He Who Will Not Work Shall Not Eat

Q. Do 2 Thes. 3:10 and 1 Timothy 5:8 also apply to people who are willing and and have desire to work but can’t find a job?

A. In 2 Thes 3:10 Paul said, “If a man will not work he shall not eat.” His use of the word “will” implies the opportunity for work exists. If it didn’t he would have said, “If a man can not work …”

The same is true of 1 Timothy 5:8. Paul was referring to a man who does not provide for his family. Again, the wording suggests the ability to provide exists but the desire to do so is lacking. Otherwise he would have said, “A man who can not provide …”

The Lord does not punish us for things we can’t do. If a person sincerely desires to take care of self and family but can’t find even the humblest way to do so, he or she is not to be subjected to criticism or deprivation, but is to be given assistance by those who can do so.

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