About      Articles      Links     Email     Blog      New     
I Am For Sure Copyright© IAmForSure.com 2003-2021 AD All rights reserved

I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!John 8:58"

Bookmark and Share  

Slavery in the Bible

By Bruce W. Robida
April 21, 2018


The argument is often made that the Bible condones slavery. In fact, there are many passages that seem to confirm that sentiment. In the New International Version, there are 181 uses of the word, slave. It is used 122 times in the Old Testament and 59 times in the New Testament. The literal, Hebrew meaning for the word slave in the Old Testament means, (ebed) Servant or Bondservant, (abed) Serve, Work, Labor, (shiphchah) Maid, Maidservant, Slave-girl, (amah) Maid servant, Female Slave. The literal Greek meaning for the word slave in the New Testament means (doulos) Servant, Slave, Bondservant, (sundoulos) Fellow servant, Slave, (paidiske) Bondwoman, Maid, Female slave.

It is true that during biblical times, slavery as we understand it (Blacks, kidnapped and forced into labor in America) was prevalent throughout the world. The Bible records many such instances, thus we see the Hebrew word, shiphchah and amah used in the Old Testament and the Greek words, doulos, sundoulos and paidiske used in the New Testament. In all of the passages that use these words to describe slaves or slavery in this context, is it never condoned but it is often condemned.

During biblical times, people, including entire families, offered themselves as servants to pay off debts or even to make a living. These servants were often called bondservant or maidservant. When you read Scriptures such as; “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”Ephesians 6:5, understand that this so-called slave is not someone who was kidnapped and forced into labor against his will but someone who voluntarily entered into a servant relationship in order to pay a debt or to earn a living. It is similar to how God expects His people to treat their employers today. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3:23 . Here we see the phrase, human masters used. Our employers can be seen as masters in a way.

God condemns slavery as we know it (people kidnapped, bought, sold and forced into labor). In fact, He calls it evil. The act of kidnapping people and buying and selling them and forcing them to work is evil in the sight of God. “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 24:7

And God punished nations who kidnapped people and made them slaves. “…But I will punish the nation they [Israelites] serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions”. Genesis 15:14

There is no possible way that slavery, the kidnapping, buying and selling for the purpose of forcing people to work is ever condoned in the Bible and especially by God. To continue to believe such nonsense is to ignore the truth in order to perpetuate a lie.

Contact me about this article

Blog Me - Feel passionate about this subject? Join my blog and lets talk about it. You'll have to register but it's quick and easy.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute this article in its entirety, provided that it is not sold or used in any publication that is sold.  Also, this disclaimer must accompany the article along with the author’s copyright and Zondervan’s copyright. All other uses for this article must be approved by the author in writing.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture on this website was taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(r). Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Elated PageKits