Biblical Socialism


Here is where we can continue the discussion from Silver Cord’s introduction thread. I’ll copy the relevant last posts in the discussion.

Hello Stuck Between Parties

Are you REALLY serious about this??? Do you HONESTLY think socialism is better than free-market capitalism? Are you HAPPY to have half of your income confiscated by various levels of government because obviously GOVERNMENT knows better how to use it than you do? Will you ENJOY working your butt off to improve your lot in life, only to be told you can only earn what the GOVERNMENT says your job is worth because paying you more than the sloths in the same job would be “unfair” to THEM? Do you think you’ll be content to wait for a year for pain-relieving surgery because you’re low man on the totem pole socially? THAT’S what socialism is. BTW, the TOP income tax level in Norway and Sweden is close to 75%! That means that the government gets 75 cents of every dollar you earn. If that’ll make you happy, you’re free to move there but remember; you do NOT have the right to own a firearm in either country to protect yourself from the hordes of Muslim “immigrants” that have been running amok.


I’m kind of thinking that the thread title might be a candidate for an oxymoron…


The hazards of starting a thread out of another thread…I did not post this!



The argument about northern Europe really should center on the fact that they’ve been liberalizing their economies. Their success has come from movement in the right direction, freer markets. That’s where I’ll head if and when I dip back into this discussion. Sweden is not a good example of socialism working well.


The Bible is mostly the OT. As for the small portion that was written after Christ’s arrival, it never even remotely covers the topic of governance. No economic system is suggested in the New Testament. What little is said about government is primarily Jesus and Paul saying(in essence) “The government doesn’t matter, keep your mind and actions on God”.

So the Bible is neutral on almost any form of government. From anarchy to a tight statism it doesn’t say much. To the extent a statist government attempts to prevent the practice and expression of faith it would be ignored/challenged. But beyond that anything is completely compatible.




Literally the verse before the one you quoted says they have a “right” to eat without working.

Which is the ideal work ethic of God’s followers, as opposed to those outside the faith. Chapter 3 actually comes closer to making Silvercord’s point than yours.


It says no such thing. Paul wasn’t saying that he didn’t have the right to it, in fact he enumerated his rights. And “urging the people to earn what they eat” is certainly not saying they have the right to eat. It just says they are eating.


Let’s take a look at those verses (and a few more) with different (and more contextual) emphasis:

Nope. You got the context all wrong.


You just repeated what I quoted. That’s the ideal for a follower of Christ. It is not speaking of pagan people. And does quite specifically say they have every ability to eat even without working.

Paul is mostly talking about work ethic and that you should work. That entire message is covering the topic that many people who are receiving food are not in fact working for it.

Paul says the following

  1. You have a right to eat even if you don’t work (verse 9)
  2. You should however work in order to eat
  3. If you eat without working you should be ashamed of yourself.

All three of those concepts are conveyed. Both of you seem to be trying to pit them against each other and say that 2 somehow nullifies 1. It doesn’t. They aren’t even contradictory.

Further highlighting that Paul said you should work doesn’t dismiss that he also said you will be provided with food even if you don’t. You would need to explain why Paul misspoke when he said you will be provided for even without working.


I had to look it up to understand that you were using the NIV; obviously, the KJV doesn’t word verse nine like that. But you’re seizing on that word “right” (NIV) as if eating were a shear entitlement. I don’t think that’s what it’s saying.


I don’t think it’s a shear entitlement either. But he is clearly saying “We have the option to eat without working, but we choose to work and implore you to do likewise”. That is what I see conveyed. Some of the men in question are clearly not working. Which is what Paul is warning against.

Both Paul and Jesus go to great lengths to stress that God’s Kingdom is in Heaven, not on Earth. And that your physical works are to be reflections of the spirit within. So I don’t read Paul as arguing against the concept of eating without working, but is objecting to the spirit of selfishness. They are allowing others to work when they are able and are simply taking from them - which is a moral failing on their part. I don’t think Paul is criticizing the physical act so much as the failure in character leading up to it.

If Paul had been traveling and arrived at dusk, would he decline food because he didn’t gather or prepare it himself? Probably not. Because he wasn’t really able to help that day. So it can even be perfectly fine to take someone’s food when offered, provided that it happens in the right context. The problem isn’t eating without working per se. It’s the unwillingness to work when able.


I don’t see where you get that option of eating without working. I was talking about this with Mom, and she was indicating that they had earned it with work, but for whatever reason, felt it was a burden that the local church community could have done without when they had other resources.

Not directly related to the topic at hand, but selfishness is exactly socialism fails.

Which is at least a roundabout commentary on economy; not the direct point, but obviously, any economy where everyone receives and no one works is hopelessly dysfunctional.


I normally avoid specific biblical discussions with people who are not believers but I will make an exception.

Paul is an Apostle, that is a job and is worthy of food and shelter provided by the Church as a whole.

That is why he says “we” have those “Rights” to sustenance, then he goes on to say that he does not exercise that Right but instead chooses to also work independently of his commission so he is not a burden to the Church which he serves as an Apostle.

His context is “we” as in those who serve the Church full time, not “we” as in all believers.

The text is shaming those who refuse to work by saying that the ones who actually have a Right to Church provision are even finding the time and energy to pay their own way so the lazy ones have no excuse.