Colossians 3:22
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only to please them while they are watching, but with sincerity of heart and fear of the Lord.
Servants and MastersW.F. Adneney Colossians 3:22-4:1
Servants and Their MastersE.S. Prout Colossians 3:22-4:1
Faithfulness in WorkH. D. Machay.Colossians 3:22-25
Loving Service is True ServiceC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:22-25
Religious Regulations for Master and ServantU.R. Thomas Colossians 3:22-25
Servants and MastersBishop Davenant.Colossians 3:22-25
The Duties of ServantsG. Barlow.Colossians 3:22-25
The Duties of ServantsT. Croskery Colossians 3:22-25

The apostle enters into fuller detail in his injunctions to servants, because his intercourse with Onesimus, a Colossian slave now returning to his master Philemon in a new character, had turned his thoughts to the condition and difficulties of the whole class of dependants. His injunctions to them imply that they had a right to be instructed out of the Word, and that if men have less consideration for their interests, the Lord redoubles his concern for them. There was a danger that slaves in the Roman empire might repudiate their relation to their masters, and accordingly the apostle enjoins the duty of obedience to masters, while he announces principles destined ultimately to destroy the unnatural relation.

I. THE FAULTS OF SERVANTS. He specifies five of them.

1. Eye service. There was a temptation to this fault where the master's authority was regarded as unjust and cruel.

2. Hypocritical service, arising out of a divided interest and the absence of singleness of heart.

3. Half service. Servants might not please their masters "in all things," but in such things as pleased themselves.

4. Godlessness. They chose to please men rather than the Divine Master.

5. A base and discouraged spirit, which was to be banished by prospects of heavenly reward.

II. THE DUTIES OF SERVANTS. These are all summed up in the one word "obedience." But this obedience must be becomingly rendered in several important respects.

1. "Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God."

(1) Eye service is designed to please man. Work will be done only so long as the master's eye is on the servant. There is no thought of pleasing aught but man.

(2) There must be singleness of heart, that is, simplicity and sincerity of spirit, that will lead to an undivided devotion to work, arising from "the fear of God," because they realize that the eye of the Divine Master is ever upon them. Dissimulation, duplicity, pretence, deceit, must be far from Christian servants.

2. It must be hearty service. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." Servants, in obeying their masters, serve the Lord. They do the will of God from the heart, not grudgingly or murmuringly, but with a truly hearty obedience.

3. It must be obedience "in all things;" that is, in all things lawful. Bat servants must consider the master's commands as well as his interests, and seek to obey them in everything, however irksome or humiliating.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS OF SERVANTS. "Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

1. It is an encouragement for them to know that masters are only "according to the flesh." This limits human slavery. The master cannot touch the soul, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16), for the slave is "Christ's freeman" (1 Corinthians 7:22).

2. There is a reward for true obedience as well as a compensation for wrongs endured.

(1) Servants ought to know of their blessed prospects.

(2) Their works will be surely rewarded, reckoned, no doubt, of grace, not of debt. They shall receive "the reward of the inheritance," the heavenly glory, by the Father's bequest. God will be their Paymaster if they are wronged or defrauded by man. Therefore they have strong encouragement to give just obedience to man.

3. There is a retribution on unjust or tyrannical masters for the wrongs they have done to their servants. "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." Some think this refers to dishonest servants, or to both servants and masters who may have failed in their duty to each other. It is more natural to regard it as referring to the case of masters, for the passage is designed to encourage servants suffering injustice with the prospect of a day of judgment for those who wronged them. God is "no respecter of persons." Man may make a difference. God finds the claim of the slave as valid as the claim of the master. - T. C.

Servants, obey in all things your masters.

1. The occasion of this precept seems to spring from the circumstance that converted servants thought themselves exempt from servitude. The error had some colour. If masters embraced Christianity with their slaves it seemed unjust to hold them in bondage; and if masters still adhered to paganism, what right had they, the servants of Satan, over those who were now Christ's free men?

2. The precept involves —

(1)Humility in receiving the commands of another.

(2)Alacrity in executing them.

(3)Universality "in all things" lawful and honest.He that is lord of the flesh must not command contrary to the Lord of the Spirit (Matthew 10:28).

