9. Warning against Idleness (2 Thessalonians 3:6-18)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (28:16)

In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 it sounded like Paul was about to end his letter. But then it seems that he realizes that he must confront another issue that is disrupting the church -- idleness.

The Thessalonian church has struggled with several problems, including persecution, a misunderstanding of Christ's coming, and lax sexual morals. But the problem of idleness didn't give way easily -- overly dependent members who refused to work -- in a word, "freeloaders."[310] They wanted a free ride without paying a fair share.

The problem was unsettling the church. These people had so much time on their hands that they were meddling in others' affairs (3:11) and causing problems, rather than living quiet lives providing for their families (3:12).

Congregations, particularly brand new ones, can become confused. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are told not to be judgmental. We are told to share all things in common. These are the principles. But where are the boundaries? What do we do when a believer takes advantage of the fellowship's generosity without contributing?

Commanded in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (3:6)

Paul had spoken to this situation twice in his first letter (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 and 5:14), but the problem has persisted. In this second letter, Paul is no longer indirect, hoping that the loafers will get the point. Now he speaks with a clear command, speaking with the powerful authority of Jesus Christ himself!

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us." (3:6)

This phrase variously translated "idle" (NIV), "living in idleness" (NRSV), "walketh disorderly" (KJV) -- both here and in verse 11 -- is a combination of the verb parapateō, "walk, conduct oneself" and the adverb ataktos, which means, "not in the proper order."[311]  The related verb, atakteō, is found in verse 7. Originally, it referred to soldiers marching out of order or quitting the ranks, thus it has the idea of "to be neglectful of duty, to be lawless."[312]

Instead of doing their fair share to support themselves and help the poor in the Christian community, these idlers are lazy, hanging around other believers, and then expecting to be asked for dinner and given a place to sleep -- night after night!

"Command" is a strong verb, parangellō, used here and in verses 10 and 12: "to make an announcement about something that must be done, give orders, command, instruct, direct." It is a word used by people in authority -- worldly rulers, Jesus, the apostles, etc.[313]

Paul isn't talking about people who can't earn a living because of sickness, mental instability, age, or infirmity. He isn't talking about widows who have no support, or orphans whose parents have died. He's talking about people who could work, but don't.

Paul's command to the believers is to "keep away" from these lazy people. We'll consider this further when Paul expands on it in 3:14-15.

A Biblical Work Ethic

Paul isn't teaching a so-called "Protestant work ethic" here.[314] Rather he is teaching the concept of taking responsibility for oneself and one's family, a basic concept that is found throughout the Bible. Paul reiterates this concept to Timothy:

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)

Paul ran across laziness elsewhere. In the church of Ephesus he gives instructions to former thieves: Get a job, do something productive, so that you may add to the community, not take away from it.

"He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." (Ephesians 4:28)

Hard work is the norm laid out in Genesis:

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food...." (Genesis 3:19a)

The book of Proverbs especially is pretty hard on "sluggards." Here are some examples:

"Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!" (Proverbs 6:6)

"Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son." (Proverbs 10:4-5)

"The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." (Proverbs 13:4)

"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys." (Proverbs 18:9)

"The sluggard's craving will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing." (Proverbs 21:25-26)

"A sluggard does not plow in season;
so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing." (Proverbs 20:4)

"I went past the field of the sluggard,
past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest --
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man." (Proverbs 24:30-34)

"The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven men who answer discreetly." (Proverbs 26:16)

"If a man is lazy, the rafters sag;
if his hands are idle, the house leaks." (Ecclesiastes 10:18)

Women, too, were responsible to do their share.

"[The capable wife] watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27)

Paul advises Timothy not to put younger women on a list of widows who receive support from the church. Rather they should remarry. It's obvious by his comments that he's seen the result of idle women harming the church because they have too much time on their hands.

 "As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list....  They get into the habit of being idle[315] and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to." (1 Timothy 5:11, 13)

Paul teaches the same lessons to others. To the Ephesian elders, he said:

"You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied[316] my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help[317] the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:34-35)

To the Corinthians he says,

"We work hard with our own hands...." (1 Corinthians 4:12a)

For the believers in Crete, Paul instructed Titus:

"Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives." (Titus 3:14)

The Bible is consistent here. We are to work so that we can care for our own needs, and for those who are weak and can't work. If we don't work, we can expect to pay the consequences, both naturally and socially.

