“Masters, give unto {your} servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

We now come to the sixth group in Paul’s description of the membership of the church in Colosse.  This verse should have been added to the preceding, to which it properly belongs; and this chapter should have begun with v. 2.  Again, another instance in which the one who divided up the Bible in chapters and verses did not know what they were doing. 

“Masters, give unto {your} servants that which is just and equal”
Literally:  “Lords, give the just thing and supply equally to the slaves”– That which is just and equal. What they ought to have; what is fairly their due. Paul here, probably, refers to bondmen or slaves.

        MASTERS:  (Grk.-kurioi)–This Greek word (here in the plural case) is here rendered as, “masters,” but it is elsewhere translated as “lords,” or in the singular    (kurios) as, “lord.”  The singular is the word that is rendered as, “Lord” when referring to          Christ (see 3:23; and here–“…Master in heaven).       

         The object of this is to secure for servants a proper treatment. It is evident, from this, that there were in the Christian church those who were masters; and the most obvious interpretation is, that they were the owners of slaves.  Philemon is an example of such:  Onesimus being one of his slaves who ran away. Some such persons would be converted, as such are now.|
        Paul did not say that they could not be Christians; neither did he not say that they should be excluded at once from the communion; nor did he not hold them up to reproach, or use harsh and severe language in regard to them. He did teach them about their duty towards those who were under them, and he laid down principles which, if they were followed, would lead ultimately to universal freedom.
Understand that the condition of slaves among the Greeks and Romans was wretched in the extreme:
1.      They could appeal to no law; and,
2.      They could neither expect justice nor equity. 

Therefore, Paul informs the masters of these slaves that they should act towards them both according to justice and equity; for God, their Master, required this of them, and would at last call them to account for their conduct in this respect.  Justice and equity required that they should have proper food, proper raiment, due rest, and no more than moderate work.  This is a lesson that all masters throughout the universe should carefully learn.  Do not treat your servants as if God had made them of an inferior substance to yours. 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?  If employers always did this, there would be no labor problem.


         “give that which is just”
         Literally:  “give the just thing.”–If a master refuses to do this, then he really does “wrong”
(Grk.-–adikon), 3:25,
         and he will be judged by  God for this sin.

          GIVE:  (Grk.–parechesthe)—“accord; render; ”  The Greek context implies, “on your part.”  Paul charges the masters to give two things tot heir slaves.

CHARGE #1:  Masters should Give Just Treatment to their Slaves

          JUST:  (Grk.–dikaion)Literally:  “just thing.”  A just payment is legally and    morally right, and it corresponds to the righteous character of God.

CHARGE #2:  Masters should  Give that which is Equal to their Slaves

          EQUAL:  (Grk.-isotēta)Literally:  “the equality.”  Not equality of condition, but the brother equality growing out of the Christian relation in which there is neithe bond nor free.  See  Philemon 16.


“knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”
Literally:  “knowing that you have a Lord in heaven also”—To whom you justly owe service, and who requires you to render to your servants all which equitably and honestly belongs to them; and to manifest towards them the spirit which you ought to wish Christ to manifest towards you. Servants have rights as really as masters

         ALL Christians, including both slaves and masters, know that they have a heavenly Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.   All masters will one day give an accounting to the heavenly Master for how they have treated other men.  In the performances of their duties, they must also practice the principles of the new man.  They must recognize that they themselves are also spiritual slaves to Christ, and that they must willingly serve the needs of others.  This is also a wholesome reminder to the effect that God keeps His eye on the conduct of masters of men here towards their employees.
         The effect would be to make the master and the servant (literally slave) feel that, in a most important sense, they were on an equality. According to the common reading, the sense is, that masters should remember that they were responsible to God, and this fact should be allowed to influence them in a proper manner. This it would do in two ways.
1.      By the fact that injustice towards their servants would then be punished as it deserved–since there was no respect of persons with God.
2.      It would lead them to act towards their servants as they would desire God to treat them.
Nothing would be better adapted to do this than the feeling that they had a common Master, and that they were soon to stand at
His judgment bar.


“Continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”

Paul now gives three elements of this exhortation.
Element #1:  They should Continue in Prayer
         “Continue in prayer”
         Literally:  “Steadfastly continue in prayer”–That is, do not neglect it but observe it at all stated times. 

                 CONTINUE:  (Grk.-proskartereite)This Greek imperative means “to devote one’s time, attention and strength to a task.” 

         This was Paul’s general advice to all; for without this, neither wives, husbands, children, parents, servants, nor masters, could fulfil the duties which God, in their respective stations, required of them.  The believer should constantly maintain the spirit of prayer, and embrace all proper occasions to engage in it.  If he does this, when faced with a problem, his first thought will be to present it to God. The experience of Nehemiah is a good example of this: when king Artaxerxes asked him what was troubling him (Neh. 2:4), Nehemiah’s first reaction was to pray–“So I prayed to the God of heaven.”
         This diligence in prayer was characteristic of the apostles (Acts 1:14; 6:4), the first three thousand converts (Acts 2:42) and the Roman Christians (Rom. 12:12).  Paul gave a similar command to the Ephesian church: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance (same Greek word) and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18).  Paul also said to the Thessalonian Christians that they should pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17).
         Understand this all important point:  prayer is part of the Christian’s armor (both offensive and defensive) in his spiritual battle with the forces of evil.

Element #2:  They should “Watch” in their Prayer Life

“and watch in the same with thanksgiving”
Literally:  “watching in it with thanksgiving”–For everything, whether joyful, or sorrowful, mercies temporal and spiritual, national, family, and individual (I Cor. 14:17; Phil. 4:6; I Thess. 5:18).  Being always grateful to God, who has called you into such a state of salvation, and affords you such abundant means and opportunities to glorify Him. Jesus cautioned His disciples:  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”  (Matt. 26:41).

           WATCH:  (Grk.-grēgorountes)–Literally:  “be awake, be alert, be alive, watch.”

         Watchfulness involves mental alertness and spiritual vigilance, and an awareness that one is in constant danger from our arch-enemy. Peter wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).  Paul was really attempting to warn these Colossian believers that the heretical teachers were really ministers of Satan (see II Cor. 11:14)–“And no marvel:  for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
          Satan, and the world, all fully show the necessity of daily prayer: besides, God does not always immediately answer the prayers of His people, He will be sought unto time after time, even for a blessing He intends to give; and therefore believers should not be discouraged, but continue in prayer till they receive the mercy, and their importunity is a means of enjoying it, as in the case of the poor widow; and which is an encouraging reason why men should pray always, and not faint.
          Added to this, constant prayer is a means of keeping up a spiritual acquaintance, and familiarity with God, and keeping the soul alive in the vigorous exercise of the graces of the Spirit, and of preserving the saints from temptations and sin. 

Element #3:  They should Pray with Thanksgiving

“with thanksgiving”–To all that Paul has already exhorted the Colosssian believers, thanksgiving must be added; “Be careful for  nothing; but in everything by prayer and   supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”  (Phil. 4:6).

        THANKSGIVING:  (Grk.-eucharistia)–A spirit of thanksgiving is well pleasing to God; but the contrary, an ungrateful spirit, is highly resented by Him.

        Besides, a believer has always mercies to bless God for, as well as favors to ask at his hands; nor is he ever in such a situation, either in temporal or spiritual, but he has something to bless God for. Moreover, how should it be expected that a person should succeed in a present request, who is not thankful for a former kindness? Being always grateful to God, Who has called you into such a state of salvation, and affords you such abundant means and opportunities to glorify Him.
        Here is something to think about::  How would you like to wake up tomorrow with only those things you ahd thanked God for today?