Slavery in the Bible

by Sylvia Bambola June 18, 2012 15:01 PM

Several weeks ago the subject of slavery in the Bible came up in a conversation along with the inference that instead of being condemned outright by God it was treated too lightly.  The conversation made me want to look into the subject more closely, and here are my conclusions.

First, I suspect that what Jesus said about divorce in Matthew 19:8 could also be said about slavery: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” In other words, slavery, too, is a product of the hardness of our hearts and not the will of God, nor did He intend this for mankind in the beginning.

And secondly, because slavery has existed from ancient times, God chose in His word to use it as an illustration of man’s condition. In John 8:34 (Amplified) Jesus says that “whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.” But then two verses later He goes on to say, “So if the Son liberates you, makes you free men, then you are really and unquestionably free.”

Roman 6:16-20 confirms this by telling us pretty much the same thing; that we become slaves to whatever we yield ourselves to. If it’s to sin, then we become slaves to sin. Conversely, if it’s to Jesus, he frees us from the bondage to sin but then we become slaves to righteousness. So whether we want to admit it or not, we are all slaves.

Perhaps you find it offensive that Jesus has the right to call believers “slaves”. Even so, He does, for He purchased us with a great price—His very blood. But does He call us slaves? No. Instead, He calls us “friend”. In John 15:14-15a He says, “Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants (slaves).” But it gets even better. Galatians 4:7 tells us that we are no longer slaves of sin but a son “and if a son then an heir of God through Christ.”

Friend, son, heir. What a far cry from slave! Unfortunately, there are still too many who are slaves of sin and to this world. If only they would leave their captivity for the wonderful world of freedom God offers! If only they understood how much He loved them! Oh, pray that their hearts and minds be opened!

Until next time,



Category: Spirituality