Ephesians 6:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 6:9, NIV: "And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."

Ephesians 6:9, ESV: "Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him."

Ephesians 6:9, KJV: "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 6:9, NASB: "And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."

Ephesians 6:9, NLT: "Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites."

Ephesians 6:9, CSB: "And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him."

What does Ephesians 6:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 5 through 8 focused on the spiritual obligations of servants. In this verse, the masters of these servants are specifically addressed. Interestingly, they are given the exact same charge. Namely, they are supposed to be doing the will of God, for the good of others, from a pure and willing heart (Ephesians 6:6). Masters may be in charge, but they are also to lead others according to God's ways.

In addition, Paul commanded "stop your threatening." In a culture where masters and slave owners were given freedom to abuse their servants, Paul taught directly against this practice. His reason is based on their common Lord. This is a powerful incentive for the master, or slave owner, to be careful how they treat those over whom they have power. Masters were (and are) accountable to God for their actions toward those they lead. While Paul elsewhere appeals for slaves to be freed (Philemon 1:15–16), the basic idea applies regardless of culture or laws.

Paul then reminds masters "there is no partiality" with God. He will not show favor to those with more money or influence. God judges perfectly and righteously, reminding masters that godly actions are required of them regardless of their earthly status. Abuse of another, in the eyes of God, is not excused by a master-slave relationship, nor by an employer-employee relationship. This fits cleanly with Paul's similar teaching on the mutual responsibilities of husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22–33), and children and parents (Ephesians 6:1–4).