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For you know very well that you should order your lives after our example, because we were not undisciplined when we were with you. We didn’t sponge off of you, but we worked hard night and day to provide our own food and lodging and not be a burden to any of you. It wasn’t because we don’t have the right to be supported,[a] but we wanted to provide you an example to follow.

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  1. 3:9 Those who preach the gospel have the right to be supported financially and deserve their wages (1 Cor. 9:6–18). However, it seems that Paul’s custom was to earn his own way when he went into a city for the first time to show the truth of the gospel without mixed motives. His ministry in Thessalonica was somewhat of an anomaly. Because there were believers who were lazy and not working for a living, Paul gave up his right to have financial support from them and chose to work “night and day” (v. 8) to be an example to them.

For you yourselves know (A)how you ought to imitate us, because (B)we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but (C)with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was (D)not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves (E)an example to imitate.

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