18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.4 Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Our society entertains a notion of equality in which all social and familial roles should be leveled, without any gradiation. So Paul’s instructions in Colossians 3 will run against the grain of this present age, in particular that wives submit to their husbands, and that servants obey to their masters, which might correspond to today’s relationship between workers and management. But Paul’s appeal is not to the hierarchy of the social order of his day;he indicates that submission is “fitting in the Lord,” and we ought to obey as “fearing the Lord.”Lest we miss the point that all of the relationships discussed are to be pursued with an eye toward our relationship with the Him, the Lord is mentioned by name six times in these nine short verses.