Monday, October 8, 2012

2 Thessalonians 3

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Pray for Us (v. 1-5)

Pray for us so that we will be successful in spreading the word to others as we have spread it to you.

Warning Against Idleness (v. 6-15)

Everyone should work for their own benefit, if someone is unwilling to work for themselves he should not eat. Do not associate with a brother who is idle, but also do not consider him an enemy, but instead warn him as a brother.

This section I like, I agree that everyone should pull their own weight. I had one concern at the start, which is that some people are simply less capable and need help. I know Jesus is a fan of helping those in need, and with almost no searching found some evidence of that. I was concerned that this section might contradict that message and basically say "every man for himself".  But this was answered in verse 10 where it specifically says we are talking about people who are not willing to work. That's enough for me, we are not talking about refusing to help the needy, we are talking about refusing to help the lazy.

I also like that the section closes by saying not to consider these people enemies. It is saying that we don't like what the guy is doing, don't hang out with him anymore and don't follow his lead, but also don't treat him as an enemy. A very reasonable take, I like it.

One final thing I will mention, in verse 9 Paul mentions that they didn't take anyone's bread without paying for it even though it was their right. They did this because they wanted to lead by example. I mention this because at first glance it sounds quite strange, why is it his right? On one hand, I think that it is probably custom to feed the travelling preachers, especially if you like what they are saying. They are teachers in a sense, and maybe it is reasonable to expect to be fed. Perhaps that is the standard way of paying them? Maybe they were offered food and refused it to show this lesson. But maybe they just didn't take it by force and this is spin. Wild conjecture, I know, but it crossed my mind and I thought it worth mentioning.

Benediction (v. 16-18)

Just a closing.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


3:10 Don't help those unwilling to work (presumably so you can instead help those who can't work)

"...If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat."


  1. Good passage...I think it is one that often gets lost by the current crop of Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists.

    I very much agree with your distinction of "willing to work" vs. "not able to work". There is a huge difference between those two groups. Well done Haus.

    1. Thanks RB. I definitely agree with you about the right wing. These kinds of policies are difficult to get balanced right. You want to set things up so you help everyone who needs it and don't waste any of your resources on freeloaders. It's going to be impossible to get things set up perfectly, if you truly help everyone who needs it you will surely pick up some freeloaders, but if you make sure to eliminate all freeloaders you will also exclude some people in need. So the question is where you want to focus your attention and how you want to balance things. It seems the right wing spends all of its time blaming the 'lazy freeloader' and they don't seem particularly concerned about making sure everyone who needs it gets help.

  2. I like your analysis as well, this chapter does have some good stuff to pull from it.


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