1 Timothy 6:2
And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
And they that have believing masters,.... That believe in one God, in opposition to the Gentiles, that held many gods, and in Jesus Christ, in distinction from the Jews; who believed in him with the heart, and professed him with their mouths, and held the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. What is said before, is said to servants that had unbelieving masters; who would be ready to blaspheme, should they act amiss. Servants were under a snare both ways, through the insinuations of false teachers; who suggested, that their servitude was not consistent with their Christian liberty; that they ought not to serve wicked men, because being called of God, they were advanced above them; nor good men, because they were upon a level with them. But the apostle teaches another doctrine;
let them not despise them, because they are brethren; of the same family named of Christ, and of the same household of God, and of faith, and have the same father; for though with regard to spiritual blessings, privileges, and ordinances, they were equal; yet not with regard to temporal and civil affairs; and therefore should not treat them with less respect, or be more backward to obey their lawful commands, on that account:
but rather do them service; more heartily, and with a greater good will, as to the Lord; these masters belonging to him, and being engaged in his cause; which they, their servants, by yielding a cheerful obedience to them, are assisting in: and the rather,
because they are faithful; in lesser things, in giving to them, their servants, what is just and equal, proper food and suitable raiment, and their just wages; and in using their wealth and riches in a good way, for the interest of Christ, the assistance of the poor saints, and the spreading of the Gospel; and so in greater things, by holding fast the profession of their faith, adhering to Christ, his truths and ordinances: or "because they are believing, or believers"; it is the same word as before used; and therefore they should be precious to them, and high in their esteem; for faith is a precious grace, and such as have it are chosen of God, and precious:
and beloved; of God, who had chosen them to salvation; and of Christ, who had redeemed them by his blood; and of the saints, who are taught of God to love one another; and this is another reason why they should be served, and not despised; and a third follows:
partakers of the benefit; of the free grace of God; of redemption and salvation by Jesus Christ, and of all spiritual blessings in him; and therefore should serve them the more cheerfully. The Syriac version renders it, "such as enjoy rest in", or "are refreshed by their service"; or "by their service to them", as the Arabic version: the sense is, that when believing servants serve their believing masters readily and faithfully, their masters are well pleased with them, delight in their service, and consider it as a benefit to them, and a kindness done them; and which therefore should animate and encourage them to serve them. Some understand these characters of
faithful and beloved, of the servants' themselves; that because they are such; therefore they should serve, and not despise their believing masters; and particularly the last clause, which may be rendered, "who in return receive a benefit from them", as food, raiment, and wages; and besides, they are used with humanity and kindness, and in a manner becoming Christians; to which agrees the Ethiopic version, which renders it, "who will receive and help you"; will take care of you, and assist you, and supply you with what is proper and necessary:
These things teach and exhort; the Syriac and Arabic versions add them; the servants. The apostle was not above instructing and exhorting persons of such a capacity, and in so low a state of life; and it became Timothy to do so likewise; and every minister of the word.