1 Thessalonians 4:11
(11)And that ye study to be quiet.--The word means more than "study;" "and that ye make it your ambition to keep quiet"--their ambition having formerly been to make a stir among the Churches. It is a strong use of the rhetorical figure called oxymoron, or combining words of contrary meaning in order to give force and point to the style. The warnings in this verse are not directed against defiance of the law of brotherly love, but against a thoroughly wrong mode of showing that love: the unquietness, meddlesomeness, desultoriness with which it was accompanied are not so much instances of unkindness to the brotherhood as scandals to the heathen. Hence the conjunction at the beginning of the verse has something of an adversative force: "We beg you to be even more abundantly liberal, and (yet) at the same time to agitate for perfect calmness about it." It is commonly supposed (but proof is impossible) that the unsettlement arose from belief in the nearness of the Advent.

Do your own business.--Not merely was each individual to do his own work, but the whole Church was to refrain from interfering ostentatiously with other Churches. In all languages, "to mind one's own business" signifies rather the negative idea of ceasing to meddle than the positive idea of industry.

Work with your own hands.--Apparently the Thessalonians had been so busy in organising away from home that they had had no time to see to their own industry, and so (see end of next verse) were beginning to fall into difficulties. The words "with your own hands" are supposed to indicate that most of the Thessalonian Christians were of the artisan class.

Verse 11. - And that ye study; literally, that ye be ambitious. To be quiet; to avoid unrest, to live in peace. Worldly ambition excludes quietness and prompts to restlessness; so that the apostle's admonition really is, "that ye be ambitious not to be ambitious." The unrest which disturbed the peace of the Thessalonian Church was not political, but religions; it arose from the excitement naturally occasioned by the entrance of the new feeling of Christianity among them. It would also appear that they were excited by the idea of Christ's immediate advent. This had occasioned disorders, and had caused several to neglect their ordinary business and to give themselves over to an indolent inactivity, so that Christian prudence was overborne (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12). Perhaps, also, the liberality of the richer members of the Church was abused and perverted, so as to promote indolence. And to do your own business; to attend to the duties of your worldly calling, to avoid idleness. And to work with your own hands. From this it would appear that the members of the Thessalonian Church were chiefly composed of the laboring classes. As we commanded you. A precisely similar exhortation is given in the Epistle to the Ephesians: "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good" (Ephesians 4:28).

4:9-12 We should notice in others what is good, to their praise, that we may engage them to abound therein more and more. All who are savingly taught of God, are taught to love one another. The teaching of the Spirit exceeds the teachings of men; and men's teaching is vain and useless, unless God teach. Those remarkable for this or any other grace, need to increase therein, as well as to persevere to the end. It is very desirable to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behaviour. Satan is busy to trouble us; and we have in our hearts what disposes us to be unquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet. Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men's matters, have little quiet in their own minds, and cause great disturbances among their neighbours. They seldom mind the other exhortation, to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their own hands. Christianity does not take us from the work and duty of our particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein. People often by slothfulness reduce themselves to great straits, and are liable to many wants; while such as are diligent in their own business, earn their own bread, and have great pleasure in so doing.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 , "the way of the earth", or the business of life:

"there are four things, (they say (a)) 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.

(a) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 32. 2.

1 Thessalonians 4:10
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