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July 28, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Biblical explanation of New Testament Slavery Verses

Here are two sets of New Testament Bible verses which are sometimes cited.

This isn’t citing that slavery is good, but that people who aren’t at the top of the hierarchy should still respect those who are at the top of the hierarchy. Second, slavery here is likely referring to something closer to a nanny than. Don’t professional sports players who are beholden to their CEOs–shouldn’t they play their hardest and respect their boss. Shouldn’t all workers do the same or find another job.

5 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 favor 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.

9 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 favoritism with him.

Just looking at 5 through 7 is missing large thematic issues with your interpretation, which I’ll point out at the end. [this is commonly done with the verses about women in Ephesians without looking at the verses about husbands that are right next to them]

This one is likewise out of context.  This is an allegory.  This is about the consequences of sin and temptation being hell.  A failure to understand that we aren’t just living for ourselves, but living for God causes us to realize that our lives aren’t our own–we are beholden to higher purposes:

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who  then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge  of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But  suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time  in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and  women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “The  servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not  do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from  the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Why take these verses out of context?  What ideology did the person who passed these verses long have?  What was their agenda for their reader?


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