“The family asked for privacy during the press conference…”

Something bad had happened, and a representative of the family spoke to the press, asking to be left alone at this difficult time. It seemed ironic to hold a press conference requesting privacy, but I think all any of us really want is a quiet life.

Do your best to live a quiet life. Learn to do your own work well.  We told you about this before. By doing this, you will be respected by those who are not Christians. Then you will not be in need and others will not have to help you.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NLV)

Learn to do your own work well. I love that line. And I started thinking about that. Your own work. Part of my work is to meander around the Bible. To think about the meaning of life, my place in the world, how best to represent my faith, ways to encourage others…. It’s a lot to think about, and it’s one of the reasons I like to get different perspectives.

Even reading various versions of the Bible can give you many interpretations of the same text.

The Orthodox Jewish Bible version of this passage really caught my fancy.

And have as your ambition to lead a quiet life of shalom bayis, and to mind your own business, and to have a parnasah, working with your own hands, according to the mitzvot (commandments) we gave you.  The tachlis (purpose) is that the way you fier zich (comport oneself) in your derech (way of life) be conducted properly toward outsiders and that you might not be nitzrach (needy).

Kehillah in Thessalonika I 4:11-12
Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

Wow! That’s a lot to drink in. I have to sit with it for a while. Meantime, talk amongst yourselves!

The Worldwide English Bible version seems to be out of left field. It reads:

Please try to live a quiet life. Mind your own business. Work with your hands as we told you to do. Then people who do not belong to the church will respect you. And you will not need help from anyone. Here is something I want you to know about those who have died. You should not cry for them like people cry who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (WEB)

No other version says anything about “those who have died,” so I really don’t know what to make of this line. What grabs me here is that we’re told directly, “mind your own business.” Who knew scripture could be so pushy?

All I know is that living a quiet life and having a sense of purpose seems like bliss to me now; when I was young, I thought that excitement and adventure were all that mattered. “Peaceful and prayerful” might not make it as a tabloid headline, but as a way of life, it’s the only way to go.

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