3. Instructions.(1) Christianity does not subvert political order, such as depriving heathen masters of their legitimate authority over Christian servants. Therefore those err who think all authority to be opposed to evangelical liberty, and papists who have it that the authority of a king over subjects is dissolved by heresy.(2) Christianity frees from the yoke of human servitude that which is the best and most excellent thing in man, viz., the spirit and conscience (Galatians 5:1). They therefore err who would rule the consciences of men either by ecclesiastical or physical force.(3) Christians ought to obey even the unjust commands of their masters (1 Peter 2:18).


1. Negatively.(1) Not with eyeservice — a disease familiar to servants — obedience under the eye (Luke 12:45).(2) As men-pleasers — the cause of the disease. As comedians who act in order to please that they may obtain benefit do not mount the stage unless people are looking on, so men-pleasers move not a hand unless their masters are there to behold and applaud.

2. Positively. The remedies for the disease.(1) Singleness of heart, which is opposed to deceitful eye-service. He who serves his master to the eye seems to have two hearts; one dutiful, which excites to obedience in the master's presence; the other undutiful, which impels to idleness in the master's absence. But he who obeys with singleness of heart has one heart alone and ever the same, which moves to duty irrespective of his master's presence or absence.(2) Fearing God. As the study of deceitful pleasing can produce nothing but eye-service, so the fear of God produces simplicity and sincerity. He who fears man alone will be changeable, inasmuch as it is excited by presence and allayed by absence; but the fear of God is constant because He is always present.(3) From the heart.(a) Not compulsorily and unwillingly. We do anything heartily when the mind rejoices in what the hand does. On the contrary, when the mind murmurs, although the outward act rosy be performed, yet it is done from the body rather than from the mind.(b) Benevolence of spirit towards the commander of the work (Ephesians 6:7). No one obeys better than he who renders obedience from love.(4) As to the Lord. As those who serve the Lord more especially than men. Because —(a) They who obey are more servants of Christ than of earthly masters. Earthly masters buy their servants' bodies with silver and gold; Christ redeems both soul and body with His blood for perpetual liberty.(b) They obey earthly masters only at the appointment of Christ, and Him through them His stewards.(c) Christ commands them to obey their masters.


1. The promise.(1) The Bestower of the reward. The apostle rightly would have those servants expect a reward from Christ. For earthly masters give food and clothing to slaves as due in common with beasts. They are consoled, therefore, by the fact that they have a heavenly Master who will not suffer them to be destitute of a reward.(2) The quality of the reward. "Reward" and "inheritance" seem incongruous; the first being paid to labourers, the latter given to children. The celestial reward is called hire or wages, not because merited, but because of the resemblance in some sense between the two.

(a)As hire is only given to workmen, so the heavenly kingdom is not given to the indolent.

(b)As hire is not given until work is finished, so heaven is not bestowed until life is ended.But the heavenly reward is unlike hire —

(a)in that it is given, not according to the merit of the workman, but from the grace and liberality of the bestower (Luke 17:10);

(b)in that it is not proportioned to labours bestowed, for finite has no proportion to infinite.

2. The confirmation of the promise, "Ye serve the Lord Christ" (Matthew 25:40-45). All works of obedience are rendered to Christ because commanded by Him.

3. Corollaries.(1) No service is dishonourable since all is rendered to Christ.(2) No honour screens a wicked man from disgrace since he serves an infamous master.(3) They who, being placed under the rule of others, are unwilling to serve, are rebels against Christ (1 Samuel 8:7).(4) We ought not to obey any who is opposed to the will of Christ.

(Bishop Davenant.)

I. THE DUTY OF A SERVANT IS TO OBEY HIS MASTER IN ALL THINGS RELATING TO HIS STATE OF SERVITUDE. There is nothing degrading in service. It is the employment of angels, and is ennobled by the example of Christ. To obey in all things is not pleasant or easy; but the Christian servant will strive to accomplish the task. He consults not his own but his master's will, nay, time. But his employer is only according to the flesh, and has no power over the spirit; nor is he to command anything forbidden by God.


1. Free from duplicity. From the treatment he received the slave was tempted to be diligent in the presence of his master, but indolent and reckless in his absence. Christianity has elevated man from slavery, and provided him with the highest motives to moral action.

2. It is to be done in the fear of God. "Fearing God" — the one Lord as contrasted with the master according to the flesh. The Christian servant has a conscience to satisfy. The fear of the Lord is the holiest motive power in all acceptable service. He who serves man as he seeks to serve God will take care that the Divine and human interests do not collide.


