by Harley Howard

This content is part of a series.

1 Timothy Chapter 6 (7 of 7)
Series: The Epistle of I Timothy
Harley Howard

The last chapter of Paul's First Epistle to Timothy can be broken down into the following categories:

• Instructions concerning employer and employee relationships, vs. 1-2
• The foolishness of false doctrine, vs. 3-5
• The greed of the false teacher and follower, vs. 6-10
• Spiritual priorities, vs. 11-16
• Instructions to the rich saints, vs. 17-19
• Paul's final warning about false teachers, vs. 20-21.

1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.

Some historians have estimated that half of the population of the Roman Empire was composed of slaves. Many of the slaves were educated and cultured, but legally they were not considered persons at all. The gospel message of salvation and freedom in Christ appealed to them, and many became believers. However, believer-slaves were to serve continually and faithfully under their unsaved masters with the highest respect, so that God's name would not be spoken evil of. This instruction was important because a religion that the Romans thought might incite slave discontent would immediately be labeled subversive, and would be subject to outright persecution. Paul wanted slaves who were Christians, as well as free Christians, to engage in an intelligent witness.

Now I want to bring out an interesting point here. The word for "honor" is the exact same word that is used for both the pastor's salary and also for the destitute widow's financial support. So does it mean that slaves should have paid their masters? Obviously not. First of all, in the context of both previous usages of the word, towards destitute widows and elders, there is clear instruction for financial remuneration and support that is no where in this passage. So then, the use of the word honor here has nothing to do with a payment of slaves to their mast ...

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