Sometimes Paul’s writing style can be so succinct that interpretation becomes difficult. A good example is ἀγαπητοί in 1 Timothy 6:2. Who is “beloved”? Slave loves the master, or the master loves the slave?
People have long wondered why Paul did not attack the institution of slavery. While it is true that he did not do so explicitly, he clearly planted the seeds for the future abolition movements (see my commentary, 329-332).
Rather, Paul is concerned that nothing hinder the spread of the gospel. “As many as are under the yoke as slaves should consider their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and the teaching might not be blasphemed” (1 Tim 6:1). (Of course, things are different today, and taking no stance on slavery would probably hinder the spread of the gospel. This illustrates the difference between a cultural expression and its transcultural meaning.)
Paul continues by telling the slaves not to despise their believing masters just because they are Christians. You can see how this would happen. Both master and slave go to church and worship together and learn about Jesus together, and then go home and one still owns the other.