6:1 All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching.
I’ve known people to struggle with this verse! They feel that it means Paul endorsed the whole idea of slavery and expected slaves to accept their position as normal rather than unacceptable as we might today. For thousands of years, right up to a couple of hundred years ago, slavery was an accepted fact of everyday life. That didn’t make it right of course, but it was simply accepted as a reality. Just some 66 years ago I signed away my personal freedom. I was not exactly a slave, but rather than remaining just John Rowland I became Pilot Officer Rowland 609102. That was a voluntary act rather than something forced on me as a slave. But I did lose my personal freedom and was expected to obey other Officers of superior rank. Now that is not exactly the same as slavery, far from it, but there were far-reaching expectations about my conduct in a time of crisis. Orders were orders, and if I failed to give proper respect to the person giving the orders I would be in trouble.
Paul expected a slave to give proper respect to the person issuing the orders. For sure, it was a flawed system and structure, but that did not absolve a person from acting properly and lawfully within it. Disobedience and disrespect reflected on a person’s character, and dishonoured God.
Now all this applies to any working relationship in office, shop or factory.