What Does The Bible Say About Slavery

Contradictory Biblical Texts

The Bible provides seemingly contradictory positions on slavery. While some passages appear to condone it, other parts of the book condemn it as sinful. The Bible is complex and nuanced and requires close study to understand what it is actually saying about slavery.
Early in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, there are verses that depict God giving the right to buy and sell slaves. In Deuteronomy, God commands the Israelites to buy slaves and sets out rules on how to treat them. Slaves are described as part of a person’s property and they were to be taken care of by the master. In Exodus, God tells the people that they should not mistreat slaves or treat them harshly.
However, as time went on, these verses were interpreted more liberally and the social justice movement began to take root in Bible study. Later verses, such as those found in Proverbs, warn against exploiting the poor for one’s own gain. In the book of Leviticus, it is stated that all men should be free, regardless of their social or economic status.

God’s Wrath Against Slavery

In the New Testament, God’s wrath against the corrupt powers of the world that perpetuate slavery is made clear. Jesus speaks about the need to exercise mercy and justice, and Paul condemns slavery. In the book of James, it is clearly stated that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes, regardless of status or station.
These verses taken together suggest that slavery was, and still is, an abomination in the eyes of God. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, however, Jesus reveals a deep respect and compassion for those who were suffering and enslaved. He gives encouragement to those who might otherwise be without hope, offering the assurance of God’s love.

Historical Context

It is important to consider the historical context in which these texts were written, as well. Slavery in biblical times was a harsh, cruel institution and it was quite normal for people to enslave one another. The biblical authors likely viewed slavery as an accepted part of the culture and did not condemn it outright as they would today.
The authors of the Bible did not perceive slavery as they do today and, in fact, were likely quite unfamiliar with the modern slavery and human trafficking that exists in the world today. It is important to understand the level of brutality and exploitation that is entrenched in this system in order to truly understand why the Bible takes such a harsh stance on slavery.

Equality for All

The common thread in the Bible is a focus on treating all people equally and ensuring the protection of vulnerable individuals. Despite the complex history and nuances of biblical scriptures, many Christians today agree that the Bible is unequivocally clear in its condemnation of slavery in any form.
This is likely due to the various passages that call for mercy and justice towards people from all strata of society and the obvious abhorrence of exploitation. As such, many people who study and uphold the principles of the Bible now also firmly oppose any form of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and exploitation of vulnerable people.

Role of the Church

The church has a greater responsibility than ever before to combat slavery and oppression in the world. There has been an alarming resurgence of enslavement in recent years, and it is the duty of any Christian to fight against it. This can include spreading knowledge about human trafficking and exploitation, donating to organizations dedicated to freeing people from modern-day slavery, and advocating for change.
Additionally, churches can become a safe haven for victims of trafficking, offering physical and spiritual comfort to those who have been ensnared by those who seek to take advantage of the vulnerable. Churches can also focus on providing education and job skills to those escaping from slavery, helping them to get back on their feet and begin to rebuild their lives.

Putting Scripture into Action

The Bible clearly forbids exploitation and enslavement of human beings, but it does not stop there. It calls for active action to ensure justice for all. It encourages people to be proactive and to take a stand against injustice and oppression.
The Bible provides guidance on how to enact justice and compassion in the world. It encourages us to seek solutions to problems and to enact positive change while also caring for vulnerable and oppressed people. It teaches us how to fight against exploitation and how to support those who have been wronged.

The Struggle Continues

Unfortunately, the fight against modern-day slavery continues. In the 21st century, slavery is an uncomfortable reality in many parts of the world. However, the Bible is a beacon of light that offers hope and leads us in a direction towards justice.
The Bible tells us to continue fighting against injustice and oppression. It teaches us to use wisdom and mercy when dealing with those who have fallen victim to exploitation and to not remain silent when encountering behaviour that harms others. We are called to put our faith into practice and work to put an end to the terrible scourge of slavery.

Speaking Out Against Oppression

The Bible calls us to speak out against oppression and exploitation. It encourages us to use our voices to make a difference and to speak political, economic, and social truths in order to create a better world for all people.
It is not just about standing up for those in need, but also about advocating for change and educating people about the reality of exploitation and the injustice that is prevalent in society. We are called to work together to create a world where women, children, and all people can live without fear of enslavement.

Ending Exploitation Through Education

The Bible provides plenty of support to end exploitation through education and working to end the cycle of abuse. It calls on us to stand in solidarity with victims of human trafficking and to support those who are afflicted with slavery.
It also invites us to take part in community projects to help those affected by exploitation to escape and to heal. We can become a beacon of hope and help people who are caught in the chains of modern-day slavery. Through education and support, the Church can help free those who have been enslaved to injustice and create a more just and equitable society for all.

The Role of Men

Men can also play a crucial role in ending exploitation and human trafficking. Men have a responsibility to use their power and privilege to advocate for justice and to work with women and others to end exploitation.
They can use their skills, knowledge, and financial resources to create opportunities for people to escape enslavement and build a new life free from oppression. Men can also take part in advocacy, donate to organizations that help victims of exploitation, and recognize the importance of equality and respect for all.


The Bible clearly takes a strong stance against slavery in any form and provides guidance on how to create a just and equitable society. It calls for mercy, justice, and the protection of vulnerable people. It encourages us to speak out against exploitation and to work to end the cycle of abuse. We have a responsibility to end modern-day slavery and the Church can be a source of hope and freedom for those who have been enslaved. It is important to recognize the role of men in this fight and to use their power to stand in solidarity with those affected by exploitation. All people are equal in the eyes of God and it is up to us to work together to create a world without slavery.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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