Here's just a whole lot of information about slavery and the Bible... please feel free to comment on it. Some of it involves me responding to other people's comments. ReligiousTolerance.org - an overview of slavery and the Bible ======================= Paul's attitude towards slavery: Ephesians 6:5-9: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. 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.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Paul NEVER suggests or even hints that slaves should be set free - and he is talking to Christians that would listen to him and might even be faithful enough to become martyrs. In fact, the Bible doesn't tell people to give up slavery... well except from Egypt and Babylon when all of the Israelites were enslaved. But straight after they were set free from slavery, they began taking slaves. And what's the point of having slaves when you have to wander around for 40 years in the desert, and the food is provided by God (manna)? I guess they could gather wood. (But not on the Sabbath) Colossians 3:22: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> So no strikes or protests... just be patient and wait for God to bring miracles, like he did in Egypt and WW2. 1 Timothy 6:1-2: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Titus 2:9-10: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> 1 Peter 2:18-21: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Paul isn't saying that slavery is unjust suffering - just that slavery involves harsh masters. Revelations also mentions slaves, so it seems like God expects slavery to be around until the end of the world... and then the faithful become "slaves of Christ" and worship God a lot while the rest, who are "slaves to sin" will burn in hell. (Revelation 6:15,13:16,19:18) Paul's letter to Philemon is a 25 verse book which talks about a runaway slave, Onesimus, who met Paul in prison and then Paul sent him back to his master. He asked Philemon not to punish Onesimus for his crime (including the crime of running away) and treat him well in the future (as a Christian brother but still a slave). The NIV notes say that Onesimus may have stolen from Philemon (verse 18), and the penalty under Roman law for this was death. Philemon 1:16: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> So Paul is expecting Onesimus to remain a slave. Philemon 1:21: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I am confident as I write this letter that you will do what I ask and even more!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Maybe this means that the slave will be fed better or something. Paul could have hinted that the slave could be not only forgiven, but also freed. This might be a bad idea economically, but I thought Christianity was about making some sacrifices. My comments to someone else on another board: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Paul also told Christians that in Christ: "there is neither slave nor free" (Gal 3:28)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> That isn't the whole verse. The whole verse is: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So are you saying that Paul literally meant that all people should be treated as equals, at all times? If so, they what do you make of 1 Timothy 2:11-15? <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you-- although if you can gain your freedom, do so.... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Here's the NIV text-note: "If a Christian slave has an opportunity to get his freedom, he should take advantage of it. In the Roman Empire slaves were sometimes freed by Roman patricians. There is nothing wrong with seeking to improve your condition, but be content with every stage." That would mean to try and buy your freedom or win the favour of others so that they can free you. Paul never advocates that slaves should break the law to get their freedom. The only laws he breaks are related to spreading the Gospel. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>...For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." (1 Cor 7:20-23) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> The NLT clarifies the last verse a bit: 1 Cor 7:23 - "...Don't be enslaved by the world" [Greek: don't become slaves of people] Here's the NIV text-note: "Christians in all stations of life should realize that their ultimate allegiance is not to men but to Christ, who bought them with his blood (6:20; 1 Pe 1:18-19)." You know, it's about being for God vs. being for the world... do you honestly think that Paul is commanding people not to become literal everyday slaves? And who would decide to become a slave anyway? (They would only do it if they were forced to, to repay their debts, etc) <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Cor 12:13) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Yes, Christians are part of one big family. It doesn't mean that all act as equals in society. If they did, why didn't Paul suggest that people free their slaves. 1 Cor 7:23 only says not to become a slave - it doesn't say not to buy and use slaves. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>These do not sound like sayings from someone that liked the idea of slavery, especially with the connotations that are seemingly implied in this thread. At most, it can be said that Paul was ambivalent toward slavery, with the notable exception of his own slavery to Christ.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Have a look at my comments and think again.