2 Thessalonians 3:7 MEANING

2 Thessalonians 3:7
(7) For justifies the assertion that they had received a better teaching. (Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 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 1 Thessalonians 2:9, "for labouring," &c.; 1 Thessalonians 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.

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.

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,.... 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.

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