Does the Bible Really Condone Slavery?

Does the Bible Condone Slavery?


Notes from the video:

The church has a dark past in this area.

The solutions offered to different peoples at different times is subject to their capabilities. The ancient Israelites did not have prisons, as we do today. So, their way of dealing with individuals and their forms of punishment must be understood in that light.

We must make a distinction between colonial slavery that we saw in America and slavery found in the Old Testament.

They were not allowed to kidnap people. The slavery that occurred much closer to us in time was racially driven. Slavery in the Old Testament was much more economically driven.

We must also look forward to God’s future kingdom and what is said about the people there. No person is better than another and a person’s social status has no bearing on their entrance into heaven.

In the Old Testament, if you were to go to war with a nation and you decimated their male population, what social safety net did the women and children have? None. Slavery was often a better option than being left defenseless. The Israelites had strict rules about how these people were to be treated.

Laws alone exploit and abuse people. Jesus explains that the law was not able to accomplish what he was able to accomplish.

Even slaves in the American south came to love the God which the slavers were using to abuse them. They saw a disconnect between the Jesus they encountered in the scriptures and the one preached by the slavers.

Finally, we must have a non-naturalistic framework from which to even criticize the practice of slavery.


  1. Does our understanding of slavery in a modern sense effect our understanding of slavery in the Ancient Near East?

  2. How are we to understand the progressive revelation found in scripture?

  3. What can we learn from the reaction to the Gospel of the slaves in the American south?


Here is a fantastic article written by one of the RZIM speakers. I highly recommend you read this for more information on this issue.


Hey just wanted to add this video showing there was a slave Bible and it was put in a museum. This is interesting because the slave Bible that was found is a redacted version of the Bible meaning there were parts of the Bible slave owners didn’t want their slaves to read. Putting this into perspective we can see how different the slavery was in America vs the Old testament. And we can see how slave owners were afraid of how the bible inspires freedom.