (or because).—Historical justification of the statement that their example was a trustworthy mode in this particular, at any rate: see the same use of “for” in 1Thessalonians 2:9, “for labouring,” &c.; 1Thessalonians 4:3. It is perhaps simpler, however, to translate the word “that,” instead of “for “: “You know perfectly how to live—how to imitate our example—that we never,” &c. Then follows a description of the Apostles’ conduct at Thessalonica similar to that in the First Epistle, thus giving us a clearer understanding why they dwelt so long and so passionately upon the topic there—namely, in order by force of tacit, contrast to shame the disorderly brethren into imitation.

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.For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us - You know what you should do in order to imitate us.

For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you - See the notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:10.

7. how ye ought to follow us—how ye ought to live so as to "imitate (so the Greek for 'follow') us" (compare Notes, see on [2457]1Co 11:1; [2458]1Th 1:6). Whereby the apostle intimates the aggravation of their crime who did walk disorderly, and so justifies the withdrawing from them. For they would be reproved not only by his doctrine, but example: what he required of others he practised himself, and that in some cases for this end alone, that he might be an example; examples teaching more than precepts, especially in ministers. And they did not only know how the apostle and his fellow ministers walked among them, but their end therein, whereby they knew they ought to follow them, and how to follow them; being guided as well as excited by their example. And this is expressed more generally. First, negatively:

We behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, which he speaks not in a way of self-commendation, but for their imitation; and he useth here the same word to express his own practice which he did in theirs, being properly a military word, as was said before. He went before them as it captain before the army, and taught them order by his own example; for in the negative the positive is included. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us,.... The apostle goes on to dissuade from that which denominates persons disorderly walkers, and exposes them to the censure of the church, and that partly by the example of the apostles, and partly by their command. He appeals to them, to their knowledge and judgment, it being a thing well known to them, that they ought to walk as they had the apostles for ensamples; for who should they follow but their spiritual fathers, shepherds, and guides? and especially so far as they were followers of Christ, as they were, in the case referred unto, working with their own hands:

for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; they could appeal to them as witnesses, and God also, how holily, justly, and unblamably they walked among them; see 1 Thessalonians 2:10 and particularly, that they did not live an idle and inactive life among them.

{6} For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

(6) Lest he might seem to deal harshly with them, he sets forth himself as an example, who besides his travail in preaching, laboured with his hands, which he says he was not bound to do.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 3:7. Confirmation of κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν, ἣν παρελάβοσαν. The instruction imparted was sufficiently known to the readers: what Paul commanded, he practically exhibited by his own conduct.

αὐτοί] ye yourselves, without it being necessary for me to speak much about it.

πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς] a concise expression, meaning: What is your incumbent walk, and how, in consequence of it, ye will be my imitators.

ὅτι] for. Unnaturally, Hofmann: ὅτι is to be translated by that, and is added as a parallel expression to πῶς δεῖ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς, in which also 2 Thessalonians 3:9 is absorbed.

ἀτακτεῖν] equal to ἀτάκτως περιπατεῖν, 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Only here in the N. T.7. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us] Lit., imitate us: see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:6; and again, ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:14, and 2 Thessalonians 3:9 below. you know of yourselves—“without our needing to tell it all again.” Such references are frequent in these Epistles; see note on 1 Thessalonians 2:1.

How you ought to imitate us” points beyond the mere duty to the spirit and manner of the imitation desired—“with what diligence and devotion.”

for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you] This “for” differs from that at the beginning of the verse; it is a specifying for—giving not a reason for what has just been said, but a definition of its meaning: in that we did not play a disorderly part among you. The readers’ attention is called to this feature of the missionaries’ conduct, and imitation is recommended. There is a meiosis (or litotes) in the expression, resembling that of 2 Thessalonians 3:2, and of 1 Thessalonians 2:15 (see notes). “Far indeed was our walk from giving an example of disorder!” How far, the next line shows.

To-be-disorderly (a single verb in the Greek) is a word applied to soldiers out of rank. Officers in the army are as much subject to its discipline as the rank and file; and the Apostle Paul felt it to be due to the Churches over which he presided, that he should set an example of a strictly ordered and self-denying life.2 Thessalonians 3:7. Πῶς) [‘how’] in what manner of living?Verse 7. - For yourselves know; without it being necessary for me to say anything about the matter; ye yourselves are witnesses. How ye ought to follow (or, imitate) us; better, perhaps, to be restricted to Paul than used as inclusive of Silas and Timothy. For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; referring to the apostle's residence in Thessalonica. Follow (μιμεῖσθαι)

Better, imitate. Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.

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