Bible Articles on the Topic of Labor

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Pain in Childbirth?

The common notion of a special “curse upon the woman” involving childbirth is based on one single verse in the Bible, where God says to Eve:

Laboring Unto This Present Hour

Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands. (1 Corinthians 4:11-12)

New Testament Synonyms: Labor

μόχθος, πόνος, κόπος.

Why Physical Labour is a Spiritual Necessity

In [the] Torah portion, Ekev, Moses tells the Israelites that if they follow God’s commandments, He will “give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, and you shall gather in your corn, and your wine, and your oil.” The Talmud (Berakhot 35b) asks:


la ́bẽr (יגיע, yeghīa‛, עמל, ‛amāl; κόπος, kópos): The word (noun and verb) denoting hard work or “toil” (thus in the Revised Version of Deuteronomy 26:7; Joshua 7:3; Revelation 2:2) represents several Hebrew and Greek words, chiefly those above. Occasionally, as in Habakkuk 3:17 (ma‛ăsēh), it stands for “fruit of labor.” Sometimes, in conjunction with “travail,” it refers to childbirth (Genesis 35:16-17, yāladh; compare 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). Examples of the word in the ordinary sense are: of yeghīa‛, Genesis 31:42; Job 39:11, 39:16; Psalms 128:2; of ‛amāl, common in Ecclesiastes 1:3, 1:8; 2:10, 2:11, 2:18, etc.; of kopos, 1 Corinthians 15:58 (“your labor is not vain,” etc.); 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (“work of faith and labor of love”; compare Hebrews 6:10); 1 Timothy 5:17 (“labor in the word and in teaching”). See WORK; SLAVERY.


Labor and the laborer are invested in Jewish literature with a dignity scarcely paralleled in other ancient religions or social systems. Whereas the deities of all the nations of antiquity are depicted as spending their lives either in revelry and pleasure, like the Olympians, or in ever-lasting repose, like the Hindu god Brahma and the deified Buddha, God is represented in the Bible as the Pattern Worker, as the Maker and Ruler of the world who “fainteth not, neither is weary” (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:28). Accordingly, man, made in God’s image, was placed in the Garden of Eden not for mere idleness, but “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15); and when, lured into sin, Adam fell, work in the sweat of his brow was imposed upon him as a punishment, yet at the same time as a means of lifting him to a higher station of culture.


Labor, (properly עָבִד, abad’, to work, Gr. ἐργάζομαι; also עָמִל, amal’, to toil, Gr. κοπιάω; and other terms). From Genesis ii, 15 (where the same word עָבִד is used, A. V. “till”), we learn that man, even in a state of innocence, and surrounded by all the external sources of happiness, was not to pass his time in indolent repose. By the very constitution of his animal frame, exercise of some kind was absolutely essential to him (comp. Ecclesiastes 5:12). In Genesis 3:19, labor, in its more rigorous and exhausting forms, is set forth as a part of the primeval curse,” In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread;” and doubtless there is a view of labor which exhibits it in reality as a heavy, sometimes a crushing burden (compare Genesis 35:16). But labor is by no means exclusively an evil, nor is its prosecution a dishonor (comp. Psalms 103:22,22). It is the prostration of strength, wherewith is also connected the temporary incapacity of sharing in the enjoyments of life, and not labor itself, which constitutes the curse pronounced on the fallen man. Hence we find that, in primitive times, manual labor was neither regarded as degrading nor confined to a certain class of society, but was more or less prosecuted by all. By the institution of the Sabbath, moreover, one seventh of man’s brief life was rescued from labor, and appropriated to rest of body and to that improvement of the mind which tends to strengthen, invigorate, and sustain the entire man. SEE SABBATH.