A Different View on Slavery

Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

 “He committed no sin,
 and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,”but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Toby Sumpter comments: “Peter is playing with the household code that we find in other ancient texts. And what’s particularly striking is that he’s turned the code on its head. Instead of addressing the head of the household first and then instructing him on how to keep his household in line, Peter has actually begun….by addressing the slaves first (1 Pet. 2:18). The fact that Peter is addressing slaves at all is already a radical move. He’s addressing them as though they are human beings, as though they are intelligent, as though they are called by God to play a significant role in the world – because they are. And then he explains carefully how their lack of legal recourse maximizes their potential to exemplify the grace of Christ. When they are mistreated and they receive it with grace, they picture Jesus who suffered unjustly for us, even though He had committed no sin and committed Himself to God who sees all things and vindicates the innocent.”

The bible often jars, challenges, and flips our views on human institutions and ideas.

“Here, Peter turns to address the wife in the home and begins by saying ‘likewise…’


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