1. In every duty God is to be recognized. "And whatsoever ye do, do it as to the Lord, and not unto men." This will give a moral dignity to the most menial employment, and exalt the common drudgery of toil into a means of religious refreshment.

2. In every duty the best powers should be exercised. "Do it heartily." If the heart be engaged, it will put into operation the best powers of the whole man. No work is well done when the heart is not in it.


V. EVERY ACT OF INJUSTICE WILL MEET WITH IMPARTIAL RETRIBUTION (ver. 25). Some regard the wrong-doer referred to in this verse as the servant who defrauds the master of his service; others, as the master who defrauds the servant of his just recompense. But the words announce a general principle which is equally applicable to both. The philosophers of Greece taught, and the laws of Rome assumed, that the slave was a chattel, and that as a chattel, he had no rights. The New Testament shows that between both there is a reciprocity of duties and of penalties. The injustice done in the world, whether by master or by servant, shall be impartially redressed, and the injured one vindicated at the day of final retribution.

(G. Barlow.)

To lead a discouraged people to the Holy War is as difficult as for Xerxes' commanders to conduct the Persian troops to battle against the Greeks, The vassals of the great king were driven to the conflict by whips and sticks, for they were afraid to fight: do you wonder that they were defeated? A Church that needs constant exhorting and compelling accomplishes nothing. The Greeks had no need of blows and threats, for each man was a lion, and courted the encounter, however great the odds against him. Each Spartan fought con amore; he was never more at home than when contending for the altars and for the hearths of his country. We want Christian men of this same sort, who have faith in their principles, faith in the doctrines of grace, faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and who therefore contend earnestly for the faith in these days when piety is mocked at from the pulpit, and the gospel is sneered at by professional preachers. We need men who love the truth, to whom it is dear as their lives; men into whose hearts the old doctrine is burned by the hand c,f God's Spirit through a deep experience of its necessity and of its power. We need no more of those who will parrot what they are taught, but we want men who will speak what they know. Oh, for a troop of men like John Knox, heroes of the martyr and covenanter stock! Then would Jehovah of hosts have a people to serve Him who would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A carpenter was once asked why he troubled to finish off a magistrate's bench so carefully? His reply was, "I can't do otherwise; besides, I may have to sit on it One of these days."

(H. D. Machay.)

Christians, Colossians, Paul, Timothy
Acts, Aiming, Bondmen, Earthly, External, Eye, Eyeservice, Eye-service, Eye-services, Favor, Fear, Fearing, Flesh, Heart, Masters, Menpleasers, Men-pleasers, Merely, Natural, Obedient, Obey, Orders, Please, Pleasers, Purpose, Reverence, Servants, Service, Simplicity, Sincerity, Singleness, Slaves, Win
1. He shows where we should seek Christ.
5. He exhorts to holiness;
10. to put off the old self, and put on Christ;
12. exhorting to charity, humility,
18. and other duties.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Colossians 3:22

     5395   lordship, human and divine
     5523   servants, good
     5524   servants, bad
     5861   favour, human
     5919   popularity
     8336   reverence, and obedience
     8337   reverence, and behaviour
     8463   priority, of faith, hope and love
     8720   double-mindedness

Colossians 3:18-22

     8242   ethics, personal

Colossians 3:22-23

     5017   heart, renewal

Colossians 3:22-24

     5522   servants, work conditions
     5629   work, ordained by God
     5959   submission
     7448   slavery, in NT
     8344   servanthood, in believers

Colossians 3:22-25

     5909   motives, importance

The Peace of God
Baltimore, U.S., 1874. Westminster Abbey. November 8, 1874. Colossians. iii 15. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." The peace of God. That is what the priest will invoke for you all, when you leave this abbey. Do you know what it is? Whether you do or not, let me tell you in a few words, what I seem to myself to have learned concerning that peace. What it is? how we can obtain it? and why so many do not obtain it, and are, therefore, not at peace? It is worth while to do so. For
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

May 5. "If Ye Then be Risen" (Col. Iii. 1).
"If ye then be risen" (Col. iii. 1). God is waiting this morning to mark the opening hours for every ready and willing heart with a touch of life and power that will lift our lives to higher pleasures and offer to our vision grander horizons of hope and holy service. We shall not need to seek far to discover our risen Lord. He was in advance even of the earliest seeker that Easter morning, and He will be waiting for us before the break of day with His glad "All Hail," if we have only eyes to see
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

