For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 2 Thessalonians 3:7
The word “For” is given here based on the words of the previous verse which exhorted those in Thessalonica to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly…”. It then is explained in this and in the coming verse. Now, he says, “For you yourselves know.” As he has done on numerous occasions, Paul calls to memory what occurred in the past. Each time he does this, it solidifies his argument and his exhortations, because there can be no doubt of what he relays. He and his associates acted in a certain way, and they saw it with their own eyes.
Understanding this, he goes further by saying that they know “how you ought to follow us.” The meaning of “follow” is “to imitate.” In the manner that he and his fellow-workers acted, the church should also act. The missionaries had set the standard, and those ministered to should take note and follow accordingly. This “how you ought to follow us” is actually described by him in his first letter to them –
“You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:10
The final words of the verse, “for we were not disorderly among you,” are not meant to contrast for the purpose of condemning. Rather, they are words of contrast for the purpose of exhortation that they would choose and walk on the right path. The Greek word he uses which is translated as “disorderly” is the verb form of the adverb he used in the previous verse which was also translated as “disorderly.” Thus, he is saying, “Just as you are to withdraw from those who are disorderly, you should emulate one who is marching in proper order, for we were not walking in a disorderly way among you.”
He is using a negative in order to form a positive example in the eyes of the Thessalonians. Like his description of himself in his first letter, he will next again provide concrete examples of the conduct he and his associates demonstrated while he was among them.
Life application: Paul’s words are as much to us as they were to his original audience. If we want to live properly, all we need to do is go to the Bible and apply its precepts to our own lives. This is especially so with the words of Paul’s epistles. They are our “marching orders” during this dispensation. All Scripture is profitable for this purpose, but his words are especially directed to this Gentile-led church age.
It is such an honor to know that we can come to You, O God, and to ask You for our heart’s desire because of the mediation of Christ. There is no longer any fracture between us. The veil is rent, and we have full and unfettered access to Your throne of grace. Help us to be confident in our prayer life, and help us to use this privilege and honor wisely so that our prayers will be pleasing to Your ears. Thank You, O God, for our intimate line of communication in Christ. Amen.