Slavery in the New Testament


When I first tackled the subject of slavery in the New Testament, I missed many of the references and the larger context, so I have taken some time to revisit it and expand on what I previously did.

Navigating by Faith

hieroglyphics of slaves in Abu SimbelA recent conversation with one of my sons spurred me to consider slavery as it is addressed in the New Testament. The Bible is criticized by skeptics by pointing its treatment of slavery. Indeed, there are instructions given to the nation of Israel that seem to endorse slavery as an accepted practice. In the New Testament we do not see any statement condemning slavery. What does the Bible say about it?

Slavery was common among all nations through most of history. We tend to view slavery through the lens of racism in the United States, but servitude has taken many forms over the centuries (captors in war, indentured servants, etc.). Slavery was also common in the culture in the 1st Century AD.

For Christians, Jesus is the lens through which we view all of the Scripture. Jesus introduced a fundamental paradigm change, and so, for a Christian take on slavery, we need to…

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