1 Thessalonians 4:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Thessalonians 4:11, NIV: and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,

1 Thessalonians 4:11, ESV: and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

1 Thessalonians 4:11, KJV: And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

1 Thessalonians 4:11, NASB: and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we instructed you,

1 Thessalonians 4:11, NLT: Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.

1 Thessalonians 4:11, CSB: to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,

What does 1 Thessalonians 4:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In this passage, Paul is describing the kind of godly conduct which leads to both pleasing God and a good reputation among other people. Earlier Paul focused on sexual purity (1 Thessalonians 4:1–8). Then, his subject was brotherly love, a theme the Thessalonians already excelled at (1 Thessalonians 4:9–10). Love is basic to other virtues, so Paul appealed to its importance first of all. Building off of love, Paul commands his readers to lead a peaceful life, to mind their own business, and to be industrious.

Christians who love others do not stir up trouble. They do not stick their noses in other people's personal matters. Nor do they sit back with folded hands and expect others to provide for them.

Proverbs 25:17 offers good advice about not overstaying one's welcome, but also touches on the importance of keeping out of other people's business. It counsels: "Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor's house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you."

Apparently, idleness was a way of life with some widows in the first century. Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:9–13 to care for widows who were known for their good works. Such widows had the reputation of having raised children, provided hospitality, washed the feet of fellow believers, and cared for the afflicted. However, Timothy was to refrain from using charity to enable particular widows who were "idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not." Paul had set a good example of a diligent lifestyle when he was in Thessalonica by working with his own hands to support himself (1 Thessalonians 2:9–10).