The Value of Work in Saint Paul's Teaching


Paul, when writing about work and the Gospel he preached, does not give a systematic lecture on this topic, however he recognizes their close relationship. Above all, he sees in work the source of livelihood. He decisively follows the norms elaborated in Judaism, not in the Greek world. Work is not an insult to a human being or a chore, at best, but it is a noble occupation that gives maintenance. The Apostle himself assumes this attitude (1 Cor 4:11-12). He is not the only example of preacher, who works with his own hands to maintain himself. Another one is Barnabas (1 Cor 9:6). He also encourages the faithful to have such an attitude (2 Thess 3:7-8). The Apostle, however, combines employment with the proclamation of the Gospel (1 Thess 2:9). The absolute priority in his missionary activity is to proclaim the Good News, which is called the work of God. The closest associates of the Apostle are also involved in the transmission of the message (1 Cor 16,10), and it is they who contribute to making the soil of Church fertile. The content of the Christian life is a practical application of the adopted Gospel, that is, doing good (Rom 2:10). As a specific example of his sorrow (2 Cor 7:10) Paul shows how such a condition can lead to conversion, which is the fruit of the adopted Gospel. Another result of the adoption and the new man creation is the avoidance of sins (Eph. 4.28 ). However, it is not the reason for boasting, because everything has to be done from the heart, as for the Lord (Col 3:23-24 ). The encouragement to work with your own hands still remains valid (1 Thess 4:11), because it stems from the faith in Jesus Christ. However, there is always a danger of abandoning work for various reasons and dealing with unnecessary things (2 Thess 3:11-12). Therefore, it is crucial to follow continuously the attitudes of our teachers of faith.


Paul's Letters; Work; Gospel; Faith; Good Actions

Published : 2014-06-01

Stasiak, S. (2014). The Value of Work in Saint Paul’s Teaching. Verbum Vitae, 25, 155-168.

Sławomir Stasiak

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