1 Thessalonians 4:11

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11 Using Other Translations

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.

What does 1 Thessalonians 4:11 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Thessalonians 4:11

And that ye study to be quiet
To live peaceably in their own families, and to give no disturbance to other families, by talebearing, whispering, and backbiting; to behave with quietness in the neighbourhood, town, or city, they dwell in, and to seek the peace thereof; and to lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, in the commonwealth, and under the government to which they belong; and not to create and encourage factions, divisions, animosities, and contentions, in their own church, or in any of the churches of Christ; and it becomes saints to make this their study, to be very solicitous for it, to strive for it, and pursue after it: the word used signifies to be ambitious of it, as what is a man's glory and honour, to emulate and strive to outdo each other, as who shall have the honour of being the quietest person, and the most peaceable member in the community:

and to do your own business:
or private business, or what is proper and peculiar to a man's self; to abide every man in his own calling wherein he is called, and attend the business of it, and not thrust himself into other families, and officiously take upon him, under a pretence of zeal, affection, and friendship, to inspect, direct, or manage the business of others: in short, he should not meddle with other people's business, but mind his own: and this is what the Jews call (Ura Krd) , "the way of the earth", or the business of life:

``there are four things, (they say F1) in which a man should employ himself continually, with all his might, and these are they, the law, and good works, and prayer, and the business of life;''

upon which the gloss has this note by way of explanation,

``if a man is an artificer (let him attend) to his art; if a merchant to his merchandise, and if he is a soldier to war;''

and which may serve to illustrate the apostle's sense:

and to work with your own hands;
the reason of this is, because there were some among them, who would not work at all; see ( 2 Thessalonians 3:11 ) and by this instruction it appears, that the members of this church, in common, were such as were brought up to handicraft trades and businesses, and were poor and mean; and this was the general case of the primitive churches: it pleased God to choose and call the poor of this world, to whom the Gospel was preached, and they received it; few of the rulers among the Jews believed in Christ, and not many mighty, rich, or noble among the Gentiles were called; some there were, and in this church there were some of the chief women of the city, ( Acts 17:4 ) , and though these and others of the better sort, as well as ministers of the Gospel among them, who laboured in the word and doctrine, were not obliged by this to perform manual work and labour, yet were not exempted from all concern in the exhortation; it being proper and necessary, that all sorts of persons be employed in one sort of business or another, and to use diligence and application in it: the apostle's view being chiefly to inveigh against sloth and idleness, and to exhort to labour and industry as the most effectual method to preserve peace and quietness, and to keep persons from being troublesome and hurtful, in families, churches, and commonwealths: the reasons enforcing this follow in this and the next verse,

as we commanded you;
and the command of an apostle carries weight and authority with it, and ought to be obeyed; yea, they not only strictly enjoined a diligent application to business, but set them an example themselves, see ( 1 Thessalonians 2:9 ) ( 2 Thessalonians 3:7 2 Thessalonians 3:8 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F1 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 32. 2.
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