The Meaning of 2 Thessalonians 3:9 Explained

2 Thessalonians 3:9

KJV: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

YLT: not because we have not authority, but that ourselves a pattern we might give to you, to imitate us;

Darby: not that we have not the right, but that we might give ourselves as an example to you, in order to your imitating us.

ASV: not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves and ensample unto you, that ye should imitate us.

What does 2 Thessalonians 3:9 Mean?

Context Summary

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18 - Separate Industrious Persevering
From his high expectations of the Advent, the Apostle turns to the prosaic commonplaces of daily toil. There was need for this, because the expectation of the speedy return of Christ was disarranging the ordinary course of life and duty. People were neglecting the common round of daily tasks, and idlers were imposing on Christian generosity. Against these the Apostle sets his own example of sitting far into the night at his tent-making. See 1 Thessalonians 2:9. The best attitude for those that look for their Lord is not in pressing their faces against the oriel window, to behold the chariot of their returning Master, but in plying their toil with deft hands and consecrated hearts.
Note that parting salutation, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, and let us believe that the God of peace is causing peace for us at all times and in all ways. Even storms are forwarding our boat to its haven, and we shall be borne in with the flood tide of His mercy. Every wind is a home wind to the child of God, setting in from the quarter of His love. Every messenger, however garbed, brings God's salutation and benediction [source]

Chapter Summary: 2 Thessalonians 3

1  Paul craves their prayers for himself;
3  testifies what confidence he has in them;
5  makes request to God in their behalf;
6  gives them various precepts, especially to shun idleness, and ill company;
16  and then concludes with prayer and salutation

Greek Commentary for 2 Thessalonians 3:9

Not because we have not the right [ουχ οτι ουκ εχομεν εχουσιαν]
Paul is sensitive on his right to receive adequate support (1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Corinthians 9:4 where he uses the same word εχουσιαν — exousian in the long defence of this right, 1 Corinthians 9:1-27). So he here puts in this limitation to avoid misapprehension. He did allow churches to help him where he would not be misunderstood (2 Corinthians 11:7-11; Philemon 4:15.). Paul uses ουχ οτι — ouch hoti elsewhere to avoid misunderstanding (2 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philemon 4:17). [source]
But to make ourselves an ensample unto you [αλλ ινα εαυτους τυπον δωμεν υμιν]
Literally, but that we might give ourselves a type to you. Purpose with ινα — hina and second aorist active subjunctive of διδωμι — didōmi On τυπον — tupon see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:7. [source]
but that we might give ourselves a type to you []
. Purpose with ινα — hina and second aorist active subjunctive of διδωμι — didōmi On τυπον — tupon see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:7. [source]
Power [ἐξουσίαν]
Better, right. See on Mark 2:10; see on John 1:12. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 2 Thessalonians 3:9

