Summary: Every believer is equally a priest in full-time Christian service, and there are no "lay" people. Believers have privacy, and their spiritual life is between them and God.
PRIVACY & PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS (6-12-01)
(1 Thes. 4:11-12; Rev. 1:5-6, 5:9-10)
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1. All born-again believers are PRIESTS in full-time Christian service (Rev. 1:5-6, 5:9-10).
Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
Rev 1:6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father-- to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Rev 5:10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (NIV)
There is no such thing Biblically as "lay" believers. God the Holy Spirit, as He wills, gives at least one spiritual gift to every Christian to be used in service (1 Cor. 12). Certain believers may have the gift of pastor-teacher or evangelism, and they may receive financial support from the rest of the Church. However, this does not make them "reverends" with special stature, nor does it make the rest of us "laity" who are second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. We are all piests in full-time Christian service.
2. As a priest, you have the right to represent yourself before God, having your own relationship with Him. No one has the right to judge your spiritual life, nor do you have the right to judge theirs (Col. 2:16-17).
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV)
3. The Bible tells us to study, to mind or take care of our own business, to work with our hands, so that we may treat others properly or honestly and have no need to depend on others (1 Thes. 4:11-12).
1 Thes 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1 Thes 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (KJV)
The Greek word for study is philotimeomai (fil-ot-im-eh’-om-ahee), which means to labor or strive or study something eagerly or earnestly and to be fond of the honor that comes as a result.
The Greek word for quiet is hesuchazo (hay-soo-khad’-zo), which means to keep still, to avoid meddlesomeness, to hold one’s peace, to be quiet, to rest. This is referring to our spiritual attitude and life, not to working for a living which we are told to do at the end of 1 Thes. 4:11. Bible study will teach us to have spiritual rest, and avoid meddling in the affairs of others.
The Greek word for do or mind is prasso (pras’-so). This means to do or practice something habitually or repeatedly, to ultimately accomplish something. Doing or minding our own business is something we are to habitually do.
The Greek word translated your own business is idios (id’-ee-os), meaning your own private, personal business.
The Greek word for work is ergazomai (er-gad’-zom-ahee), and it is a verb which means to toil at a task or occupation.
The Greek word for walk is peripateo (per-ee-pat-eh’-o), and this refers to your lifestyle, the way you carry yourself, the way you occupy yourself.
The Greek word for honestly is euschemonos (yoo-skhay-mon’-ose), and it means honestly or decently.
The Greek word for outsider or them that are without is exo (ex’-o), referring to the people outside in society whom you encounter regularly.
The Greek word for ye may have lack of or not be dependent on is hustereo (hoos-ter-eh’-o), which means to suffer need, to be destitute, to be deficient or fall short, to lack.
The Greek word for nothing or anybody is medeis (may-dice’), has the meaning of "not even one man, woman, or thing."
Other translations of these same two verses are:
1 Thes 4:11-12
11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;
12 so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. (NAS)
1 Thes 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,