In verses 6-12 Paul deals with a particular fault and problem that had arisen in the church. There were some people who were lazy, living idle lives, would not work at a trade and were simply living off the welfare and labour of others. This, Paul said, is a disorderly walk and is not to be permitted or encouraged.
Vs. 6. "We command you in the name of the Lord Jesus." This is a delicate subject. All believers are sympathetic towards those in need and are generous with their earthly goods and reluctant to say "No" to any who are needy or hungry. But this command is of the Lord! "If a man who is called a brother walketh disorderly," this is not a man temporarily out of work or hard-pressed occasionally, but one who continues in this fashion out of laziness and choice, "withdraw yourselves from him and him from you, for you were not instructed by us, or taught by us, to be idle or to live as beggars!"
Vs. 7. Even the apostle, who had the power and right to be totally supported and cared for by the church, worked with his hands, besides labouring among them in preaching and teaching the Word (Acts 18:3; I Thess. 2:9). Paul was never idle nor lazy, but always busy doing what God called him and gifted him to do.
Vs. 8, 9. "We did not eat food freely without paying for it" (Acts 20:34, 35). The ministers of Christ are to study, pray and labour in the Word (Acts 6:4). They are to live by the gospel and are to be supported by the church (I Cor. 9:1-14). However, to set an example for these new believers and to discourage any loafing and laziness among them, Paul laboured with his hands among them. He refused to be indebted to them lest any weak brother be offended and misled.
Vs. 10. He repeats what he taught them in person, "If anyone will not work who is able to work, then do not let him share your food (turn him away from your table)."
Vs. 11. Those who do not work with their minds and hands usually spend their idle time working their tongues; they are busybodies. Having nothing constructive to do, their time is spent interfering in the private lives and business of others.
Vs. 12. Now as the apostle of the Lord Jesus, Paul corrects both of these faults he has dealt with.
1. He exhorts them, in the first place, to cultivate quietness, peace and repose. "Be content with who you are, what you have and where God has placed you."
2. "Work and labour in honourable employment." God has gifted every man with ability to do something (to make some contribution to the field of labour and life).
3. "Eat your own bread which is earned by your own labour and bought with your own money. Rejoice and thank God for it, whatever it is! Be content with what you have."
Vs. 13. A word of caution: although there are many who are undeserving and who abuse our liberality, we must not, on their account, leave off helping those who genuinely need our help. "Do not be discouraged or weary of giving to the needy and feeding the hungry just because there are ill-mannered people who take advantage of you" (Gal. 6:9).Vs. 14, 15. "If anyone in the church refuses to obey what I have declared in this letter, single out that person and do not associate or keep company with him. If you humour him and pacify him in his error, you will but encourage him to continue. But if you avoid him and let him know of your displeasure, he may be ashamed and repent. However, do not consider him an enemy or reprobate, but simply admonish and warn him as a brother." Vs. 16-18. Paul's conclusion and benediction upon the brethren.