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Bible verses about idleness

One of the things that God hates is idleness. Not only does it bring poverty, but it brings shame, hunger, disappointment, ruin, and more sin in your life. Have you ever heard the phrase idle hands are the devil’s workshop? 

No biblical leader had anything to do with the sin of idleness. If a man is not willing to work he will not eat. We should never be overworking ourselves and we all need sleep, but too much sleep will hurt you.

When you’re not doing something and you have a lot of time on your hands that can easily lead to sin such as gossip and always worrying about what other people are doing. Don’t be lazy like America instead get up and advance the kingdom of God.


What does the Bible say?

1.  2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 When we were with you, we told you that if a man does not work, he should not eat. We hear that some are not working. But they are spending their time trying to see what others are doing. Our words to such people are that they should be quiet and go to work. They should eat their own food. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we say this. But you, Christian brothers, do not get tired of doing good. If anyone does not want to listen to what we say in this letter, remember who he is and stay away from him. In that way, he will be put to shame. Do not think of him as one who hates you. But talk to him as a Christian brother.

2.  2 Thessalonians 3:4-8 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of the Messiah.  In the name of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is living in idleness and not living according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know what you must do to imitate us. We never lived in idleness among you. We did not eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, with toil and labor we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to any of you.

3. Ecclesiastes 10:18 Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house.

4. Proverbs 20:13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.

5. Proverbs 28:19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.

6. Proverbs 14:23 In all toil there is profit, but idle talk tends only to poverty.

7. Proverbs 15:19-21 For lazy people, life is a path overgrown with thorns and thistles. For those who do what is right, it is a smooth highway. Wise children make their parents happy. Foolish children bring them shame. Doing foolish things makes a fool happy, but a wise person is careful to do what is right.


A virtuous woman does not have idle hands.

8. Proverbs 31:10-15 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

9. Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.


We can’t be idle. There are always things to be done for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.

10. 1 Corinthians 3:8-9 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

11. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”



12. Proverbs 6:4-8 Don’t give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a fowler’s trap. Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest.

13. Proverbs 21:25-26 The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labour. There is one who covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and keeps on giving.


Laziness leads to excuses

14.  Proverbs 26:11-16 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. The slacker says, “There’s a lion in the road— a lion in the public square!” A door turns on its hinges, and a slacker, on his bed. The slacker buries his hand in the bowl; he is too weary to bring it to his mouth. In his own eyes, a slacker is wiser than seven men who can answer sensibly.

15.  Proverbs 22:11-13 He who values grace and truth is the king’s friend. The Lord preserves the upright but ruins the plans of the wicked. The lazy man is full of excuses. “I can’t go to work!” he says. “If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!”


Bible examples

16.  Ezekiel 16:46-49 And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

17.  Proverbs 24:30-34 I walked by the field of a certain lazy fellow and saw that it was overgrown with thorns; it was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked, I learned this lesson: “A little extra sleep, A little more slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest” means that poverty will break in upon you suddenly like a robber and violently like a bandit.

18. Isaiah 56:8-12 The Sovereign Lord, who has brought his people Israel home from exile, has promised that he will bring still other people to join them. The Lord has told the foreign nations to come like wild animals and devour his people. He says, “All the leaders, who are supposed to warn my people, are blind! They know nothing. They are like watch dogs that don’t bark—they only lie around and dream. How they love to sleep! They are like greedy dogs that never get enough. These leaders have no understanding. They each do as they please and seek their own advantage. ‘Let’s get some wine,’ these drunkards say, ‘and drink all we can hold! Tomorrow will be even better than today!’”

19. Philippians 2:24-30 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.

20. Acts 17:20-21 The things you are saying are new to us. We have never heard this teaching before, and we want to know what it means.” (The people of Athens and the foreigners who lived there spent all their time either telling or listening to all the latest ideas.

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