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Commentary on "Living Holy Lives (1 Thess. 4:1–12)"



Day 6: Thursday, August 16, 2012 - Mind Your Own Business (1 Thess. 4:9–12)



Today’s lesson is entitled “Mind Your Own Business” and focusses on Paul’s instructions for the Thessalonians to practice brotherly love and to live quietly, minding their own affairs, so they can provide for themselves. The texts for today are:

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,  and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV)

Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 ESV)



The lesson today does not deal with the richness of the texts. It superficially discusses the various Greek words for “love”, stating that this passage from 1 Thessalonians 4 uses “philos”, which means “brotherly love”. The author continues by stating that the closet some people will ever come to the church is their impression gained from the behavior of believers. Paulien further theorizes that this church has a number of lazy members. It ends with a paragraph on working with one’s hands and providing for one’s family.

The juxtaposition of the two texts for today carries one consummate message: we have one major obligation as born-again Christ-followers: we are to love one another (referring to other believers) in the way God has taught us to love. This love is transforming; it causes us to live quietly and circumspectly. We mind our own affairs, we work to support ourselves, and we live with integrity. We live this way so that God will establish our “hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”

These passages are not primarily about not meddling and being a good example. While these things are true, they are only the outflow of a life that has submitted to the Lord Jesus and has been brought to life by His Spirit. Brotherly love is not possible unless on is a brother—an adopted son (or daughter) in the Father’s family. Only those with the love of Jesus indwelling them can live godly lives of brotherly love.



  1. We love one another as believers in the way God has taught us to love: as Jesus did—sacrificially.
  2. Brotherly love is not possible apart from being born again, because we do not have God’s own love in us unless we have been born again.
  3. Living quiet lives without meddling is the product of living in submission to the Lord Jesus, and this submitted life is the witness outsiders need to see.




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