Colossians 3:22
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

New Living Translation
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord.

English Standard Version
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

New American Standard Bible
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

King James Bible
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don't work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord.

International Standard Version
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched in order to please them, but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord.

NET Bible
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in every respect, not only when they are watching--like those who are strictly people-pleasers--but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Servants, obey your Masters of the body in all things, not outwardly as those who please men, but with a pure heart and in the awe of THE LORD JEHOVAH.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Slaves, always obey your earthly masters. Don't obey them only while you're being watched, as if you merely wanted to please people. Be sincere in your motives out of respect for your real master.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Slaves, in all things hearken unto your masters according to the flesh, not serving to be seen as those who only please men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God;

King James 2000 Bible
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

American King James Version
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

American Standard Version
Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God.

Darby Bible Translation
Bondmen, obey in all things your masters according to flesh; not with eye-services, as men-pleasers, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord.

English Revised Version
Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord:

Webster's Bible Translation
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:

Weymouth New Testament
Slaves, be obedient in everything to your earthly masters; not in acts of eye service, as aiming only to please men, but with simplicity of purpose, because you fear the Lord.

World English Bible
Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters according to the flesh, not just when they are looking, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God.

Young's Literal Translation
The servants! obey in all things those who are masters according to the flesh, not in eye-service as men-pleasers, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:18-25 The epistles most taken up in displaying the glory of the Divine grace, and magnifying the Lord Jesus, are the most particular in pressing the duties of the Christian life. We must never separate the privileges and duties of the gospel. Submission is the duty of wives. But it is submission, not to a severe lord or stern tyrant, but to her own husband, who is engaged to affectionate duty. And husbands must love their wives with tender and faithful affection. Dutiful children are the most likely to prosper. And parents must be tender, as well as children obedient. Servants are to do their duty, and obey their masters' commands, in all things consistent with duty to God their heavenly Master. They must be both just and diligent; without selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise. Those who fear God, will be just and faithful when from under their master's eye, because they know they are under the eye of God. And do all with diligence, not idly and slothfully; cheerfully, not discontented at the providence of God which put them in that relation. And for servants' encouragement, let them know, that in serving their masters according to the command of Christ, they serve Christ, and he will give them a glorious reward at last. But, on the other hand, he who doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done. God will punish the unjust, as well as reward the faithful servant; and the same if masters wrong their servants. For the righteous Judge of the earth will deal justly between master and servant. Both will stand upon a level at his tribunal. How happy would true religion make the world, if it every where prevailed, influenced every state of things, and every relation of life! But the profession of those persons who are regardless of duties, and give just cause for complaint to those they are connected with, deceives themselves, as well as brings reproach on the gospel.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 22. - Ye servants (literally, bondmen), be obedient in all things to your lords according to the flesh (Ephesians 6:5-9; 1 Timothy 6:1, 2; Titus 2:9, 10; 1 Corinthians 7:21-24; Romans 13:1, 5; 1 Peter 2:18-25). The duties of servants and masters are prominent here (ver. 22- Colossians 4:1), in view of the emphasis thrown upon the lordship of Christ; and partly, no doubt, with reference to the case of the runaway slave Onesimus (Colossians 4:9; Epistle to Philemon) "Servant" is δοῦλος, bondman, as in Colossians 1:1 and commonly in St. Paul. In 1 Peter 2:18 we have the milder οἰκετής, domestic. The vast majority of servants of all kinds at this time in the Greek and Roman world were slaves. In most districts the slaves were much more numerous than the free population. And they were undoubtedly numerous in the early Church. The gospel has always been welcome to the poor and oppressed. The attitude of St. Paul and of Christianity towards slavery claims consideration under the Epistle to Philemon; on this point see Lightfoot's 'Introduction.' Here and in Ephesians 6:5 (comp. vers. 7, 8) the apostle calls the master κύριος ("lord") in reference to "the Lord Christ" (vers. 22 b, 24); elsewhere in the New Testament, as in common Greek, the opposite of δοῦλος is δεσποτής (1 Timothy 6:1, 2; 2 Timothy 2:21, etc.), "According to flesh," that is, "in outward, earthly relationship" (comp. Romans 4:1): Christ is the Lord in the absolute and abiding sense of the word (similarly, "in the flesh" and "in the Lord," Philemon 1:16). Not with acts of eye service (literally, not in eye services), as man pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord (Ephesians 6:6; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Galatians 1:10; Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34; James 1:5-8; Psalm 123:2; Isaiah 8:13; Revelation 2:23). "Eye service" is plural here, according to Revised Text; singular in Ephesians 6:6. Here the word ὀφθαλμοδουλεία first oocurs in Greek, like ἐθελοθρησκεία (Colossians 2:23). It strikes at the besetting sin of servants of all kinds. Ανθρωπάρεσκος ("man pleaser") occurs in the LXX, Psalm 52:6 (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:6; Galatians 1:10). The servant whose aim it is to please his earthly master in what will catch his eye, plays a double part, acting in one way when observed, in another when left to himself; with this duplicity is contrasted "singleness of heart" (comp. Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 11:3; ἀπλότης in 2 Corinthians 8:2 and 1 Cor 9:11, 13 has a different application). "Fearing the Lord" more than the eye of his earthly lord, the Christian servant will always act in "singleness of heart;" for "the eyes of the Lord are in every place." In the same manner the apostle ("bondman of Christ Jesus," Colossians 1:1) speaks of his own relations to men and to the Lord Christ respectively (1 Corinthians 4:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6, etc.: comp. John 5:37-44). The reading "God" of Received Text is a copyist's emendation, a sample of a large class of corruptions of the text, where a word more familiar in any given connection is, more or less unconsciously, substituted for the original word.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Servants, obey in all things your masters,.... That is, in all things relating to the body, and bodily service; not to the conscience, and religious worship; in things worldly, and not spiritual; in all things that are within a master's power, and it is lawful for him to command; and in all things that are fitting and proper that a servant should do; and even in such things as may be difficult, troublesome, and disagreeable to the flesh unto them; see Luke 17:7 who those servants are that are to obey, and who their masters, said to be according to the flesh, to whom they are to be subject; see Gill on Ephesians 6:5.

