The Bible Promotes Slavery

Ephesians 6:5
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
There are more people trapped in slavery today than during the height of the Afro-American slave trade industry.  Slavery is definitely not a thing of the past.  Pro-slavery forces used to point to the Bible to justify this horrific practice but does the Bible promote Slavery?

This passage in Ephesians might appear to endorse slavery, but it is simply acknowledging the fact that throughout history, today included, there will be people caught in this evil. This passage addresses that person telling them how to conduct themselves. There is a vast difference between acknowledging something exists and helping someone do right when in the situation and endorsing the situation. The Bible just recognizes that man’s heart is filled with sin and slavery will be a result of his selfishness and cruelty. The Bible also tells Christians how to respond when persecuted or attacked but no one would say it is endorsing persecution of Christians.

Furthermore, the type of slavery practiced in early America where Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves to slave traders was clearly forbidden and punished by death. “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)  In 1 Timothy 1:9-10 the New Testament also condemns those who would traffic in the lives of human beings comparing them to adulterers and perverts. Clearly the Bible does, and always has, even before society at large did, condemn the evil of slavery.
Hebrews 3:10
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Matthew 22:29
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.


One thought on “The Bible Promotes Slavery

  1. You forgot a few verses. This passage shows that slaves are clearly property to be bought and sold like livestock:

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    This passage describes how the Hebrew slaves are to be treated:

    If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

    Here is fine to sell your own daughter into slavery:

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    God even tells us its just fine to beat your slaves unconscious, just as long as they don’t die:

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    Now, we all know that slavery is bad, right? So, shouldn’t an all loving omnipotent God know this? He has banned many things in the bible including wearing garments made of two kinds of material in Leviticus 19:19, and even commands that kids are to be put to death for cursing their parents in Leviticus 20:9. So, why not simply say that slave owners should be put to death? This is God after all. If he thinks death is warranted for kids who curse their parents, why not slave owners? I think owning a slave is a far worse crime against humanity than an insulant child. It sure looks like God really is endorsing slavery. Sure, these were different times, but does that make it right? Shouldn’t God, the supposed source or all morality have known that slavery is wrong all along?

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