Obey Your Masters?

Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters. . .” (Colossians 3:22)

Some people like to quote this verse to show that the Bible teaches immoral things, namely, that slaves need to obey their masters.  Because of our 21st century American context, we see slavery as something racial, dehumanizing, and cruel.

The problem is they ignore the context.  First, the ESV uses the word “bondservant” instead of slave, which is probably more accurate.  They would have been people trying to pay off debts.  Second, verse 4:1 says “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”  Paul is talking to Christians here.  They are not to abuse and mistreat their slaves.  They may be masters, but they have their own Master over their own lives.  This Master treats them well by giving them all the good things they have and even giving them salvation, so earthly masters should follow the example of their Master and treat their slaves well.

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One Response to Obey Your Masters?

  1. “They are not to abuse and mistreat their slaves.”

    But they’re still allowed to have slaves.

    I don’t care how nice the masters treat their slaves. Slavery is wrong.

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