Paul’s advice to slaves is particularly troubling in our culture that sees slavery as thoroughly selfish on the part of the slave owner, and absolutely unjustifiable. So how can we justify cutting Paul some slack and allowing him to get by with telling slaves to work for their masters as though they are working for their “brother” (1 Timothy 6:2)?
One battle at a time. Paul was fighting for the life of an emerging religion that was still in diapers. Christianity and the survival of the church that contained the Good News of Jesus—that was Paul’s main focus. He wasn’t out to change entrenched cultural practices. He was introducing his world to Jesus. Perhaps he figured that once people got to know Jesus, they would start acting like him, and free their slaves. In the meantime, he settles for reminding the slaves and slave masters that they are brothers and sisters in the family of God.
Excerpt from Leader’s Guide & Atlas for 1, 2 Timothy