John D Miller
I am a young father and husband who is loved by and cared for by God. He is Amazing!
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Productive, quiet lives reveal God's principles!
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
What does it mean to "walk properly before outsiders"? How is productive work a part of that?
Published February 22nd, 2022
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The Main Point:
My Paraphrase:
The Main Point:
We urge you to love your fellow believers and to live productive and quiet lives so that God's principles are shown to a watching world.
My Paraphrase:
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Now concerning v brotherly love w you have no need for anyone to write to you,
Regarding your love for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, you really don't need us to write to you,
for you yourselves have been x taught by God y to love one another,
because God himself has been teaching you to care for and honor each other,
for that indeed is what z you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
and because that is truly what you are already doing to your brothers in Christ throughout the whole region.
But we urge you, brothers,
But we want to motivate and encourage you, brothers,
to a do this more and more,
to continue deepening and expanding your love for each other,
and to aspire b to live quietly,
and to work toward living a life that doesn't have unnecessary bling and bang,
and c to mind your own affairs,
and to take care of the things God has given you to see after,
and d to work with your hands,
and to be involved in profitable occupations with your time and energy,
as we instructed you,
just like we taught you while we were with you,
so that you may e walk properly before f outsiders
so that your actions express God's principles accurately to the non-believers around you
and be dependent on no one.
and so that you are not physically dependent on other people for your daily sustenance.
Being employed in profitable work is one aspect of walking properly before outsiders.
Doing profitable work also facilitates giving instead of only receiving from others for daily sustenance.
Author: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy all helped write this letter. They consistently utilize the use of "we" and "us" as they write. These three had spent time planting the church in Thessalonica and were very interested in the welfare of the believers there. The Thessalonians knew what kind of men they were because of their example while living among them (1:5). Recipient(s): The believers at the church in Thessalonica were the intended recipients. They were an example to the churches in the surrounding areas: Macedonia and Achaia (1:7). Relationship: The authors call the Thessalonians "brothers", indicating a close family relationship. The authors were deeply concerned with their welfare, emulating the kind of love that they were urging the Thessalonians toward. The authors and their message had a very good reception while among the Thessalonians (1:9). Occasion: In chapters 2 and 3 we learn that the authors had wanted to come back to visit them very much, but were obstructed by satan. So they sent Timothy to check on them. Then, this letter was written to the Thessalonians after Timothy came back to the authors with a encouraging report. Themes: Brotherly love for each other. To avoid dependence on other believers by working with your hands. To walk properly before non-believers. Tone: The authors write with a sense of urgency in their tone. --Do this more and more!!!! Purpose: The authors wanted to encourage and inspire the Thessalonians to love each other and be dependent on no one else for daily provision. Keywords and Phrases: Brotherly love. "You have no need for anyone to write to you." Live quietly. Walk properly before outsiders. "Be dependent on no one." This theme was picked up again in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 "As we instructed you." This phrase indicates that the authors had covered this material already while they were living with them, and that they needed a reminder of some kind. General: This section includes the second of two larger commands in chapter 4: 1) Do not be sexually impure, and 2) love each other. It is followed by an extended exhortation about the second coming of Jesus in chapter 4 and chapter 5. What fallacy or lack were the authors trying to combat with this teaching? 2:9 states: " For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God." This verse reminds the Thessalonians about the author's examples of how they worked while they were with them. Questions: What does it mean to live quietly in the context of Thessalonica? Trevin Max with the Gospel Coalition suggests that the authors are refe rring to " a rootedness, a quietness that does not seek the spotlight or succumb to fruitless anxiety, but works hard at resting in the sovereign goodness of God." Additionally, Trevin Max suggests that the authors were pointing out that a quiet life doesn't stoke political unrest through loud protest, but actually goes and seeks justice for the oppressed through faithful service. ( Verse 12 confirms this view where the authors write that a quiet life of faithful work shows non-believers a "decent" or "proper" way to live. What does it mean "To walk properly before outsiders"? The sense of this phrase implies that the things that we do with our daily lives impact how non-believers see us. We do well to love each other as believers, but we also do well to not be financially dependent on others. Compare Passages: Here is a parallel passage from 2 Thessalonians giving more detailed instructions: 6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. ( 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 ESV ) My Personal Plan: I plan to continue utilizing the tools I learned in the Paraphrase course as I study the Psalms. I have been leading worship times in our Sunday morning church services and modeling our worship after a particular psalm. I have found these tools and ways of digging into the scripture very helpful to unpack it and work toward a deeper understanding, so that I can more effectively lead my brothers and sisters to Jesus. I am excited about continuing to deepen my love for the Lord Jesus through a deeper study of His Word.
Matthew Carver
John, very good job on your paraphrase for this passage. It is thorough, follows every connection in the text, and is creative. I especially liked the phrase "deepening and expanding" in 10c to unpack the idea of loving more and more in the text; and of course how could I not like the phrase "unnecessary bling and bang." Good job. 

You have shown in this assignment that you have full understanding of the tools utilized in this class.
Matthew Carver
Re: Divisions 

You did a very good job of dividing the text at the proper connections. The only one that should have been left undivided is 10c since it is connected with the full idea of 10b. The verb "to do" in 10c is a helper verb to "urge" in 10b, and thus they form a unit together. 
John D Miller
That's helpful feedback. Thanks!
Matthew Carver
Your paraphrase traces very well the logic of the text through the emboldened connectors. I would only challenge your conclusion that 10a is a second Ground for 9a (ie. "and because"), and not rather a further Explanation of 9b. Consider the question: "Explain to me why you think God is already teaching us to love one another?" Answer: "Well because that is what you are already doing throughout Macedonia."
John D Miller
Got it. That makes more sense.
Matthew Carver
Your Main Point is succinct and encompasses well the two-fold thought in the passage of loving brothers and living quiet lives. You also emphasized Paul's purpose (12a) for these encouragements. Well done!
Matthew Carver
Re: Observation Notes

Well done applying the observation tools to this passage. 
Matthew Carver
Re: Questions. 

I appreciate very much that you sought to probe into the meaning of these two phrases by making connections to the rest of the text. This way of adding one passage to another through an understanding of the logic between them is exactly what the Paraphrase Course is designed to teach. You are well prepared to move on to courses that further expound this idea, such as Arcing/Bracketing or Phrasing. 
Matthew Carver
I have found these tools and ways of digging into the scripture very helpful to unpack it and work toward a deeper understanding
That's incredible John. I'm so glad that the Lord is using these courses in specific and applicable ways in your life and leadership.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.