Q1. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15) What does the Bible teach about sloth and idleness among those who can work but refuse to? Summarize it briefly. What is our Christian duty?
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Paul's Example of Earning His Own Living (3:7-9)

Now in 2 Thessalonians (as he had in 1 Thessalonians 2:9), Paul teaches by his own example of working for his food, presumably as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).

"7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example.[318]  We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it.[319] On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow." (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

One's own personal example is powerful. Paul's lifestyle was abundantly clear to the Thessalonian believers. Let's look at the elements of verse 8.

  1. "Toil" (NIV), "labor" (NRSV, KJV), kopos, carries the idea "to engage in activity that is burdensome, work, labor, toil."[320]
  2. "Hardship" (NIV), "toil" (NRSV), "travail" (KJV) is mochthos, "labor, exertion, hardship."[321] Robertson notes that it is an "old word for difficult labor, harder than kopos (toil)."[322] 
  3. "Worked" (NIV, NRSV), "laboring" (KJV) is ergazomai, "to engage in activity that involves effort, work."[323]

Hard work isn't to be avoided or to be ashamed of; it is part of the life of a disciple of Jesus!

Notice that in 3:9,  Paul does not say that all apostles or Christian workers should support themselves! Let's not over interpret this.

"We did this, not because we do not have the right[324] to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow." (3:9)

His purpose is to give the believers an example or model[325] of hard work, not to set a precedent for all Christian workers. To the Corinthians he outlines the case for supporting Christian workers, and reserves his right to be supported for his work in the gospel, while choosing not to exercise it.

"Don't we have the right to food and drink? Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? ... If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ." (1 Corinthians 9:4-5, 12)  

Q2. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9) What kind of example did Paul set  with regard to work when he was in Thessalonica? As a Christian worker, did he have a right to support? Why didn't he exercise that right?
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Paul's Rule: No Work, No Food (3:10)

Paul refers to his example while with them. Now he refers back to his teaching during his short time with the Thessalonians before being ejected from the city. Paul had taught the Bible doctrine of working hard to support one's family outlined above.

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work,[326] he shall not eat.'" (3:10)

Observe four things here.

  1. Persistent sin. The problem of laziness had existed from the church's foundation -- and Paul had taught about it then.
  2. Command. Paul's instruction about work at the founding of the church wasn't just a suggestion, but a command.[327]
  3. Willful sin. The issue is obedience to the Biblical injunction. The lazy believers know what the Bible says, but resist it. The will[328] is at stake here. Paul isn't talking about those who can't find work, those who are homeless against their will, or who are physically or mentally unable to work, but those who have no intention of working to support themselves.
  4. Consequences of actions. Paul commands the believers to step back from continually "bailing out" the lazy people, and let the consequences of their actions teach them what they won't learn otherwise. Don't feed them -- and don't feel guilt about it yourself!

Q3. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) If we were to follow Paul's rule, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat," wouldn't that allow people to starve? It sounds harsh. What are the positive results of this rule? To whom in a Christian community would this rule apply. To whom would it not apply?
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Don't Be Busybodies, but Work Quietly (3:11)

Now Paul makes it clear that to allow this lazy dependency to continue hurts the church:

"11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies.
12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right." (3:11-13)

The laziness is causing two problems in the body.

1. Lazy people become busybodies and meddlers who hurt relationships in the body. Verse 11b includes a play on words that the NIV captures to some extent:

"They are not busy (ergazomai); they are busybodies (periergazomai)."

"Busybodies" is periergazomai, "to be intrusively busy, be a busybody, meddler."[329] Thayer defines it, "to bustle about uselessly, to busy oneself about trifling, needless, useless matters."[330]

Later in his ministry, Paul sees the same problem of busybodies in Ephesus among young widows with time on their hands.[331]

The situation at Thessalonica is serious and must be fixed. That's why Paul can't just hint at a solution. So in verse 12, Paul both uses two strong verbs, "we command (parangellō) and urge ("exhort," KJV, NRSV, parakaleō) in the Lord Jesus Christ" (cf. 3:1, 10).  The command is:

"To settle down and earn the bread they eat." (3:12b)

The phrases "settle down and earn" (NIV), "work quietly" (NRSV), "with quietness work" (KJV) translate three words: the verb ergazomai, "work" (which we've seen several times in this passage), the preposition meta, "with," and the noun hēsychia, "state of quietness without disturbance, quietness, rest," that is, living in a way that does not cause disturbance.[332]  I think that the NIV's "settle down and earn" catches the idea well. These lazy people are stirring up others with their gossipy, busybody behavior. People resent them. The church is disturbed about it. So the lazy people are commanded to begin to work and stop stirring things up. As they begin to work, the dissension in the body will quiet down.

