Take Things As You Find Them

Paul’s instructions to slaves and masters (Colossians 3:22–4:1) fall in a section on rules for Christian households, including the relationship between husbands and wives and children and parents (3:18–4:1). Many ask why Paul didn’t condemn slavery here. It’s important to note that while he didn’t condemn it, he didn’t condone it either (3:23-25). Slavery was created by human beings and doesn’t represent God’s will for His creatures. The sheer fact that Paul instructed slaves and masters each in their turn is important and implies their mutual equality before God in the church.

During Paul’s day, the Roman world was full of slaves; it’s estimated that at one point one-third of the residents of Rome were slaves. They became slaves as prisoners of war, convicts, or through debt, kidnapping, or other means. As William Hendriksen states, “[Paul] took the social structure as he found it and endeavored by peaceful means to change it into its very opposite.”

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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