February 17. "Your Life is Hid" (Col. Iii. 3).
"Your life is hid" (Col. iii. 3). Some Christians loom up in larger proportion than is becoming. They can tell, and others can tell, how many souls they bring to Christ. Their labor seems to crystallize and become its own memorial. Others again seem to blend so wholly with other workers that their own individuality can scarcely be traced. And yet, after all, this is the most Christ-like ministry of all, for the Master Himself does not even appear in the work of the church except as her hidden Life
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

May 18. "For Ye are Dead" (Col. Iii. 3).
"For ye are dead" (Col. iii. 3). Now, this definite, absolute and final putting off of ourselves in an act of death, is something we cannot do ourselves. It is not self-mortifying, but it is dying with Christ. There is nothing can do it but the Cross of Christ and the Spirit of God. The church is full of half dead people who have been trying, like poor Nero, to slay themselves for years, and have not had the courage to strike the fatal blow. Oh, if they would just put themselves at Jesus' feet, and
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Text: Colossians 3, 12-17. 12 Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; 13 forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: 14 and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the Word
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Easter Wednesday Also Suited to Easter Tuesday.
Text: Colossians 3, 1-7. 1 If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. 3 For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory. 5 Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Risen with Christ
'If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. 5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Christian Training of Children.
TEXT: COL. iii. 21. MY devout hearers! Christian families, founded on the holy bond of marriage, are appointed, in the divine order of things, to be the nurseries of the future generation. It is there that the young souls who are to be our successors in cultivating the vineyard of God are to be trained and developed; it is there the process is to begin of restraining and cleansing away the corruption inherent in them as the children of sinful men; there that their earliest longings after fellowship
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

Unity and Peace.
Preached February 9, 1851. UNITY AND PEACE. "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."--Colossians iii. 15. There is something in these words that might surprise us. It might surprise us to find that peace is urged on us as a duty. There can be no duty except where there is a matter of obedience; and it might seem to us that peace is a something over which we have no power. It is a privilege to have peace, but it would appear
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Christ is All
Observe in this chapter that he begins by reminding the saints of their having risen with Christ. If they indeed have risen with him, he argues that they should leave the grave of iniquity and the graveclothes of their sins behind, and act as those who are endowed with that superior life, which accounts sin to be death and corruption. He then goes on to declare that the believer's life is in Christ, "for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." He infers holiness from this also. Shall
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Christ is All
MY text is so very short that you cannot forget it; and, I am quite certain, if you are Christians at all, you will be sure to agree with it. What a multitude of religions there is in this poor wicked world of ours! Men have taken it into their heads to invent various systems of religion and if you look round the world, you will see scores of different sects; but it is a great fact that, while there is a multitude of false religions, there is but one that is true. While there are many falsehoods,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 61: 1915

Some General Uses.
Before we come to speak of some particular cases of deadness, wherein believers are to make use of Christ as the Life, we shall first propose some useful consequences and deductions from what hath been spoken of this life; and, I. The faith of those things, which have been mentioned, would be of great use and advantage to believers; and therefore they should study to have the faith of this truth fixed on their hearts, and a deep impression thereof on their spirits, to the end, that, 1. Be their case
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Cups Running Over
Brokenness, however, is but the beginning of Revival. Revival itself is being absolutely filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, and that is victorious living. If we were asked this moment if we were filled with the Holy Spirit, how many of us would dare to answer "yes"? Revival is when we can say "yes" at any moment of the day. It is not egoistic to say so, for filling to overflowing is utterly and completely God's work--it is all of grace. All we have to do is to present our empty, broken self
Roy Hession and Revel Hession—The Calvary Road

What have I to do with Idols?
MUCH is said in reproof of Ephraim by the prophet Hosea. All the wicked dealings and defilement of Ephraim is uncovered--and the Lord said: "I will be unto Ephraim as a lion." Again Jehovah said: "Ephraim is like a cake not turned." "Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart." "Ephraim hath made many altars to sin." "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." But all reproof and chastisement did not bring Ephraim back. Nothing seemed to be able to draw Ephraim's heart away from the idols. At the
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

Christ Our Life.
Colossians 3:4.--Christ who is our life. One question that rises in every mind is this: "How can I live that life of perfect trust in God?" Many do not know the right answer, or the full answer. It is this: "Christ must live it in me." That is what He became man for; as a man to live a life of trust in God, and so to show to us how we ought to live. When He had done that upon earth, He went to heaven, that He might do more than show us, might give us, and live in us that life of trust. It is as we
Andrew Murray—The Master's Indwelling