2. Lazy people can "burn out" or discourage church members from being generous and outgoing to the truly needy. The great majority of the believers at Thessalonica, no doubt, earn their own living, but have been putting up with the Christian freeloaders for far too long. They're tired of it. They've worn themselves out trying to do the "loving" thing. Paul wants to encourage them keep on doing good works -- just not to enable the lazy believers among them.

"And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right." (3:13)

"Never tire" (NIV), "do not be weary" (NRSV, cf. KJV) is ekkakeō, "lose heart,"[333] literally, "to be utterly spiritless, to be wearied out, exhausted."[334] Elsewhere, the New Testament exhorts people not to let discouragement immobilize them:

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." (2 Corinthians 4:1)

"I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory." (Ephesians 3:13)

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16)

"Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:3)

"Doing what is right" (NIV, NRSV), "well doing" (KJV)[335] in 3:13 has two aspects in Paul's writings:

(a) Charitable acts to help the needy, following the example of Christ and Paul himself. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats:

"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

Paul told the Ephesian elders,

"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35)

Paul tells the Galatian church,

  "Let us not become weary (ekkakeō) in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."[336] (Galatians 6:9)

(b) Earning a living so you can support your families. Observe how Paul uses the idea in his letter to Titus:

"Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives." (Titus 3:14)

Do Not Associate with Lazy Believers (3:14-15)

When Paul began this section of the letter, he commanded in no uncertain terms:

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us." (3:6)

Paul commands a sort of shunning of the lazy believers who disobey Paul's directive. In verse 6, "keep away" (NIV, NRSV), "withdraw yourselves" (KJV) is stellō, "to keep one's distance, keep away, stand aloof."[337] In verses 14-15 he explains what this partial shunning should consist of.

"14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." (3:14-15)

Paul's instruction, his command, has three elements:

  1. Identify the lazy believers. The first step to solving a problem is to define it -- in this case, note who exactly fits in this category. Perhaps this "marking"[338] was done in a public meeting of the congregation, or maybe by the leaders who passed the word. There are "givers" and there are "takers." The Christian community is a giving fellowship. Perpetual takers don't fit very well.
  2. Don't associate with these lazy believers. The verb means, "mingle, associate with."[339] This is similar to the command to "keep one's distance" in verse 6. The purpose here is not punitive, but to make the lazy person be ashamed of what he is doing. We are not to treat lazy believers as enemies -- they are family, they are brothers.  Paul says, "Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother" (3:15). This isn't as severe a shunning as Paul calls for in Corinth, where a brother was openly and flagrantly sleeping with his step-mother (1 Corinthians 5:9, 11).[340] The Amish shunning that we sometimes hear about goes to the extent of not even talking to or doing business with a person who is shunned by the community. Paul doesn't intend that extent of shunning here.
  3. Warn these lazy believers. The verb means, "to counsel about avoidance or cessation of an improper course of conduct, admonish, warn, instruct."[341] The elders, who are charged with admonishing and correcting (1 Thessalonians 5:12) are probably the ones to do the warning and provide instruction to the lazy believers about how they can regain their status in the community.

I would guess that the shunning in Thessalonica was designed to be mild but clear. You can't come to our fellowship meals. We won't "hang out" with you. When you come by the house to gab, you're turned away politely with, "We're busy working. We don't have time to talk right now." When a lazy believer shows up at dinner time, he is politely but firmly told, "We can't have you for dinner. You know what the leaders of church have said about this...."

Church disciple is difficult to exercise in what is designed to be a community of love. But when exercised lovingly, firmly, and consistently, it can have the effect of removing problems that otherwise stir up and discourage the fellowship. Paul commands the community to do this -- and if they will, they'll be healed. I've observed churches that have no discipline or which are afraid to exercise discipline. Believe me, the lack of disciple is not better! The failure to exercise appropriate and timely discipline is one of the reasons that some of our Christian communities are unhealthy and have stopped growing.

