The Bible Condones Slavery

Conversation Stopper

Because of an American view of slavery, it is often assumed that all slavery--including slavery in the Bible--was and is as horrific as the transatlantic slave trade. The reality is that there are more humans being sold into slavery today than in the entire transatlantic slave trade. There are 27 million slaves in the world today.


  • White Americans used Scripture to justify slavery.
  • Slavery in the Bible is similar to slavery in the U.S.

Talking Points

  • Evangelical Christians are some of the most vocal and active group currently in abolishing the modern day slave trade. Organizations like the International Justice Mission, Not for Sale and World Vision are Christian humanitarian organizations committed to legally prosecuting slave owners/traders, rescuing slaves and providing aftercare for their transition into life outside of slavery.
  • Acknowledge the sin of Christians using scripture to justify slavery. Point to examples such as William Wilberforce in the UK and the Quakers in the U.S. and Canada fighting against slavery.
  • Christians aren’t perfect- they sin, can become self-serving and can be capable of horrible things like slavery. This is the reason we need Jesus to guide us, away from our own self-serving motives and into the love and justice of God that cares for all people.
  • The belief that slavery in the Bible must be similar to slavery in the U.S. is coming out of a north-American white-centric view that doesn’t have a perspective of slavery in scripture or historically.
  • Explain the cultural context of slavery that often in the Old Testament people would choose to sell themselves into slavery as an indebted laborer as a way to work off debt. This was more of a business agreement than the forced oppressive slavery seen in the U.S . in the past and currently.

Additional Resources

Where are some places you see in the world that are modern-day slavery?

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