I was speaking to my friend and he said that this verse condones slavery. However, I do not believe it does as the Bible would not accept slavery as it is not according to the love of God. What do you think? Here is the passage: "Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things." Thanks.
1 Timothy 6:1 - 2
ESV - 1 Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things.
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As I believe has been previously noted in discussions on ebible.com, slavery in the New Testament differed from its usual modern form. In the Roman world of the New Testament, even if slavery involved the subjugation of peoples (often as a result of military conquest), it was by nature more of a social status as part of an economic system, from which it was even possible for slaves to advance through the buying of their freedom. In contrast to modern slavery (particularly with respect to America's experience), it was not grounded in a belief that any particular group of people was forever condemned to subservience because of being genetically or biologically inferior to another. Aside from that, I would also say that the goal of the early church in New Testament times was primarily the salvation and transformation of the lives of individuals (whatever their social standing) through faith in Christ, rather than seeking to fundamentally and immediately change existing, deeply-rooted social institutions. It was this transformation of individuals that would then gradually lead to change as a result of masters and slaves coming to view each other as being brothers or sisters in Christ, as occurred with Paul's friend Philemon and Philemon's slave Onesimus, as related in Philemon 1.
Slavery, bondservant are basically the same. Using the NKJV translation, let's look! Genesis 44:16, "Then Judah said, 'What shall we say to my Lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my Lord's slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.'" Romans 6:17, "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, (in Egypt, or in today's technological world) yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which you were delivered." The theme of 1 Timothy is found in chapter 3 verse 15 - "But, if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and the ground of truth." Specifically, 1 Timothy chapters 5 & 6 address the work, behavior of the clergy. (Or anyone who is a believer.) Romans 8:15, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'." Galatians 1:10, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ." Colossians 4:12, "Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." James 1:1, "James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:1, "Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ." Jude 1, "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James." So, no, this verse does not condone slavery. We have been purchased by the Holy Blood of Jesus' sacrifice. If we accept Him, we recognize that our freedom from death and sin is all due to His love!
The New Testament (and the Apostle Paul) is not giving a general approval of the institution of slavery in this passage. What he is concerned with is that "the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled." Slavery had been around for about 2500 years prior to the New Testament era and was a common practice at the time. There were several classes of slaves. If a person owed a debt that he could not pay (also known as a "bond servant") he was not paid for his work in wages, but instead was paid in food, clothing and shelter. They could have a wife and children also. The Jewish owner was prohibited from mistreating his slaves due to the prohibition found in Exodus chapter 21.
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