Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Ephesians 6:5-9
Today we look at passages that are considered controversial today, mainly because it’s a misunderstanding from the Greek to English language and a lack of understanding of the context of the scriptures. Many Atheists and skeptics will jump on these scriptures to say “Aha, the Bible is racist” or insist Paul is promoting slavery as we known it from a Western culture. However taking a deeper look and doing a little bit of research, you will find that its not the case here at all
The original Greek word here is “Doulos” this word can be translated as slave but also translated a “bondservant” which is the way the NKJV translated it “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;” (Ephesians 6:5 (NKJV) When translated to bondservant , it gives the context a total different meaning to this teaching.
In Roman times, the term bondservant or slave could refer to someone who voluntarily served others (gotquestions.org) A bondservant was someone who voluntarily served others, much like an employment agreement we have today. In today’s world , a company recruits you for work, you agree to their terms, and you have an agreement to be their employee.Technically you then have a master/servant relationship. This was the same relationship with a bondservant and a master in the first century. Paul is not talking about slavery as we know it from a Western cultural perspective
Now to understand the principle Paul is teaching here “Serve with good will, as to The Lord and not man” (v7) Whatever we do in life, we should do it for the glory of God. If you are working a job, you should do your best with honesty and integrity, as to represent Christ. Maybe you have a bad boss, or maybe you hate your job, you should still do your best as if you are working for The Lord Jesus Christ himself
This goes the same for “Masters” or employers/businesses. If you are a business owner or manager, you should treat your employees with the love of Christ. You should operate and conduct your business with integrity as Jesus Christ is your Lord. While these scriptures are usually taken out of context in today’s society, there are great principles here that we can apply to our daily lives Amen!