2 Thessalonians 3

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Read 2 Thessalonians 3

Request for Prayer

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Warning Against Idleness

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. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. 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 food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed.15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

Final Greetings

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

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

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Go Deeper

As Paul brings the second letter to the Thessalonians to an end, he includes a request, a reminder, and a closing. He asks that the church pray for his protection and for the Gospel’s reach to grow. He closes with his own prayer that the church would have peace and grace. And he issues a reminder that we need, as well: we are created for work.

Work was at the center of the city of Thessalonica. It was a major industrial and cultural hub connecting Europe and Asia. The bustling city boasted a large harbor to accommodate the trade ships and an acropolis to protect it from attacks. Prominence in trade and strategic military position led to it becoming the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. So work, whether it be trade, military, or politics, was a major element of every Thessalonian’s life. 

So it makes sense that Paul and his team made work a component of their ministry in this city. During their three-week stay in Thessalonica, the team worked (most likely as tentmakers) to fund their own needs. Paul reminds the church of this work in his first letter, as well. First Thessalonians 2:9 says, “Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” He further explains in 2 Thessalonians 3:9 that they took this approach “in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate.” 

Paul reminded his readers that we were created for work, and the city of Thessonilica was the perfect place to demonstrate this principle taught in the scriptures.

  • Genesis 2:15: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 
  • Proverbs 12:11: Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

The world has perverted work to be a goal idolized itself or a burden to escape, but God created work to be one of the ways we glorify His creation and we worship Him. It is His plan for us to use the knowledge, skills, and abilities that He gave us. 

In Thessalonica, those who didn’t work were “idle and disruptive. . .  they are busybodies.” These terms describe a lack of purpose, causing trouble, and wasting time fixating on what others are doing, instead of doing what the person himself is supposed to do. When we don’t work for our good and His glory, we miss out on His design for us and open ourselves to the enemy’s attack. Paul reminds the Thessalonians, and us, that we are created for work and to “never tire of doing what is good,” because it is our way to glorify God and to worship Him.


  1. How do you perceive the role of work in your life? Do you see it primarily as a means of sustenance, a burden to endure, or as an opportunity to glorify God? 
  2. Have you fallen into the trap of idolizing success or viewing work solely as a means of personal achievement or to focus on ways to escape it and dream of rest? Why? 
  3. What is a practical step you can take this week to cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in your work, aligning it more closely with God’s intended design for you?

Listen Here

The Bible Project explores the Theology of Work in this two-episode podcast series.

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4 thoughts on “2 Thessalonians 3”

  1. The title for this chapter in my copy of scripture is “Living in the light of Christ’s return” and sums up Paul’s final charge to the Thessalonians. He gets practical and purposeful when instructing them how to live:
    •Prayerfully-which brings strength and endurance from
    •Excellence in work-dedicated to God as an act of
    •Peacefully-regardless of what happens, his peace
    sustains us
    While we await Christ’s return let’s be about the Father’s business by spreading the hope of the gospel, reaching out and serving those in need, and building up the body of Christ. Let’s live responsibly for him until he returns, no shrinking back, no excuses, but joyfully redeeming the time until we see him face to face. What a glorious day that will be!

  2. 11 “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive.”

    Idols and Idle – God, through the power of your Holy Spirit, please keep me from both!

  3. We all have a “job” to do. Sharing the gospel. While we are “working” we are to pay our own way to be able to stand on our own. We are in an unseen battle minutely. The evil one does not want you to work your job. He or his constituents are constantly thwarting your mission. Either through idleness or being disruptive or being a busybody, are some of the ways Paul is telling us and them to watch for. BUT GOD gives us tools to keep our focus. Ephesians 6 is a great tool box to start with. Children, fathers, working people, leaders of those working people, then our armor of God. that we are to put on to fight. Then pray!! To battle this unseen war we must pray for ourselves, our family, life group, church leadership, work place, play place, our community, the government and our world. “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” (Ephesians 6:18) Prayer will strengthen us and line up our defense in protection. Pray for we are in an unseen battle that when we are being attacked we isolate, feel defeated, unworthy, and discouraged. BUT GOD wants You!!!! WOOHOO!!! 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. We can go to the beginning of Ephesian and just poke our name into the pronouns our, we, us and pray without ceasing.
    3 Blessed be the God and Father of Amy’s Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed Amy in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose Amy in him before the foundation of the world, that Amy should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined Amy for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

    God I pray in (18)the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, I pray that I am alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (19)God I Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, (20) for which I am an ambassador in chains. God I Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. God thank You for Your Word that is sharper than any two edged sword. God thank You for me being strong in the You and Your mighty power. God I am going to put on Your full armor, so that I can take Your stand against the devil’s schemes. For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. God I know the ending and I am thanking You for this day, these minutes, that again that whenever I speak, words may be given me by You that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel and see Your people through Your love goggles in Jesus name amen

  4. God created us with purpose and gave us the knowledge and abilities to carry it out. By working, we put those gifts to use – to bring glory to God and helping other ls to see Him. By doing so intentionally and prayerfully, we leave an example and others may seek out what we have. Work is a big part in my life and I pray daily that God would help me be a light in that space. It’s not about “being successful” – it’s about following through with the tasks I’m given.

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