Q4. (2 Thessalonians 3:9-16) Why do so many churches avoid exercising any church discipline? What is the result of a thoughtful and appropriate application of church discipline? What is the result of neglect of church discipline?
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Lessons for Disciples

What are we disciples supposed to learn from this? Paul is encouraging the church to get back on track and not let these lazy people disrupt, discourage, or embitter the group. He exhorts them not to grow weary in doing good -- only to grow wiser.

A congregation, particularly a smaller congregation, can be like an extended family. Healthy families have a way of exercising a degree of discipline. "Uncle Ernie is always dropping in just at dinner time. Next time, don't invite him in." Erring family members aren't invited to family gatherings or parties. Eventually, they get the idea. Either I conform to the standards of this family, or I won't be able to enjoy being part of it. Uncle Ernie isn't treated as a enemy, only he is no longer welcome at meals and to stay the night.

Here are the guidelines given us in the New Testament:

  1. Care for your family members so they don't become dependent upon the church. If you have aged, infirm, or mentally-challenged family members, you take care of them. That's only right.
  2. Everybody who can is expected to do their share to make the family work. Each has different jobs and responsibilities, but each is important to the welfare of the whole.
  3. If a widow or orphan has no family who can take care of them, the congregation can take on that responsibility, but only for those who clearly are unable to take care of themselves. Otherwise, they're expected to remarry or get some kind of job to earn their keep.
  4. If members of the Christian community push these boundaries consistently and become dependent on others, they are to be identified, warned, and kept at a distance until they change their ways.

Of course, Paul's letters are designed to guide Christian communities, not cities, states, or nations. But, if you think about it, most provisions for a "social safety net" follow these guidelines. To the degree that our laws encourage dependency by those who can work and contribute to society, they are either bad laws or administered poorly.

Concluding Words (3:16-18)

Paul concludes the body of the letter with a brief benediction or prayer of blessing for his readers:

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (3:16)

For a church that is under persecution from without and dissention about caring for freeloaders from within, Paul prays that Christ will give them peace.

As you may recall, someone trying to "deceive" (2:3a) the church may have sent a "prophecy, report or letter supposed to have been from us saying that the day of the Lord has already come" (2:2). So in this letter, Paul says:

"I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write." (3:17)

An amanuensis or secretary probably penned the letter as Paul dictated, but the apostle adds a sentence at the very end in his own handwriting to give the Thessalonians assurance that the letter is authentic.

Paul concludes this letter, as he did in 1 Thessalonians and most epistles, with a benediction of grace:

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all." (3:18)

Paul began the letter wishing them grace and peace (1:2). And so he concludes, with a prayer for grace, the unmerited favor of God released through Jesus Christ's death for our sins, our steadfast and sure hope for our futures -- grace.

Prayer

Father, give us wisdom in our churches how to help people in tangible ways without making them dependent. We ask for your grace for people who have been laid off or can't find work. Help your people get good jobs so that they may be a blessing to those less fortunate. Lord, we are utterly dependent upon you. Help us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat.'" (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

End Notes

[310] The English verb "freeload" is "to impose upon another's generosity or hospitality without sharing in the cost or responsibility involved" (Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary).

[311] Ataktos is sometimes used of soldiers who are out of the ranks. Here it is used in the sense of "being out of step and going one's own way, disorderly, insubordinate, "or "idle, indolent" (BDAG 148, 1; Thayer 83.

[312] Atakteō, Thayer 812, b.

[313] Parangellō, BDAG 760.

[314] The concept of the "Protestant work ethic" was introduced by Max Weber, in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904). He argues that Protestants, beginning with Martin Luther, reconceptualized worldly work as a duty which benefits both the individual and society as a whole. According to Weber, the Catholic idea of good works in order to be saved, was transformed into an obligation to work diligently as a sign of grace, the consequence of an already-received salvation (Wikipedia).

[315] "Idle" (which occurs twice in 1 Timothy 5:13) is argos, "pertaining to being without anything to do, unemployed, idle" (BDAG 128, 2).

[316] "Supplied" (NIV), "support" (NRSV), "ministered" (KJV) is hypēreteō, "to render service, serve, be helpful" (BDAG 1033).

[317] "Help" (NIV), "support" (NRSV, KJV),  is antilambanō, "to take someone's part by assisting, take part, come to the aid of" (BDAG 89), from anti-, "requital " +lambanō, "receive," that is, "to take in turn or in return, to receive one thing for another given, to receive instead of" (Thayer 50). Or "to take hold yourselves (middle voice) at the other end (anti)" (Robertson, Word Pictures).

