2 Slavery in the Old Testament Remember that you were slaves in Egypt:The slaves in your household must rest on the Sabbath (Deut 5:15)You must honour God as your rescuer (6:21)Let slaves go free after 7 years, with a reward (15:15)Celebrate your freedom at a festival (16:12)Care for the needy: the widows, orphans and strangers (24:18)
3 Slavery in the Old Testament No Israelite should be made a permanent slave without their expressed consentNo slave fleeing a master should be returned to that masterNo poor person should be manipulated into selling themselves into slaveryNo person should be ‘stolen’ and made a slave“. . . for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 25:55
4 Slavery in the New Testament The slave class in Roman society was at least 30% of the population.Roman slaves were initially acquired through military conquest from opposing armies and citiesIn the time of the NT there were fewer wars and the supply of slaves was diminishingThere was a political endeavour to limit the ways that slaves could be freed, in order not to run out
5 Slavery in the New Testament Why doesn’t the New Testament call for the abolition of slavery?The NT predominantly advises Christians to remain and serve where they came to faithThe early Christians were not in positions of power and governmentThe NT mostly looks forward to the return of Jesus as the time when things will be set right
6 PhilemonPerhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for ever – no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.
7 Slaves5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
8 Masters9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.
9 One Master to Serve on Earth The real master is God who sees allWork accordingly!
10 One Master to Rule Them All That slave is God’s slaveJust like youTreat them accordingly!
11 Because all Christian relationships and the sphere of work come within the scope of Christ’s lordship, Christian slaves and masters have the opportunity of turning their duties into acts of faith and worshipLincoln, Ephesians, WBC, p.426You go, and do likewiseJesus, Luke 10:37