1 Timothy 6:1

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. 1 Timothy 6:1

Among other things, Paul has been speaking about the requirements for, and duties and responsibilities of, ministers in the church. He has then talked about the treatment of those in the church such as the “older man,” “older women,” and “younger women.” He then turned to the treatment of, and expected conduct of, the widows. After that, he mentioned the honor expected to be granted to elders. He has methodically written about these many categories, but there is yet another category which existed openly in Roman society, which has existed in societies since then, and which – though highly frowned on by the world at large – is still on-going in parts of the world today. It is the issue of “bondservants,” or “slaves.”

As there is not such a category in most of the world today, one could then say, “Well, this no longer applies, and so I can overlook this portion of Scripture.” However, this would not be wise. We may not have bonded servants in the world today, but we have employees in companies, hired hands on ranches, and on and on. Though not a one-to-one comparison, the precepts should still be applied to those who are under “masters,” whether bonded servants, or “lowly” paid employees.

Paul says, “as many bondservants are under the yoke.” This means those who are obligated to masters. The word “yoke” shows that this is a difficult, and a disagreeable position in which the bondservant finds himself. A yoke is generally considered in this light, although it can simply be a symbol of authority without difficulty as well (see Matthew 11:30). The believing slave is specifically being addressed here, but let us in our minds also consider an employee in this capacity for the moral purposes which are laid out. Paul says that they are to “count their own masters worthy of all honor.”

In our minds, a slave is one who should attempt to get his freedom from his cruel master – the one who has no right to rule over another in such an undignified way. Such a slave should be able to rebel, speak against, and vilify his owner. But Paul says otherwise. Instead of such a negative state towards his owner, he is to actually do the opposite, counting him worthy of all honor.

And in a comparable sense, today it is fashionable to rage against the employers. How unfair they are! They make more than the peon workers and are to be rebelled against, spoken against, and vilified, but Paul would argue against this as well. He would tell the employee that he owes special honor to his employer. The word “count” gives the sense of making a sure, conscious judgment concerning the matter; it is to be the leading thought in what is being considered. And there is a reason for this. It is “so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.”

A believer is to be honoring of the master (or the employer) because he bears the name of Christ. In acting in a disobedient and disrespectful manner, it is Christ who will then be reviled by the owner (or employer). Anyone who can’t see this, doesn’t understand the nature of humanity who inevitably looks to the highest authority of a particular matter as the one who is ultimately responsible for unappreciated conduct. For example, when a nation has an argument with another nation, it is the leader who is reviled, thus he stands representative of all below him who are implicitly reviled at the same time.

And so it is to be understood that when a slave (employee) who is a believer acts in a manner which is unsuited to his position below the master (employer), it is the Lord, and the teaching of the Lord, who will receive the blame. “Oh that ‘Christian’ is such a bad slave (employee). That Jesus whom he follows is not good, and His teachings are contemptible!” This is what Paul means with his words. This should never be the case. Instead, the master (employer) should say, “Graham is such a marvelous soul. I have never had such a faithful person under my charge, and it is truly a wonderful reflection on his faith, and on Jesus. I need to find out more about this wonderful religion he believes in.”

Life application: Our actions as believers reflect directly on the Lord we serve. Let us attempt to remember this at all times, and to act in a manner which will bring Him, and His glorious gospel, much acclaim.

Lord God, help us as believers to remember that You are who we represent. Our actions will always be judged in relation to You. When we act like fools, then Christianity, and our Lord who leads the faith, will be reviled. When we act as faithful followers of Christ, then people may still hate You and our faith, but they will not be able to bring discredit upon You in the process. Grant us wisdom to remember this always. Amen.

6 thoughts on “1 Timothy 6:1

  • Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Hey Charlie
    I agree with most of this but there has to be a cut off point when dealing with a manager that openly wants to screw you over? How many times do we turn the other cheek how long do we let this person put undo stress on our lives that ultimatum is brought home every night and then effects the family??? We are told to sell our cloaks and buy a sword and defend ourselves does that not apply here???? Myself I turned the cheek many times only to be rewarded with more stress in my life. I am just curious about how you see.how this question plays out in the bible do’s and don’ts. The good news is we won’t have to deal with this much longer Amen

    • Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Gordon, I can’t speak beyond what the word says. For a slave, they had no choice as they were property. They had to take whatever their owner said. In the case of an employee, we have the choice to leave anytime. The last job I had, the county took over the wastewater plant I ran. As typical, they are inefficient, rewarded the incompetent, and had no care that those who worked hard had to carry the load. I finally left my keys on the desk when the next shift came in and told them that I wouldn’t be back. Through it, I tried to maintain the right attitude. But in the end, they ran the show, and so to not do exactly what we are admonished in this verse, I bailed. The Lord has provided since. I will be glad to depart even now, despite loving what I do. Cannot wait.

      • Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 8:10 am

        Yup I hear what your saying I guess this subject triggered some suppressed feelings I have. It took years to get to the point of saying lord I forgive my ex boss for what he did to me and I did but I guess there is still a nagging resentment hanging around as to how it all went down? As bad as it was I can put a big silver lining around it! The situation lead me to other believers I would other wise never have met and my faith and understanding in the lord just exploded inside of me. So getting unceremoniously canned from a job turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The lord put me where I needed to be and surrounded me with people I needed to help me stay on that narrow path to him Amen. I just pray this under liing resentmeant is finally behind me and no longer a suppressed hindrance to my walk with the lord? Thank you for your comments on this. God Bless my friend

        • Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 3:43 pm

          Funny, when I type these, I also get suppressed feelings come up. Sometimes I need to rework them to not be so personal.

          As far as getting canned. Rush Limbaugh said he failed at many many jobs, but now look. He is a gazillionaire. I don’t think he’s saved, but maybe he made a commitment at some point. The Lord does work all things out for us. We just need to see His hand in it.

  • Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Well said Charlie, (Abondservant)

    I was told this very verse as a kid from my mom. She taught me early that not only are we to “Ride for the brand” of The Lord, but to our employers that we work for.

    I have also taught this to my kids and they have always understood if they don’t like their jobs then quit, but quit knowing the person in the mirror is the biggest problem they face at work.

    Same when life draws us down, Quit, but quit knowing we will always have a Lord who will never say the same to us. The sooner we understand that, the sooner we grow stronger in Christ.

    • Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      I posted to another person on this verse that my last job, I did just this. Left the keys on the table and left. Better to not make waves and have the Lord blamed than to worry about staying at a crummy job! Bless you brother. Please take care of yourself. Keep your health up!


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