Biblical Perspective Of Slavery (ATP)
What does the Bible actually say about slavery?
This can be a very broad question so I’ll answer it based on what people generally claim the Bible says about slavery, that God is somehow ok with it.
First of all, we must understand that people, especially those who try and discount our faith, tend to cherry pick the scripture. When they want to justify one wrong action, they will make quite ridiculous claims to back their agenda, usually based on accounts from scripture taken out of context. We must first understand the utter inaccuracy of this. This is not a new tactic, but one that seems to trap believers too often. People of faith should not be stumped by someone who does not know the faith, making claims by their limited knowledge. Christians, don’t be moved by what unbelievers think they know about your faith! Their thoughts and claims are absurd!
The Bible is basically broken down into two main parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. What we understand is that one cannot understand the Old Testament without the filter of the New Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” What does this mean? It means that what came before was incomplete. Have you ever watched a movie with a twist at the end? If you didn’t watch the whole thing, you would miss some important things wouldn’t you? The Bible is the same. If we cherry pick scripture, we can make it say anything we want, yet that does not make it accurate.
Now you may think I’m stalling but I assure you I am not, which is actually my point. All scriptural questions cannot have a simple yes/no answer. Context, context, context! The Bible says a lot about slavery. There is a lot of discussion and direction that is not necessarily moral instruction, as is the case with many hard questions. To begin with, we have to understand that slavery is not a biblical concept in origin. It is a human thing. Politicians love to polarize things like slavery and make it about one race but the truth is, slavery has been a blight in all nations of the earth and has affected all races. Slavery still exists today but you rarely see these political leaders that love to capitalize on uninformed people, dealing with it or even talking about it.
The Bible is not entirely the fulfillment of the will of God, but the account of God dealing with sinful people doing sinful things, and His plan of redemption for them. When God instructed people to do things in the Old Testament that seem strange to us, we have to remember the truth. That is, that there are histories, there are things going on, and there are cultures that we may not understand with simple surface knowledge.
Jesus said something very important in John 6:38. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” This truth tells us God’s intent, knowing that God does not change. Jesus came to give life and freedom to all who would come to Him, no exceptions. If we now read the Bible with that filter, we would instantly realize that God could not be for slavery. What does the Bible say about slavery? It says many things. What is God’s will concerning slavery? Let’s see Jesus’s own words… Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me
to preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Notice two times in that one verse God declared He desires freedom for all people.
In closing remember there are people out there who will always desire to argue our faith without caring about truth. They will grab any opportunity to try and shake its foundation and will not listen to reason. Those people cannot be helped because they choose deception. We however can choose right. We have come to a God of love and mercy who desires to set all men free. Maybe most importantly from their wrong thinking!