The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Submission To Masters

"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God" (1 Pet.2:18-19).

Slavery was an ingrained institution in the days of the apostle Peter. I find it interesting to note, since I am sure that all of us find the institution deplorable, that the New Testament writers do attack the practice itself. With the institution so firmly entrenched, I think that Peter thinks it would be a waste of time to try to bring it down in one foul swoop... First of all, I think that Peter is addressing Christian slaves who were what we would call "domestics." The Greek word oiketai backs that up. These were slaves that fit into family structures, not those who spent a life of misery working countless hours in mines or fields. Under normal conditions, domestic slaves served the Lord best without grumbling when they went about their tasks with reasonable grace... I would certainly imagine that submission could be particularly chafing when those over them were arrogant and demanding. Even under these circumstances, Peter urges them to be courteous, even when the masters were not and showed them little respect... Cheerful obedience allows one to set their own agenda and perhaps even become the master of the situation. Peter was concerned about giving his readers spiritual resources to deal with being owned and with being regarded as living machines at their master's disposal. I do believe that the New Testament contains principles that eventually uprooted slavery, as we look at Philemon 16. I also feel that its not too much of a stretch for the principles being expressed here to apply today's workplace. The person in charge may not always be kind. If the Christian cannot control the conditions under which he or she works, they can always be in charge of themselves...We cannot allow unreasonable demands or nagging complaints to lead to bitterness, remembering that we are the Christians. Doing one's best, working diligently, and maintaining a cheerful demeanor not only honors God but gives one dignity and peace.... It is an interesting subject to explore, and if you find more in the Bible about it, be sure to share it with me....

Have a wonderful day.... Make your little part of the world better.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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