If not, is there a verse that similarly encapsulates this notion?

  • 2
    There is no such verse on either count. – Dottard Apr 20 '20 at 7:01

“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and idle hands his tools.” Adage

Proverbs 18:9 [ESV] Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. [Heb. - Moreover one-being-slack in-work-of-him brother he to-Ba'al (l-bol), one-(bringing)-ruin/corruption (mshchith).

Cyclopedia of Illustrations for Public Speakers

Robert Scott and William C. Stiles – 1911

Says George S. Hilliard: The ruin of most men dates from some vacant hour. Occupation is the armor of the soul, and the train of idleness is borne up by all the vices. I remember a satirical poem in which the devil is represented as fishing for men and adapting his bait to the taste and temperament of his prey; but the idler, he said, pleased him most, because he bit the naked hook. (#1486)


Question: "Is ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’ a biblical statement?"

Answer: Though the statement is not found verbatim in the Bible, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” has its roots in Scripture. The apostle Paul notes that those who waste their time in idleness or in a non-productive manner are easily led into sin: “We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11). By not using their time productively, these people were tempted to meddle in other people’s business and stand in the way of their progress. “They get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13). These idlers and busybodies were wasting time that could have been used to help others. In essence, their lack of activity was leading them into sin.

Idleness is not the same as rest. The Bible advises people to rest, and taking breaks from work is good. By “idle” we mean “lazy” or “doing nothing when you should be doing something.” Idleness often stems from not having a specific goal or purpose in mind. With no goal, one can be easily distracted. The book of Proverbs warns us that sloppy or careless work is akin to malicious destruction: “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).

We live in a sinful world, and a person who doesn’t have something particular to do will invariably be tempted to do something sinful. If we have nothing to do, the devil is all too eager to find things to occupy our time.


‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ is one of the many variants of the proverb ‘the devil makes work for idle hands to do’. The is a very old idea and, as it can be dated back at least as far as the 4th century theologian St. Jerome, it can be said to be one of the oldest expressions in the English language. Jerome’s version was ‘Do something, so that the devil may always find you busy.’...

  • This is a good explanation. Thank you very much! – AngelusVastator Apr 24 '20 at 9:18

Credit to @Dottard. No, there isn't, although several Proverbs condemn idleness.

BTW, questions in the this Q&A forum need to be much more specific, referencing a specific passage and asking about it's interpretation.

  • This should be a comment, not an answer. – Nigel J Apr 20 '20 at 16:40
  • @NigelJ, I see why you thought that. My answer was very brief, as the question needed only a yes or no answer. – Steve11235 Apr 21 '20 at 1:30
  • If a question just needs a yes/no answer. then it should be closed as unsuitable for the site. And it should be left unanswered. The site risks gradual deterioration into being 'just another internet forum' if standards are permitted to fall. – Nigel J Apr 21 '20 at 18:34
  • I'm new to this "forum" and don't think it's my place to make those decisions. I'm still trying to understand the parameters of what is and isn't appropriate in terms of what's asked. I did add a note to the OP that I thought his question was not sufficiently specific. Thank you for the input. – Steve11235 Apr 21 '20 at 19:37

Neither give place to the Devil, Ephesians 4:27 { any opportunity given Satan gives him access to work in the mind}

  • The verse is talking about how an individual shouldn't be angry so that the Devil won't control them (and later destroy them as Ephesians reveals in the "spiritual armour" sermon). – AngelusVastator Apr 24 '20 at 9:15

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