Meditations of the Misery of a Man not Reconciled to God in Christ.
O wretched Man! where shall I begin to describe thine endless misery, who art condemned as soon as conceived; and adjudged to eternal death, before thou wast born to a temporal life? A beginning indeed, I find, but no end of thy miseries. For when Adam and Eve, being created after God's own image, and placed in Paradise, that they and their posterity might live in a blessed state of life immortal, having dominion over all earthly creatures, and only restrained from the fruit of one tree, as a sign
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Christ all and in All.
(Colossians iii. 11.) Christ is all to us that we make Him to be. I want to emphasize that word "all." Some men make Him to be "a root out of a dry ground," "without form or comeliness." He is nothing to them; they do not want Him. Some Christians have a very small Saviour, for they are not willing to receive Him fully, and let Him do great and mighty things for them. Others have a mighty Saviour, because they make Him to be great and mighty. If we would know what Christ wants to be to us, we
Dwight L. Moody—The Way to God and How to Find It

But, after that He had Made Mention of These Evils...
30. But, after that he had made mention of these evils, he added and said, "On account of which cometh the wrath of God on the sons of unbelief." [1923] Surely it was a wholesome alarm that believers might not think that they could be saved on account of their faith alone, even although they should live in these evils: the Apostle James with most clear speech crying out against that notion, and saying, "If any say that he have faith, and have not works, shall his faith be able to save him?" [1924]
St. Augustine—On Continence

"But Now do Ye Also," Saith He, "Put Down All...
31. "But now do ye also," saith he, "put down all;" [1927] and he makes mention of several more evils of that sort. But what is it, that it is not enough for him to say, "Do ye put down all," but that he added the conjunction and said, "ye also?" save that lest they should not think that they did those evils and lived in them with impunity on this account, because their faith set them free from wrath, which cometh upon the sons of unbelief, doing these things, and living in them without faith. Do
St. Augustine—On Continence

Epistle xxxiii. To Dominicus.
To Dominicus. Gregory to Dominicus, Bishop of Carthage. The letter of your Holiness, which we received at the hands of the bearer of these presents, so expressed priestly moderation as to soothe us, in a manner, with the bodily presence of its author. Nor indeed does infrequency of communication cause any harm where the affection of love remains uninterrupted in one's mind. Great, moreover, is the power of charity, beloved brother, which binds hearts one to another in mutual affection with the
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

How Servants and Masters are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 6). Differently to be admonished are servants and masters. Servants, to wit, that they ever keep in view the humility of their condition; but masters, that they lose not recollection of their nature, in which they are constituted on an equality with servants. Servants are to be admonished that they despise not their masters, lest they offend God, if by behaving themselves proudly they gainsay His ordinance: masters, too, are to be admonished, that they are proud against God with respect
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

How Subjects and Prelates are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 5.) Differently to be admonished are subjects and prelates: the former that subjection crush them not, the latter that superior place elate them not: the former that they fail not to fulfil what is commanded them, the latter that they command not more to be fulfilled than is just: the former that they submit humbly, the latter that they preside temperately. For this, which may be understood also figuratively, is said to the former, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: but to
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Third Sunday after Trinity Humility, Trust, Watchfulness, Suffering
Text: 1 Peter 5, 5-11. 5 Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; 7 casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 whom withstand stedfast
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

What the Scriptures Principally Teach: the Ruin and Recovery of Man. Faith and Love Towards Christ.
2 Tim. i. 13.--"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." Here is the sum of religion. Here you have a compend of the doctrine of the Scriptures. All divine truths may be reduced to these two heads,--faith and love; what we ought to believe, and what we ought to do. This is all the Scriptures teach, and this is all we have to learn. What have we to know, but what God hath revealed of himself to us? And what have we to do, but what
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Colossians 3:22 NIV
Colossians 3:22 NLT
Colossians 3:22 ESV
Colossians 3:22 NASB
Colossians 3:22 KJV

Colossians 3:22 Bible Apps
Colossians 3:22 Parallel
Colossians 3:22 Biblia Paralela
Colossians 3:22 Chinese Bible
Colossians 3:22 French Bible
Colossians 3:22 German Bible

Colossians 3:22 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Colossians 3:21
Top of Page
Top of Page