2 The 3:4-16 chiastic structure:
1a.1) 2 The 3:4, We have confidence that you do + will do the things we command you;
1a.2) 2 The 3:5, May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God + patience of Christ;
1a.3) 2 The 3:6, Withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, not according to our tradition;
1b) 2 The 3:7-8, We were not disorderly but worked night + day to provide our own bread;
central axis) 2 The 3:9, We have authority, but make ourselves an example for you to follow;
2b) 2 The 3:10-12, Those who walk disorderly must instead work and eat their own bread;
1a) 2 The 3:10, We commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat;
1b) 2 Thc 3:11a, For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner;
central axis) 2 The 3:11b, Not working at all;
2b) 2 The 3:11c, But are busybodies;
2a) 2 The 3:12, We command + exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness + eat their own bread;
2a.1) 2 The 3:13, But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good;
2a.3) 2 The 3:14-15, Note him who does not obey our word and do not keep company with him;
2a.2) 2 The 3:16, May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.
Paul and Timothy had the authority to expect the Thessalonians to provide for their daily needs while they were ministering among them. But rather than use their authority, they worked night and day to provide for themselves, so as not to be a burden on the Thessalonians. The apostles did this to give the Thessalonians an example of godly conduct to follow. Because the God we serve is God the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who provides for His own as a father his children, we work six days to provide for our needs, and rest on the seventh, returning Him worship for His care and provision of us. We are not idle busybodies who expect anyone else to provide for us other than God, who does so by blessing the work of our hands, as we do all, whatever we do for work, as unto the Lord.
This was such an important point, that Paul commanded the Thessalonians to withdraw from any brother who, being able to work, would not. This admonition does not only apply to brothers, but women as well. Even if they do not work outside the home, they have their proper work inside the home to occupy them as a help mate to their husbands. Cooking, cleaning, managing a household, child raising, sewing, gardening, or any other useful art, ought to be pursued so they do not spend their days as busybodies, walking disorderly, but instead in the honorable pursuits of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Now there is a debate in our day, whether government welfare ought to require a work provision. Based on this chapter of Scripture, what should our answer to that debate be? Based on this chapter of Scripture, is government’s role in welfare even a task Scripture assigns to them, or is it a usurped role?