“For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
Earlier in 2 Thessalonians 1:4, Paul the Apostle issued the following commendation to the church at Thessalonica: “…we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring” (NIV). So it seems that word had gotten around regarding the church’s resilience in Christ under some difficult conditions. Unfortunately, there was some not-so-good news circulating about the church as well: “…we hear that there are some people among you who live lazy lives and who do nothing except meddle in other people’s business” (GNT).
The busybodies referenced here involved rumormongers who were in the habit of gossiping about others. So it appears there were some who were highly motivated to share the latest news or tidbit of information about the affairs of others within the Thessalonian church.
This type of attitude can be quite destructive and we’ll look at a few Biblical admonitions against such behavior in our next study. But before we continue, it might be helpful to consider the environment that may have led to this response within their congregation.
We should carefully consider the following analysis as we evaluate modern-day speakers, authors, video presentations, and websites that are primarily geared towards current events and their potential correlation to Jesus’ return…
“Perhaps the teaching that Christ could return at any moment had led some of the believers into idleness. This is not certain, but it has been the conclusion of several commentators. The ‘undisciplined’ had quit their jobs and were idle, ‘doing no work at all,’ and were simply waiting for the Lord to return. This interpretation seems justified, and is certainly consistent with life.
These idle ones most likely believed in the imminent return of Christ for them (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Such deductions have led other Christians to do the same thing at various other times throughout church history: quit working and simply wait for the Lord to appear. When people are not busy with their own work, they may tend to meddle in the business of others. They may become ‘busybodies,’ rather than busy, neglecting their own business in order to mind other people’s, even minding everybody else’s business but their own.” (1)
As another commentator observed centuries ago, “The servant who waits for the coming of his Lord aright, must be working as his Lord has commanded. If we are idle, the devil and a corrupt heart will soon find us somewhat to do.” (2)
(1) Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Notes on 2 Thessalonians 2020 Edition [3:10, 2. Specific instructions concerning the idle 3:11-13] https://www.planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/html/nt/2thessalonians/2thessalonians.htm
(2) Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary [Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15] https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=53&c=3