New American Standard Bible
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
King James Bible
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Darby Bible Translation
Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him toil, working what is honest with his hands, that he may have to distribute to him that has need.
World English Bible
Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.
Young's Literal Translation
whoso is stealing let him no more steal, but rather let him labour, working the thing that is good with the hands, that he may have to impart to him having need.
Ephesians 4:28 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Let him that stole steal no more - Theft, like lying, was, and is, almost a universal vice among the pagan. The practice of pilfering prevails in, probably, every pagan community, and no property is safe which is not guarded, or so locked up as to be inaccessible. Hence, as the Christian converts at Ephesus had been long addicted to it, there was danger that they would fall into it again; and hence the necessity of special cautions on that head. We are not to suppose that "pilfering" was a common vice in the church, but the cautions on this point proceed on the principle that, where a man has been long in the habit of a particular sin, he is in great danger of falling into it again. Hence, we caution the man who has been intemperate against the least indulgence in intoxicating drinks; we exhort him not to touch that which would be so strong a temptation to him. The object of the apostle was to show that the gospel requires holy living in all its friends, and to entreat Christians at Ephesus in a special manner to avoid the vices of the surrounding pagan.
But rather let him labour - Let him seek the means of living in an honest manner, by his own industry, rather than by wronging others.
Working with his hands - Pursuing some honest employment. Paul was not ashamed to labor with "his own hands" Acts 20:35; and no man is dishonored by labor. God made man for toil Genesis 2:15; and employment is essential to the happiness of the race. No man, who is "able" to support himself, has a "right" to depend on others; see the notes on Romans 12:11.
That he may have to give to him that needeth - Margin, "distribute." Not merely that may have the means of support, but that he may have it in his power to aid others. The reason and propriety of this is obvious. The human race is one great brotherhood. A considerable part "cannot" labor to support themselves. They are too old, or too young; or they are crippled, or feeble, or laid on beds of sickness. If others do not divide with them the avails of their labors, they will perish. We are required to laboar in order that we may have the privilege of contributing to their comfort. Learn from this verse:
(1) That every Christian should have some calling, business, or profession, by which he may support himself. The Saviour was carpenter; Paul a tentmaker; and no man is disgraced by being able to build a house or to construct a tent.
(2) Christianity promotes industry. It is rare that an idle man becomes a Christian; but if he does, religion makes him industrious just in proportion as it has influence over his mind. To talk of a "lazy Christian," is about the same as to talk of burning water or freezing fire.
(3) Christians should have some "useful" and "honest" employment. They should work "that which is good." They should not pursue an employment which will necessarily injure others. No man has a right to place a nuisance under the window of his neighbor; nor has he any "more" right to pursue an employment that shall lead his neighbor into sin or ruin him. An honest employment benefits everybody . A good farmer is a benefit to his neighborhood and country; and a good shoemaker, blacksmith, weaver, cabinetmaker, watchmaker, machinist, is a blessing to the community. He injures no one; he benefits all. How is it with the distiller, and the vender of alcoholic drinks? He benefits no one; he injures every body. Every quart of intoxicating drink that is taken from his house does evil somewhere - evil, and only evil, and that continually. No one is made better, or richer; no one is made more moral or industrious; no one is helped on the way to heaven by it. Thousands are helped on the way to hell by it, who are already in the path; and thousands are "induced" to walk in the way to death who, but for that distillery, store, or tavern, might have walked in the way to heaven. Is this then "working that which is good?" Would Paul have done it? Would Jesus do it? Strange, that by a professing Christian it was ever done! See a striking instance of the way in which the Ephesian Christians acted when they were first converted, in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 19:19; compare notes on that place.
(4) the main business of a Christian is not to "make money," and to become rich. It is that he may have the means of benefiting others. Beyond what he needs for himself, his poor, and sick, and aged, and afflicted brother and friend has a claim on his earnings - and they should be liberally bestowed.
(5) we should labor in "order" that we may have the means of doing good to others. It should be just as much a matter of plan and purpose to do this, as it is to labor in order to buy a coat, or to build a house, or to live comfortably, or to have the means of a decent burial. Yet how few are those who have any such end in view, or who pursue their daily toil definitely, "that they may have something to give away!" The world will be soon converted when all Christians make that the purpose of life; see the notes on Romans 12:11.
LibraryJune 15. "Grow up into Him in all Things" (Eph. Iv. 15).
"Grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. iv. 15). Harvest is a time of ripeness. Then the fruit and grain are fully developed, both in size and weight. Time has tempered the acid of the green fruit. It has been mellowed and softened by the rains and the heat of summer. The sun has tinted it into rich colors, and at last it is ready and ripe to fall into the hand. So Christian life ought to be. There are many things in life that need to be mellowed and ripened. Many Christians have orchards full of …
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth
Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity the Christian Calling and Unity.
Of the Church
The Ascension of Christ
All day long he is craving, While the righteous gives and does not hold back.
She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
And he would answer and say to them, "The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise."
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
1 Corinthians 4:12
and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
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 commanded you,
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