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Paul's Theology of Work

Categories Biblical Studies Commentaries (NT)

Probably one of the pieces of First and Second Thessalonians that has really captured my interest is the way that Paul talks about work. I used to have this idea that work was just drudgery you had to do—like yard work, or cooking—and the good stuff is reading, or the good stuff is church work or something like that.

Paul actually has a very positive attitude towards work and a very theological understanding of work. 

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He tells the Thessalonians, "Make sure you're working with your hands." I think they're in a place of panic in their church and they are running around kind of frazzled. And Paul's saying continue the practices of every day life and investing in every day life and society, things like working with your hands.

He talks also about living a quiet life. And this doesn't mean sitting on the beach somewhere or going on a vacation. What he means is, to have such an inner stability through the Spirit, through Jesus Christ, through the church, that storms and things going on around you, in the end, they don't rock your boat because you have determined to live a quiet life. To live a life of inward peace.

And I think both of those pieces of work and living for the work itself being good, and the peace of God, and not being so troubled by everything going on on social media, or everything going on around me all the time, I think it really helps us better understand work, better understand how to find stability and peace in our lives.

This post has been lightly edited from the original manuscript for clarity.

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