christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

2 thessalonians 3, the example of godly conduct

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Read 2 Thessalonians 3 at Bible Gateway.

Most of this chapter forms its own chiastic structure:

2 The 3:4-16
1a) 2 The 3:4-6,
— 1a.1) 2 The 3:4, We have confidence that you do and will do the things we command you;
— 1a.2) 2 The 3:5, May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God + patience of Christ;
— 1a.3) 2 The 3:6, Withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, not according to our tradition;
1b) 2 The 3:7-8, We were not disorderly but worked night + day to provide our own bread;
central axis) 2 The 3:9, We have authority, but make ourselves an example for you to follow;
2b) 2 The 3:10-12, Those who walk disorderly must instead work and eat their own bread (chiasm);
2a) 2 The 3:13-16,
— 2a.1) 2 The 3:13, But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good;
— 2a.3) 2 The 3:14-15, Note him who does not obey our word and do not keep company with him;
— 2a.2) 2 The 3:16, May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.

Paul and Timothy had the authority to expect the Thessalonians to provide for their daily needs while they were ministering among them. But rather than use their authority, they worked night and day to provide for themselves, so as not to be a burden on the Thessalonians. The apostles did this to give the Thessalonians an example of godly conduct to follow. Because the God we serve is God the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who provides for His own as a father his children, we work six days to provide for our needs, and rest on the seventh, returning Him worship for His care and provision of us. We are not idle busybodies who expect anyone else to provide for us other than God, by blessing the work of our hands, as we do all, whatever we do, as unto the Lord.

This was such an important point, that Paul commanded the Thessalonians to withdraw from any brother who, being able to work, would not. This admonition does not only apply to brothers, but women who do not need to work outside the home in order to pay bills, still ought to have the work of their hands to occupy them as a help mate to their husbands. Cooking, cleaning, managing a household, sewing, gardening, or any other useful art, ought to be pursued so they do not spend their days as busybodies, walking disorderly, but instead in the honorable pursuits of the Proverbs 31 woman.

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