The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 181 of 243
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The Greek word skeuos, vessel, occurs 22 times in the N.T. It is used of a receptacle
(John 19: 29), a person's possessions (Matt. 12: 29; Mark 3: 37), the believer as a
channel which God can use (II Cor. 4: 7; II Tim. 2: 21). Not only this, but in I Pet. 3: 7
it is used of a wife:
"Likewise, ye husbands . . . . . giving honour to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel . . . . ."
"How to possess his vessel." The word `possess' is ktaomai, which means, not so
much to possess, but to `gain possession of', to `acquire' or `purchase':
"Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity" (Acts 1: 18).
"Thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money" (Acts 8: 20).
"With a great sum obtained I this freedom" (Acts 22: 28).
In what sense can the body be acquired or possessed?  Moreover the sense of the
next verses does not connect well if the word `vessel' is given this meaning.
On the other hand, if skeuos means `wife', then to `acquire a wife' can be understood,
and with this sense it is rendered by a number of translations.
". . . . . that each man among you shall know how to procure a wife who shall be his own
in purity and honour" (Weymouth).
So also Alford, Moffatt, Cunnington, Twentieth Century Version, Goodspeed,
Williams, and Berkeley Version. Leaning to the first view are Bloomfield, J. N. Darby,
Rotherham and F. F. Bruce. Both views express truth, but the second fits into the context
more naturally. The Apostle again stresses sanctification in verse 7:
"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification (holiness A.V.)."
However, love is still the dominating theme of this section and now the saints at
Thessalonica are reminded that one practical aspect of Christian love is to "study to be
quiet, and to do your business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded
you". Evidently there were some who were wrongly regarding the nearness of the Lord's
return. Such were refusing to work, with the result that, instead of being occupied by
their own affairs, they were prying into the affairs of others and causing disturbances.
"For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are
busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread" (II Thess. 3: 11, 12 R.V.).
Both in this epistle and in the context we are considering, there is a stress on being
"quiet". Hesuchazo means to be silent, to be tranquil, as opposed to excitability which
has a bad effect on others.  The verb translated `study' is philotimeomai, `to be
ambitious' literally, and the phrase almost means `be ambitious to be unambitious'.
"Make it your ambition to live quietly and to mind your own concerns (do your own
things, literally), and to work with your own hands". Such a walk would be a good
witness to the outside world and moreover each believer would then lack nothing (12).