April 08, 2021 – Thursday
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NKJV
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
At first this verse may seem harsh and a form of punishment for every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. And in a sense, it is as it will hopefully lead such believers to repent and rejoin their brothers and sisters in the church. However, in another sense, it is to protect the believers in the church who walk orderly and according to the tradition which was received from us. If you are wondering how that can be, I refer you to my Mother who told us kids hundreds of times, Birds of a feather flock together or another favorite of hers, You are known by the company you keep.
All too often those who are disorderly or idle and disruptive do their best to influence others to behave in a like manner. Perhaps this is why Paul did not simply write We command you, but instead wrote We command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. To command in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is much more powerful and directive. In today’s world we frequently neglect the power of Jesus’ name to influence the outcome of our hopes and prayers. A few examples should suffice to show how powerful it is to invoke His name; for instance Luke 10:17, The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.” Also, in Acts 3:6-7, Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. Clearly there is real power in the name of Jesus Christ.
Knowing now that the command is much more forceful and powerful than we might have initially suspected, what conduct or behavior is actually being spoken against? Guzik makes it plain it is not when someone fails to conform to man’s traditions or teachings but is instead when someone fails to uphold apostolic tradition and teaching. Guzik further quotes Hiebert who writes, The present tense of the verb walks denotes that it is a deliberate course of action. Their disorderly conduct is not an occasional lapse but a persistent practice. Thus, we need to be careful not to apply this command to secular standards, but Biblical standards. And further that it is not a lapse, but continued persistent behavior. Also we need to be aware this command refers specifically to fellow brothers and sisters: believers, Christians. It does not apply to the outside or secular world, as it would be impossible to employ such standards of behavior to non-believers. Additionally, we need to remember the person who has fallen remains a brother or sister.
Finally, there is the idea of being idle or idleness as used in the NIV and a number of other versions. The NKJV does not use the word, but describes it in verse eleven, For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Benson’s Commentary goes so far as to write this about verse six, What the apostle here condemned under this description, was idleness and by the solemnity with which he introduces his charge, we are taught, that it is most offensive to God, and dangerous to ourselves and others. Strong words and likely the basis for the idiom idle hands are the devil’s workshop.
Prayer: Father God, Thank You for keeping me busy, not permitting me to become idle. Please continue to help me walk in ways that please you and glorify you. – In Jesus Name. Amen.