Is the Statement “Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Workshop” in The Bible?


As Christians, we often come across statements and phrases that are believed to be part of the Bible. One such common phrase is “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Many people, including Christians, believe that this statement is from the Holy Scriptures. In this blog post, we will investigate whether this phrase can indeed be found in the Bible. We will be focusing on the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible for our research.

This popular saying is often used to express the idea that when people have nothing to do, they may be more likely to engage in sinful behavior. The saying also suggests that keeping busy with work, hobbies, or other activities can help prevent us from falling into temptation. It is not uncommon for believers to use this phrase to encourage one another to stay active in order to resist sin.

However, it is essential to always examine the origin of such sayings, especially when they are attributed to the Bible. Our faith is built on the foundation of God’s Word, and it is our responsibility as Christians to ensure that the teachings we adhere to are biblically accurate. By doing so, we can avoid falling into the trap of following false teachings or perpetuating misconceptions about our faith.

idle hands are the devil's workshop

The origin of the saying

Although the saying “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is not a direct quote from the Bible, its roots can be traced back to biblical principles. Proverbs 16:27 (NKJV) says, “An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.” This verse suggests that those who engage in wickedness are more likely to cause trouble and spread strife. It is important to note that the Bible does address the issue of idleness and its potential consequences.

Idleness in the Bible

The Bible has several passages that discuss the importance of staying active and the dangers of idleness. Let’s examine a few verses that highlight these principles:

  1. Proverbs 6:6-11 (NKJV): “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”

In this passage, the Bible uses the example of an ant to teach the importance of diligence and hard work. The ant is portrayed as wise because it continually works to gather food and prepare for the future. In contrast, the sluggard is depicted as someone who is idle and neglects their responsibilities, ultimately leading to poverty and need.

  1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NKJV): “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such, we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”

In this letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of working to provide for oneself and not being a burden on others. Those who are idle and do not work are described as “busybodies,” meaning that they meddle in other people’s affairs. Paul urges believers to work diligently and to live quietly and responsibly.

  1. 1 Timothy 5:13 (NKJV): “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.”

In his letter to Timothy, Paul addresses the issue of idleness among young widows in the early church. He cautions that idleness can lead to negative behaviors such as gossip and meddling in other people’s lives. This passage reinforces the idea that staying occupied with good works can help prevent falling into sinful habits.

The connection to the saying

Although the phrase “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is not explicitly found in the Bible, the underlying principle behind it is supported by Scripture. The Bible warns against idleness and encourages diligence and hard work as means to maintain a righteous life. It is important to remember that idleness can lead to temptation and sinful behavior, so it is wise for Christians to keep themselves engaged in productive activities.

However, it is also essential to recognize that the saying, in its current form, is not a direct quote from the Bible. As Christians, we should be cautious about using such phrases as if they were scriptural quotations. Instead, we can reference the specific verses that convey similar ideas, like the ones mentioned earlier in this post.


In conclusion, while the phrase “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is not a direct quote from the Bible, the concept behind it is indeed rooted in biblical teachings. Scripture warns against the dangers of idleness and encourages diligence and hard work as a way to live a righteous life.

As believers, it is our responsibility to ensure that our understanding of Scripture is accurate and that we are not perpetuating misconceptions. We should always verify the origins of sayings and phrases, especially when they are attributed to the Bible. By doing so, we can maintain the integrity of our faith and ensure that our teachings align with God’s Word.

In the end, the Bible provides us with guidance and wisdom to navigate our lives and make choices that are pleasing to God. By staying active in our faith and engaging in good works, we can better resist temptation and avoid falling into sinful behavior. So, let us strive to be diligent, hardworking, and devoted to God’s purposes, so that we may live lives that are fruitful and pleasing to Him.

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