Read for This Week’s Study
“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).
In 2018, an artifact at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, attracted much attention. It was an abridged Bible designed to teach essentials of faith while deleting any passage inciting rebellion by slaves. Published in 1808, the text does not just remove a passage here or there. Ninety percent of the Old Testament is missing, and 50 percent of the New. Of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, only 232 remain.
Passages seeming to reinforce the evils of slavery, especially in the absence of so much of the Bible’s narrative of “good news,” are left fully intact, including such oft-misused texts as “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ” (Ephesians 6:5).
Today, in our time and culture, our important challenge is to read Ephesians 6:1-9 in the context of the full story of salvation, as is revealed in the complete Bible. What can we learn as we watch Paul apply the values of the gospel to the flawed social structures of his day?
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 9.