View Full Version : Slavery, biblical or not? (Philemon, etc)

Apr 17th 2009, 12:42 AM
I am not a scholar, I don't know very much about this at all. So my questions themselves may show some ignorance. I'm just being up front with you (sometimes posting on this forum can be intimidating).

Anyhow, I've been thinking a lot about the "USA is not a Christian Nation?" thread from the controversial issues board. I was talking to my husband about it, and asking what he thinks. I said something along the lines of "Well I don't think we are, our Govt. certainly hasn't been very Christian in many ways..." He asked for examples, so I cited slavery, among other things. And then my husband threw me for a loop, and brought up Philemon, and questioned whether slavery is wrong. So we talked about it a bit, and concluded that it probably is, based on Jesus' command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Slavery doesn't seem to stand given that second greatest commandment.

But then how do we rightly (biblically) interpret Philemon, Colossians 3:22, and Ephesians 6:9?

Not sure if this is in the right section, either. Thank you. I would love to have some insight on this. Not trying to stir up controversy, really looking for some answers.

Apr 17th 2009, 02:06 AM
You're right in a sense. Our government has definitely not acted like a Christian one for quite some time, no matter the lip service. Our nation's people maybe quite another matter, and that might be why God has had mercy on this country for the last 60 years or so.
I would guess that the verses on slavery apply to those places where it may still exist as an institution, however unjust.

Apr 17th 2009, 02:19 AM
I could be wrong, but I don't believe the Bible clearly establishes whether or not slavery is right or wrong. What is does talk about is how to be a good slave--one who is submissive in a way that is God honoring and how to be a good master--again in a way that honors God. We can apply this to boss/employee in our culture. My suspicion is that the issue of right/wrong is not addressed because it is likely that somewhere in the world slavery there will always be slavery.

Apr 17th 2009, 02:59 AM
One of the greatest freedoms we have as a believer, free or bond, is being in Christ. The world has always known slavery. The U.S. abolished it and others also, but the issue is always the soul. We were slaves to sin and have been set free.

Slavery was a norm, Jesus dwelt with the soul not politics. Get the soul right and you got eternity.

We are slaves to this world or slaves (free) in Christ Jesus. We are all slaves in this life.

So if a slave, as in a worldly bought and owned slave, honor your master, your reward is in heaven. Doesn't seem right does it.

I think believers in third world and persecuted regions don't have as much difficulty with this stuff. IMO

Apr 17th 2009, 05:56 AM
My understanding is that there are two different kinds of slavery - Biblical and pagan. For instance;
And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant:
But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile:
Lev 25:39-40 (KJV)

From that we learn that if a person was badly in debt he could become a servant (slave) to pay off his debt.
I think there would be room for this today. A thief would be better off working to pay for what he stole than to sit in prison at taxpayer's expense.