Slavery is a very negative and racially charged word in today’s culture. The idea that anyone would condone slavery, or even tolerate its practice, is almost appalling on its face. This context may be alarming for someone that knows little about the Bible and hearing of its very mention of “slave” and “slaves”. How could that be?!

America’s history with slavery is in no small part a contributor to the racially charged nature of the word. And there were some Christians who, according to the historical record, used the Bible to justify their ownership of slaves. But does the Bible actually condone slavery?

How Scripture answers "Does the Bible condone slavery?"

Nowhere does the Bible condone slavery in the racial and/or “forced-servitude” terms understood today, quite the contrary1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,15. This is evident in times pre-dating the Mosaic law4 as well as God’s expectations under the Mosaic law1,2,3 and the gospel (New Covenant) under Christ5,6,10,15. Slave trading is condemned throughout the Bible1,15 and it uniformly teaches that – regardless of our station in life6,10,11,12,13 – we are all made in the image of God9 and treat each other accordingly3,4,5,7.

In the Old Testament, “slavery” was a voluntary means of working off debt (or keeping captives from mustering a rebellion)1,3 regulated by God2. In the Roman times of the New Testament, slavery was a way of life and we see instruction to Christian “masters” and Christian “slaves” alike5,6,7,10,12,13 – more akin to a modern employer/employee relationship. Indeed, the Bible is about man’s opportunity to be free from slavery to sin8,11,14.  All are one in Christ6,10.

Yes
<< Helpful? comment your thoughts >>
No

Leave your comment below…

…and if you’re wondering more about what we’re doing and why, here are some links we hope can help explain it (and maybe even get you excited about contributing):

what do you think?

connect with us

related to 'Does the Bible condone slavery?'

lend your own study to the discussion

PUBLIC COMMENT POLICY: While your email is required, it will not be posted publically.
All comments are vetted for potential spam before being published, but will not be restricted otherwise.