Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

In his Premier Christian Radio programme Unbelievable?, transmitted on 19th June 2010, Justin Brierley and his guests discussed the question of whether or not the Bible condones slavery.

The Bible is often criticised for either supporting or not condemning the institution of slavery. So how should we treat portions of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments that relate to slavery? Why does the Old Testament contain laws regarding the treatment of slaves? Does Paul condemn or affirm the institution?

Bob Price is a former US church minister whose doubts about the Bible led him to ultimately reject evangelical Christian faith. He says that the Bible is a book that reflects the time it was written in. Slavery was acceptable and the early Christians regrettably followed suit, and did not challenge the prevailing status quo.

David Instone-Brewer is a New Testament Scholar at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He says that, in its cultural context, the Bible goes as far as it can towards an anti-slavery message and that Christians have been at the forefront of anti-slavery movements.

© 2010 Premier Christian Radio