not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart; See Gill on Ephesians 6:5, Ephesians 6:6.

fearing God; who sees and knows all things, what servants do when their masters are absent from them, and to whom they are accountable; and a servant that fears God will make conscience of discharging his service faithfully, will not misspend his master's time, nor embezzle his goods, or waste his substance; but from a principle of reverential affection for God, and fear of him, with a concern for his name, and a view to his glory, will with all diligence, uprightness, faithfulness, and sincerity, do his duty, seek his master's good and interest, and cheerfully obey all his lawful commands. The Alexandrian copy reads, "fearing the Lord"; and so the Syriac version, "in the fear of the Lord".

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

22. (Eph 6:5, 6.) This is to fear God, when, though none sees us, we do no evil: but if we do evil, it is not God, but men, whom we fear.

singleness—"simplicity of heart."

fearing God—The oldest manuscripts read, "the Lord."

Colossians 3:22 Additional Commentaries
Context
Christian Households
21Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. 22Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,…
Cross References
Acts 2:46
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,

Ephesians 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

Ephesians 6:6
Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Philemon 1:16
no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
Treasury of Scripture

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

obey.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing …

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, …

Malachi 1:6 A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a …

Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say …

Luke 6:46 And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, …

Ephesians 6:5-7 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to …

1 Timothy 6:1,2 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters …

Titus 2:9,10 Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, and to please …

Philemon 1:16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially …

1 Peter 2:18,19 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the …

menpleasers.

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for …

1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, …

in singleness.

Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, …

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking …

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to …

fearing.

Genesis 42:18 And Joseph said to them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:

Nehemiah 5:9,15 Also I said, It is not good that you do…

Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers …

Ecclesiastes 8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, …

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep …

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves …

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