Articles | "Slavery"

November 7, 2020

by William Heinrich

Slavery  By Pastor William H. Heinrich


                    The Bible does not condemn the practice of slavery. However, it does give instructions on how a slave must be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1).


          According to, it is estimated that there are today 27 million people in the world who are subject to slavery through forced labor, sex trade, and children born to enslaved mothers.


          What can be dangerous on this subject is to fail to understand that slavery in Bible times was very different from post-biblical times. In Bible times people were not enslaved because of skin color. People in Bible times were enslaved based on economics. People sold themselves as slaves when they were unable to pay their debt and provide for their families. Sometimes people chose to be slaves so all their needs were provided by their masters.


          The Bible does condemn race-based slavery. It also condemns the practice of “man-stealing.” From the 16th to 19th centuries, Africans were rounded up by slave hunters who sold them to slave traders who brought them to the New World to work on plantations (Exodus 21:16; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). Some of these slave owners were cruel, but many were kind. To the Christian slave owner, his Master was very precise about how he must treat his slaves. “Masters, give your bondservant what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1). This verse does not condone slavery, but it does regulate it for the Christian slave owner. It should be obvious most slavery is evil. However, that condoned in scripture is not evil.


          All who have been redeemed from the slavery of sin should be desiring the end of all slavery in today’s world. Jesus bought us out of the slave market of sin and set us free. Christ gave His life to free us. How could we not want to free others?