Romans 5:14 A figure [τυπος]
See note on Acts 7:43; note on 1 Thessalonians 1:7; note on 2 Thessalonians 3:9; and note on 1 Corinthians 10:6 for this word. Adam is a type of Christ in holding a relation to those affected by the headship in each case, but the parallel is not precise as Paul shows. [source]
1 Corinthians 10:6 Were our examples [τυποι ημων εγενητησαν]
More exactly, examples for us (objective genitive ημων — hēmōn not subjective genitive, of us). The word τυποι — tupoi (our types) comes from τυπτω — tuptō to strike, and meant originally the mark of a blow as the print of the nails (John 20:25), then a figure formed by a blow like images of the gods (Acts 7:43), then an example to be imitated (1 Peter 5:3; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9), or to be avoided as here, and finally a type in a doctrinal sense (Romans 5:14; Hebrews 9:24). [source]
2 Thessalonians 3:7 How ye ought to imitate us [πως δει μιμεισται ημας]
Literally, how it is necessary to imitate us. The infinitive μιμεισται — mimeisthai is the old verb μιμεομαι — mimeomai from μιμος — mimos (actor, mimic), but in N.T. only here (and 2 Thessalonians 3:9), Hebrews 13:7; 3 John 1:11. It is a daring thing to say, but Paul knew that he had to set the new Christians in the midst of Jews and Gentiles a model for their imitation (Philemon 3:17). [source]
1 Timothy 4:12 Thy youth [σου της νεοτητος]
Genitive case of old word (from νεος — neos) as in Mark 10:20. Be thou (γινου — ginou). Present middle imperative of γινομαι — ginomai “Keep on becoming thou.” An ensample Old word from τυπτω — tuptō a type. Pauline use of the word (1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Philemon 3:17; Titus 2:7). To them that believe (των πιστων — tōn pistōn). Objective genitive. In word In conversation as well as in public speech. In manner of life (εν αναστροπηι — en anastrophēi). “In bearing” (Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 4:22). In purity Old word from αγνευω — hagneuō Sinlessness of life. Used of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:2, Numbers 6:21). Only here and 1 Timothy 5:2 in N.T. [source]
1 Timothy 4:12 An ensample [τυπος]
Old word from τυπτω — tuptō a type. Pauline use of the word (1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Philemon 3:17; Titus 2:7). To them that believe (των πιστων — tōn pistōn). Objective genitive. In word In conversation as well as in public speech. In manner of life (εν αναστροπηι — en anastrophēi). “In bearing” (Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 4:22). In purity Old word from αγνευω — hagneuō Sinlessness of life. Used of a Nazirite (Numbers 6:2, Numbers 6:21). Only here and 1 Timothy 5:2 in N.T. [source]
Titus 2:7 An ensample [τυπον]
For this word see note on 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Philemon 3:17. Uncorruptness (απτοριαν — aphthorian). Only example, from late adjective απτορος — aphthoros (α — a privative and πτειρω — phtheirō). [source]
Hebrews 13:7 Remember [μνημονευετε]
Present active imperative of μνημονευω — mnēmoneuō old verb to be mindful of (from μνημων — mnēmōn mindful) with genitive (John 15:20) or accusative (Matthew 16:9). “Keep in mind.” Cf. Hebrews 11:22. Them that had the rule over you Present middle participle of ηγεομαι — hēgeomai with genitive of the person The preaching of these early disciples, apostles, and prophets (1 Corinthians 1:17). And considering the issue of their life No “and” in the Greek, but the relative ων — hōn (whose) in the genitive case after αναστροπης — anastrophēs “considering the issue of whose life.” Present active participle of ανατεωρεω — anatheōreō late compound, to look up a subject, to investigate, to observe accurately, in N.T. only here and Acts 17:23. Εκβασις — Ekbasis is an old word from εκβαινω — ekbainō to go out (Hebrews 11:15, here only in N.T.), originally way out (1 Corinthians 10:13), but here (only other N.T. example) in sense of end or issue as in several papyri examples (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). Imitate their faith Present middle imperative of μιμεομαι — mimeomai old verb (from μιμος — mimos actor, mimic), in N.T. only here, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 3 John 1:11. Keep on imitating the faith of the leaders. [source]
3 John 1:11 Follow [μιμοῦ]
More correctly, as Rev., imitate. Elsewhere only 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 13:7. The kindred word μιμητής imitatoruniformly rendered follower in A.V., occurs 1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1. Hence our word mimic; also pantomime. Μῖμος means both an actor and a kind of prose drama, intended as a familiar representation of life and character, and without any distinct plot. [source]
3 John 1:11 Imitate not [μη μιμου]
Present middle imperative in prohibition (do not have the habit of imitating) of μιμεομαι — mimeomai (from μιμος — mimos actor, mimic), old word, in N.T. only here, 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9; Hebrews 13:7. [source]

What do the individual words in 2 Thessalonians 3:9 mean?

not that not we have [the] right but that ourselves [as] an example we may offer to you for - you to imitate us
οὐχ ὅτι οὐκ ἔχομεν ἐξουσίαν ἀλλ’ ἵνα ἑαυτοὺς τύπον δῶμεν ὑμῖν εἰς τὸ μιμεῖσθαι ἡμᾶς

ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
ἔχομεν  we  have 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: ἔχω  
Sense: to have, i.e. to hold.
ἐξουσίαν  [the]  right 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ἐξουσία  
Sense: power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases.
ἵνα  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
ἑαυτοὺς  ourselves 
Parse: Reflexive Pronoun, Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἑαυτοῦ  
Sense: himself, herself, itself, themselves.
τύπον  [as]  an  example 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: τυπικῶς 
Sense: the mark of a stroke or blow, print.
δῶμεν  we  may  offer 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 1st Person Plural
Root: διδῶ 
Sense: to give.
ὑμῖν  to  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
τὸ  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μιμεῖσθαι  you  to  imitate 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Root: μιμέομαι  
Sense: to imitate: any one.
ἡμᾶς  us 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Plural
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.