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Ephesians 4:28

    Ephesians 4:28 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Let him who was a thief be so no longer, but let him do good work with his hands, so that he may have something to give to him who is in need.

    Webster's Revision

    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath 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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.

    Definitions for Ephesians 4:28

    Let - To hinder or obstruct.

    Clarke's Commentary on Ephesians 4:28

    Let him that stole steal no more - It is supposed that, among the rabbins, stealing was not entirely discountenanced, provided a portion was given to the poor. The apostle here teaches them a different doctrine: as they should speak truth every man with his neighbor, so they should in every respect act honestly, for nothing contrary to truth and righteousness could be tolerated under the Christian system. Let no man, under pretense of helping the poor, defraud another; but let him labor, working with his hands to provide that which is good, that he may have to give to him who is in necessity. Stealing, overreaching, defrauding, purloining, etc., are consistent with no kind of religion that acknowledges the true God. If Christianity does not make men honest, it does nothing for them. Those who are not saved from dishonesty fear not God, though they may dread man.

    Barnes' Notes on Ephesians 4:28

    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.

    Wesley's Notes on Ephesians 4:28

    4:28 But rather let him labour - Lest idleness lead him to steal again. And whoever has sinned in any kind ought the more zealously to practise the opposite virtue. That he may have to give - And so be no longer a burden and nuisance, but a blessing, to his neighbours.