New American Standard Bible
Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
King James Bible
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Darby Bible Translation
Masters, give to bondmen what is just and fair, knowing that ye also have a Master in the heavens.
World English Bible
Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Young's Literal Translation
The masters! that which is righteous and equal to the servants give ye, having known that ye also have a Master in the heavens.
Colossians 4:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Masters, give unto your servants ... - See the notes at Ephesians 6:9.
That which is just and equal - What they ought to have; what is fairly their due. The apostle here, probably, refers to bondmen or slaves, and the propriety of this rule is apparent. Such persons were subject to their masters' control; their time and services were at their disposal, and they could not enforce their just and equal claims by an appeal to the laws. They were, therefore, dependent on the equity and kindness of their masters. There can be no doubt that not a few who were converted to the Christian faith were held to involuntary servitude (see 1 Corinthians 7); and it is as clear that the apostles did not design to make a violent disruption of these bonds, or to lead the slaves to rise and murder their masters; see the notes at 1 Timothy 6:1-4. But it is equally clear that they meant to represent slavery as a hard and undesirable condition; that they intended to instruct the slaves to embrace the earliest opportunity to be free which was presented 1 Corinthians 7:21; and that they meant to suggest such considerations, and to lay down such principles as would lead masters to emancipate their slaves, and thus ultimately to abolish it. Among these principles are such as these:
(1) That all men were of one and the same blood; Acts 17:26.
(2) that they were all redeemed by the same Saviour, and were brethren; 1 Timothy 6:2; Plm 1:16. If redeemed; if they were "brethren;" if they were heirs of glory, they were not "chattels," or "things;" and how could a Christian conscientiously hold or regard them as property?
(3) that they were to "render them that which was just and equal." What would follow from this if fairly applied? What would be just and equal to a man in those circumstances? Would it not be.
(a) to compensate him fairly for his labor; to furnish him an adequate remuneration for what he had earned? But this would strike a blow at the root of slavery - for one of the elementary principles of it is, that there must be "unrequited labor;" that is, the slave must earn as much more than he receives as will do his part in maintaining the master in idleness, for it is of the very essence of the system that he is to be maintained in indolence by the slaves which he owns - or just so far as he owns a slave. If he were disposed to earn his own living, he would not need the labor of slaves. No one ever yet became the permanent owner of a slave from benevolence to him, or because he desired to pay him fully for his work, or because he meant himself to work in order to maintain his slave in indolence.
(b) If a man should in fact render to his slaves "that which is just and equal," would he not restore them to freedom? Have they not been deprived of their liberty by injustice, and would not "justice" restore it? What has the slave done to forfeit his liberty? If he should make him "equal" in rights to himself, or to what he is by nature, would he not emancipate him? Has he not been reduced to his present condition by withholding that which is "equal?" Has he "equal" rights, and "equal" privileges with other men? Has he not been cut off from them by denying him the equality to which he is entitled in the arrangements of God's government? Can he be held at all without violating all the just notions of equality? Though, therefore, it may be true that this passage only enjoins the rendering of that which was" just" and "equal" in their condition as slaves, yet it contains a principle which would" lay the axe at the root" of slavery, and would lead a conscientious Christian to the feeling that his slaves ought to be free. These principles actually effected the freedom of slaves in the Roman empire in a few centuries after Christianity was introduced, and they are destined to effect it yet all over the world.
Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven - Notes, Ephesians 6:9.
LibraryMarcus, My Son
'... So doth Marcus, my son.'--1 Peter v. 13. The outlines of Mark's life, so far as recorded in Scripture, are familiar. He was the son of Mary, a woman of some wealth and position, as is implied by the fact that her house was large enough to accommodate the 'many' who were gathered together to pray for Peter's release. He was a relative, probably a cousin (Col. iv. 10, Revised Version), of Barnabas, and possibly, like him, a native of Cyprus. The designation of him by Peter as 'my son' naturally …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John
Prayer and Fervency
Exhortations to Christians as they are Children of God
'You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
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.
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