2 Thessalonians 3:10

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
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AD 400
Then, too, while we were with you, we insisted on this to you Paul not only taught with words but encouraged others by his deeds. It is the sign of a perfect teacher when he backs up his teaching with deeds. Those who learn know what they are hearing is true if they see that these things are not neglected by their teacher. Even if they know that what they are being taught is obviously true, if they see that it is ignored by their teacher, it will make little impression on his hearers, because actions speak louder than words. that if anyone was not willing to work, neither should he eat Whoever dines often at someone else's house is given over to idleness and must flatter the person who is feeding him, but our religion calls people to freedom. So Paul says that if someone refuses to eat then he does not have to work, because nobody can live without food, everyone should strive to live independently and in that way please God.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
In the first place, we must prove that the blessed apostle Paul wished the servants of God to perform manual labor which would merit a great spiritual reward, and to do this without seeking food and clothing from anybody but to procure these commodities for themselves by their own work. Secondly, we must show that those gospel precepts by which some monks justify not only laziness but even arrogance are not contrary to the direction and example of the apostle. Let us examine the statements made by the apostle prior to this one: “If any man will not work, neither let him eat,” and the statements which follow it, so that the meaning which St. Paul intended may be gathered from the setting of the passage. What can be said in reply to this, since, indeed, by his own example he taught what he commanded, lest later someone might be permitted to interpret this with a view to his will and not his charity. For, the Lord had directed that apostle, as preacher of the gospel, as soldier of Christ,...

Caesarius of Arles

AD 542
We read in sacred Scripture, dearly beloved, that a holy understanding should keep those who are concerned about their soul’s salvation, as the divine Word puts it, “Holy understanding shall protect you.” If such holy understanding keeps a soul, that which is unholy not only fails to keep it but even kills it. Perhaps someone says, “Who can always be thinking of God and eternal bliss, since all men must be concerned about food, clothing and the management of their household?” God does not ask us to be free from all anxiety over the present life, for he instructs us through his apostle, “If any man will not work, neither let him eat.” The same apostle repeats the idea with reference to himself when he says, “We worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you.” Since God especially advises reasonable concern for food and clothing, so long as avarice and ambition … are not linked with it, an ordinary action or thought can be most rightly considered holy. The only provision is ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Not work. By prying with curiosity into other men's actions. He that is idle, saith St. Chrysostom, will be given to curiosity. (Witham) The apostles, like our Lord, were fond of introducing popular saying or axioms. Another, and not unlike the former, is found in one of the Jewish rabbies, Zeror: Qui non laboraverit in Prosabbato, nè edat in Sabbato.
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Ignatius of Antioch

AD 108
Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for "he that does not work, let him not eat.". Let no one addicted to idleness eat,
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
I do not say these things haphazardly now, but rather because many are often overly intrusive in their investigation of the needy. They examine their lineage, life, habits, vocation and the vigor of their body. They make complaints and demand immense public scrutiny for their health. For this precise reason, many of the poor simulate physical disabilities, so that by dramatizing their misfortunes they may deflect our cruelty and inhumanity. And although when it is summertime, it is terrible to make these complaints, it is not quite so dreadful. However, during the frost and the cold, for someone to become such a savage and inhuman judge and not impart any forgiveness to the unemployed, does this not involve extreme cruelty? “Therefore, what did Paul ordain by law,” they say, “when he said to the Thessalonians, ’If any one does not wish to work, neither let him eat’?” So that you, too, may also hear these things, you should discuss the words of Paul not only with the poor individual but...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Therefore also the Scripture has sent the sluggard to the ant, saying, “Go to the ant, you sluggard, emulate his ways, and be wiser than he.” Are you unwilling, he means, to learn from the Scriptures, that it is good to labor, and that he who will not work neither should eat? Learn it from the irrational beasts! We do the same in our families, urging those who have erred—though they be older and considered superior—to observe thoughtful children. We say, “Note how earnest and watchful this child is, though he is younger than you.” In the same way learn from the ant the best exhortation to hard work. Marvel at your Lord, not only because he has made heaven and the sun, but because he has also made the ant. For although the ant is small, it proves the greatness of God’s wisdom. Consider, then, how prudent the ant is. Consider how God has implanted in so small a body such an unceasing desire for work! But while you learn the lesson of hard work from the ant, learn from the bee a lesson of...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
The vengeance, I mean the Gospel; (in other words, ) both the truth and (its accompanying) salvation. The charge, that "if any would not work, neither should he eat"
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The Apostolic Constitutions

AD 375
Let the young persons of the church endeavor to minister diligently in all essential matters. Mind your business with all suitable seriousness, that so you may always have enough to support yourselves and those who are needy, and not burden the church of God. For we ourselves, besides our attention to the word of the gospel, do not neglect our inferior vocations. For some of us are fishermen, some tentmakers, some farmers, that so we may never be idle. So says Solomon somewhere, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways diligently, and become wiser than she. For she, having neither field, overseer, nor ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and lays up a great store in the harvest. Or else go to the bee, and learn how laborious she is, and how valuable her work is, whose labors both kings and common men make use of for their health. The bee is desirable and glorious, though she be weak in strength, yet by honoring wisdom she is improved” … Labor therefore continually; for the bl...

The Apostolic Constitutions

AD 375
Labour therefore continually; for the blot of the slothful is not to be healed. But "if any one does not work, let not such a one eat"
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The Didache

AD 100
Let everyone who comes in the name of the Lord be received, and then, when you have taken stock of him, you will know—for you will have insight—what is right and false. If the person who comes is just passing through, help him as much as you can, but he shall not stay with you more than two or three days—if that is necessary. If he wants to settle in with you, though, and he is a craftsman, let him work and eat. If he has no craft, take care in your insight: no Christian should live with you in idleness. If he is unwilling to do what that calls for, he is using Christ to make a living. Be on your guard against people like this.

The Didache

AD 100
If he who cometh is a wayfarer, assist him as far as ye are able; but he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be. 3. But if he willeth to abide with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat;
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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