Does the Bible Condone Slavery?!? EGP Blog post from September 30, 2012

Many people reading through the Bible have often wondered why it doesn’t speak out against slavery. In fact, it almost seems okay with it, even in the New Testament! As with many confusing Bible passages, cultural differences (and verses out of context) are the cause of confusion.

Slavery in our time brings forth images of racism, kidnapping, and abuse. This type of slavery IS spoken against in the Bible, but not only under the umbrella of the great commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Exodus 21:16 ()

“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 21:16a Lit steals
Exodus 21:16b Lit hand

So, what kind of slaves would exist then? Many slaves of that time were people who owed someone money and had to work it off (debt bondage) or had a work contract in exchange for room, board, and maybe travel (indentured servant). Even this kind of slavery lends itself to abuse, so Paul said, “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Romans 6:16–18 ()

[16] Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? [17] But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, [18] and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:16a Lit to death
Romans 6:16b Lit to righteousness
Romans 6:17 Lit you were slaves...but you became

Key verses

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