1 Timothy 6:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Timothy 6:1, NIV: "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered."

1 Timothy 6:1, ESV: "Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled."

1 Timothy 6:1, KJV: "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."

1 Timothy 6:1, NASB: "All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against."

1 Timothy 6:1, NLT: "All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching."

1 Timothy 6:1, CSB: "All who are under the yoke as slaves should regard their own masters as worthy of all respect, so that God's name and his teaching will not be blasphemed."

What does 1 Timothy 6:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The end of chapter 5 dealt with the proper way for Christians to honor good church elders and how to discipline those who went astray. The first two verses of chapter 6 provide instructions to Christians in Ephesus who lived as bondservants or slaves. This was an extremely common status in the first century.

Paul encouraged slaves to obtain freedom whenever possible (1 Corinthians 7:21). He pled for the freedom of the runaway slave Onesimus in his letter to Philemon (Philemon 1:8–16). However, Paul did not focus the major portion of his ministry on the abolition of slavery. Rather, Paul's words here are a direction towards godly behavior, no matter one's circumstances. He commands slaves to give their masters honor. Why? For the honor of God: "so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled."

As important as each person is to God (Genesis 1:27), God's honor is to be the utmost priority to the believer. In addition, Paul wanted there to be no excuse for people to reject the gospel based on the negative actions of Christians. Instead of Christian slaves rebelling against their masters, they were to live godly lives to help bring glory to the Lord and reach people for Christ. This, along with the New Testament's powerful teaching of human equality (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11), created an approach which weakened and eventually defeated chattel slavery in Western culture.