Bible teachings about slavery?

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive. Titus 2:9-10

A lot of people suggest the Bible supports the practice of human slavery. But the greatest champions to end slavery in the world are often strong Christians! William Wilberforce, John Newton etc had a strong Christian conviction to abolish modern slavery! There are currently an estimated 27 million people in the world in slavery right now. And we should be standing up for those in slavery to be set free! The question arises, though, why does the Bible not speak out strongly against slavery? Why does the Bible, in fact, appear to support the practice of human slavery?

Biblical Slavery

According to www.gotquestions.org “Slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.
Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society. The Bible often approaches issues from the inside out. If a person experiences the love, mercy, and grace of God by receiving His salvation, God will reform his soul, changing the way he thinks and acts. A person who has experienced God’s gift of salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin, as God reforms his soul, will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong. He will see, with Paul, that a slave can be “a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:16). A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn be gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for ending slavery.”

It’s all About Context

It all comes back to the context of each part of the Bible. If you take the text out of the context all you are left with is a con. If you say, the Bible says, “Slaves obey your masters.” So God must endorse slavery, you are missing the point of the Bible! The Bible is God’s word to us, James 1:22-25 says, “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” We need to realise God’s word is living and active, and we need to act on the revelation we get from his word. Not to treat it like a history book, but like a love letter.
Lord, thank you that you are opening my eyes every day through your word. Speak to me Lord, I’m listening! In Jesus name. Amen.

 

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