[318] "Follow our example" (NIV), "imitate" (NRSV), "follow" (KJV) in verses 7 and 10 is mimeomai, "to use as a model, imitate, emulate, follow" (BDAG 652). From mimos, "imitator, mimic." (Our word "mimic" comes from this root.)

[319] "Without paying" (NIV, NRSV), "for nought" (KJV), is literally, "not as a gift."

[320] Kopos, BDAG 558, 2.

[321] Mochthos, BDAG 660.

[322] Robertson, Word Pictures.

[323] Ergazomai, BDAG 389, 1.

[324] "Right" (NIV, NRSV), "power" (KJV) is exousia, "authority, warrant." Here it has the nuance, "a state of control over something, freedom of choice, right" (BDAG 352, 1 and 3).

[325] "Model" (NIV), "example" (NRSV), "ensample" (KJV) is typos, which we saw in 1 Thessalonians 1:7, "an archetype serving as a model, type, pattern, model," in the moral life, "example, pattern" (BDAG 1019-1020, 6b).

[326] "Work" is ergazomai, in verse 10 and 11 which we saw above in 3:8b and 1 Thessalonians 2:9 --"to engage in activity that involves effort, work" (BDAG 389, 1).

[327] "Gave ... rule" (NIV), "gave ... command" (NRSV), "commanded" (KJV) is the verb parangellō, which we saw in verse 6 and appears again in verse 12.

[328] "Will not" (NIV), "unwilling" (NRSV), "would not" (KJV) is two words: ou, "not" and the verb thelō, "desire," here, "to have something in mind for oneself," of purpose, resolve, "will, wish, want, be ready" to do something (BDAG 448, 2).

[329] Periergazomai, BDAG 800.

[330] Periergazomai, Thayer 502. The preposition peri- that makes the compound verb carries the idea, "'beyond,' because that which surrounds a thing does not belong to the thing itself but is beyond it" (Thayer 502, III, 2). Liddell-Scott sees the basic sense as "take more pains than enough about a thing, waste one's labor on it," with our sense following, "meddle with, be a busybody."

[331] "They get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to" (1 Timothy 5:13). "Idle" is argos "pertaining to being without anything to do, unemployed, idle" (BDAG 128, 1). "Gossips" (NIV, NRSV), "tattlers" (KJV) is phlyaros, "gossipy," fromphlyō, "to babble" (BDAG 1060).

[332] Hēsychia, BDAG 446, 1.

[333] Ekkakeō, BDAG 303.

[334] Ekkakeō, Thayer 195. This is a compound verb from ek-, here with the idea of "utterly, entirely" (ek, Thayer, 192, VI, 6) + kakos, "to be bad or weak," by implication, to fail in heart, faint, be weary (Strong).

[335] "Doing what is right" (NIV, NRSV), "well doing" (KJV) is the verb kalopoieō, "do what is right, good" (BDAG 504). It is a compound verb from "do" +"good." More often, the thought is expressed by Paul with the verb poieō and the neuter of the adjective or pronoun agathos, "good" (high worth, value)" or kalos, "good" (high level of usefulness) (poieō, BDAG 840, 2e).

[336] "Do not give up" (NIV, NRSV), "faint not" (KJV) in Galatians 6:9 is eklyō, "be exhausted in strength, become weary, give out" (BDAG 306).

[337] Stellō, BDAG 942, 1. In Homer and other ancient Greek literature it is used in the active sense, "make ready, send" (as in the root of apostellō, "to send"). But in the New Testament and the Septuagint stellō is only in the middle voice. In ancient Greek you see the sense, "gather up, make compact," especially as a nautical term, "furl, take in." In a medical sense it can mean "restrict one's diet," also, "avoid," which is the idea in our verse and 2 Corinthians 8:20 (Liddell-Scott, IV, 4).

[338] "Take note" (NIV, NRSV), "note" (KJV) is sēmeioō, "note down, write." Here it is used figuratively, "to take special notice of, mark" (BDAG 923, 2).

[339] Synanamignymi, BDAG 965. Literally, the compound verb means "to mix up together." From syn-, "with" +ana-, "over again" +mignumi, "mix, mingle."

[340] Karl H. Rengstorf (sēmeion, ktl., TDNT, 200-269) comments, "The shunning probably applies to spiritual fellowship or common meals, not to everyday matters."

[341] Noutheteō, BDAG 679.

 


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