The Bible is an ancient holy book which teaches us both moral and spiritual teachings. Within it, the role of black people is discussed in both direct and indirect ways. It offers us an opportunity to think about the importance of people from different backgrounds and to consider our connection to one another. By reading the Bible, we can gain greater insight into the diversity of God’s creating power and the purpose of humanity.
The Bible reveals God’s intention for all of his children to walk in His truth, regardless of race or ethnicity. From the beginning of the Bible in Genesis, it clearly states, “God made man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). This indicates that all mankind was created equally by God. Moreover, in the New Testament, Jesus taught us to love our neighbor regardless of race or wealth in Matthew 22:39, which is known as the second great commandment.
Furthermore, throughout scripture, the Bible presents many positive examples of black people. One of the earliest positive examples of black people in the Bible is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus where Moses’ brother, Aaron, is of African descent (Exodus 4:14). Additionally, King Solomon has African lineage, and his mother was a Abyssinian from the land of Cush (1 Kings 10:1-13).
The Bible also mentions individuals who are both racially and culturally diverse in its stories. This began with the scattering of languages at the Tower of Babel, and extended to the story of Ruth, who is a Moabite, and the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba. Also, the Bible shows that God follows individuals regardless of their ethnicity, as Joseph and Daniel are both prominent figures in the Bible despite coming from African backgrounds.
The Bible also acknowledges the subjugation of black people, including the story of Joseph’s enslavement by Potipher (Genesis 39:1-20) and the captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:4-14). These stories indicate that God can and does work in the midst of suffering and provide hope for those who are oppressed or marginalized.
While reading the Bible, we can find various perspectives and examples of black people who are represented throughout its pages. It offers a unique opportunity to gain greater insight into the power of God’s creating and to understand our connection to one another.
Old Testament Perspectives
The Old Testament contains a number of references to black people, including Moses’ parents, his wife, and the Midianite women who were put in charge of his flock (Exodus 2:16-21; Numbers 11:17- 20). Additionally, Solomon’s mother is referred to as an “Ethiopian woman” (1 Kings 4:31), indicating that Solomon included both African and Arabian ancestry in his lineage.
Furthermore, at the Tower of Babel, God is said to have “confounded the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:7), indicating that people initially spoke multiple languages. Thus, this passage speaks to the linguistic and cultural diversity of mankind from the very beginning. This passage is significant in that it demonstrates that God was actively engaging with different races and cultures from the start.
In addition, the Old Testament provides commentary on race relations in Israel. In Numbers 12, God is angry when Miriam and Aaron ridicule the fact that Moses chose a black woman for his wife (Numbers 12:1-2). This instance is significant in that it demonstrates that God does not condone prejudice or racism and instead, calls us to love our neighbor, regardless of race or culture.
The Old Testament also contains examples of Gods’ deliverance of black individuals. For instance, in the book of Exodus, the Lord saves Moses from Pharaoh’s oppression (Exodus 2:10-11). Furthermore, in the book of Isaiah, God promises deliverance to those who are in bondage (Isaiah 42:1-7). These stories demonstrate that God is present with and works through all people, regardless of race or ethnicity.
New Testament Perspectives
The New Testament contains multiple references to black people including Simon of Cyrene, an African Jew who was asked to carry the cross of Jesus (Mark 15:21). This occurred during the crucifixion and is significant in that it demonstrates that God does not ignore individuals of African descent, even in the darkest and most difficult of times.
Furthermore, the New Testament reveals Jesus’ commands to love our neighbors, regardless of race or ethnicity (Mark 12: 33). This passage, known as the second great commandment, reinforces the fact that God calls us to embrace one another, and to not discriminate based on racial lines.
The New Testament also references the presence of black believers in the early church, such as Joseph and Simon (Acts 1:23-24; 6:1-7). This is significant in that it demonstrates the existence of multiculturalism and racial diversity in early Christianity. Additionally, it reveals that God accepts people of all types and backgrounds into His kingdom.
The New Testament also contains stories of individuals who were healed and set free from oppression, such as the Ethiopian Eunuch from the book of Acts (Acts 8:26-40). This story demonstrates that God brings freedom to those who are oppressed, regardless of their race or cultural background.
The writings of Paul also sheds light on how Christians were to respond to racial diversity and inequality. In his letters to the Romans and the Ephesians, Paul encouraged believers to accept one another in spite of differences, and to be unified in their love and respect (Romans 15:5-7; Ephesians 14: 20-21). This reveals the importance of racial acceptance and unity amongst believers.
Moreover, Paul illustrated that in the sight of God, all men are equal and are part of His one family (Galatians 3:28). He explains that salvation is not based on external factors, such as ethnicity or economic status, but is instead based on faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:26). This is significant in that it reveals the ultimate goal of God’s plan: that all men, from all backgrounds, would come to repentance and experience the fullness of His blessing and love.
Therefore, Paul’s teachings call us to view race and ethnicity through God’s eyes and to not allow our differences to stand in the way of our love for one another. Instead, we should strive to be united in the knowledge of God and His salvation.
The Bible is full of stories and examples of black people – from Moses to Simon of Cyrene – that provide us with insight into God’s plan for all of His children. It teaches us to love one another, despite differences, and to recognize the value of each other’s contributions to the world. It also acknowledges the struggles and hurts of black people, and calls us to stand together in love and unity. Above all, it reveals the power of God to bring freedom and hope to even the darkest of places.