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by Wayne Blank
"For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis"
Mention of "slaves" among Christians is shocking and unsettling to some, however the word actually means bond servant e.g. where the RSV has "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly" (below), the KJV has "give unto your servants that which is just and equal." Although the original Greek word is very close to the definition of the English word slave, it did not have the same implications that it does today. It's also highly ironic that it was Paul who was being held in chains (i.e. by the Romans) and that Paul's use of the term "Christian" meant slave (see the Fact Finder question below).
"Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; and pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I ought to speak [see also Paul's Ministry]. Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one." (Colossians 4:1-6 RSV)
Although Paul's many associates are not as popularly known as Paul, it's not because Paul didn't give credit where credit was due, as made plain in these verses where he identifies many of them by name for the service to God that they had been doing.
"Tychicus will tell you all about my affairs; he is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of yourselves. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here."
Fact Finder: How are all Christians "slaves" according to the literal definition of the word "Christian"?