The essence of slavery is buying, selling and using human beings as expendable commodities.
Jewish experience of slavery
Slavery in Egypt
The Old Testament describes how Jacob's sons go to Egypt to buy corn during a famine. To their surprise, they realise that the Egyptian official in charge is their long lost brother, Joseph (son of Jacob), whom they had sold into slavery years before. After the reconciliation of the brothers, they move to Egypt with their whole family to settle there (Genesis 47:1-6).
Some four centuries later, the growing numbers of Israelites or Hebrews began to be seen as a threat by the Egyptians. They were thus enslaved and made to labour on building projects with cruel overseers (Exodus 1:6-14). (See Big ideas: Patriarchs.)
Moses and freedom from slavery
In order to counter-act the perceived threat posed by the growing size of the Hebrew population, the Pharaoh ordered that every male Hebrew baby be thrown into the Nile. A boy called Moses, however, was saved and brought up by Pharaoh's daughter.
As an adult, Moses killed an Egyptian whom he saw beating a Hebrew slave, and consequently had to flee (Exodus 2:11-15). He later returned, at God's command, to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. He then led the people out of Egypt and into the desert, with the goal of reaching the ‘Promised Land'. (See Big ideas: Journey of faith, Exodus, pilgrims and sojourners; Passover; Promised Land, Diaspora, Zionism; Ten Commandments)
Slavery in the Persian Empire
Later in their history, the Jews were deported into exile in the Persian Empire, once more enduring slavery, though some, like Nehemiah and Daniel, rose to prominence. Some Jews eventually returned to their own land. (See Big ideas: Jews, Hebrews, Children of Israel; Exile)
Slavery and the New Testament
In New Testament times, slavery was the norm in the Roman Empire. As Christianity spread, it was embraced by slaves to whom the message gave hope and self esteem. Paul in his letters defends the equality of all Christians: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:28). Yet, he does not explicitly condemn the practice of slavery, but rather sets instructions for both slaves and their masters:
‘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. Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven' (Colossians 3:22-25; Colossians 4:1).
In one instance, a runaway slave called Onesimus, who encounters Paul and decides to become a Christian, is sent back to his master, also a convert of Paul's, with the request that he be received, ‘no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother' Philemon 1:16).
Paul uses the imagery of slavery in his teaching about the relationship of believers to Christ: ‘You are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir' (Galatians 4:7).
The African slave trade
The experiences of the Hebrew slaves resonated with Africans enslaved and carried away to work on the cotton and sugar plantations in the southern states of America and the West Indies in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of their ‘Negro Spirituals' echo the words of the biblical account of the liberation of Israel: ‘Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt land, Tell ole Pharaoh to let my people go!'
In the 18th century, much of Britain's wealth was built upon the Slave Trade. As the poet William Cowper satirically observed:
The long-lasting activism and campaigning of Christians was a major factor that contributed to the abolition of legal slavery in the UK. Among the campaigners was a former slave-trading sea captain called John Newton, author of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace', who was converted to Christianity after a terrible storm at sea. William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament, made the abolition of slavery his life's cause. Slave trading in British colonies was finally abolished in 1807, although slavery only ceased throughout the Caribbean when full emancipation was granted in 1838.
Slavery is, unfortunately, still widespread in our modern world, despite being banned in most of the countries where it is practised. Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects a multitude of people regardless of age, sex and race.
Slavery as a metaphor in literature
Enslavement is a powerful metaphor, in life and in literature, for example:
Big ideas: Patriarchs; Jews, Hebrews, Children of Israel; Exile; Journey of faith, Exodus, pilgrims and sojourners; Passover; Promised Land, Diaspora, Zionism; Ten Commandments
Other cultural references
Donne's Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Cowper's Pity for poor Africans
‘Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men'
(Donne, Death be not proud)
‘O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!'
(Shakespeare, Hamlet, II.ii.555)
I own I am shock'd by the purchase of slaves,
And fear those who buy them and sell them are knaves;
What I hear of their hardships, their tortures and groans,
Is almost enough to draw pity from stone
I pity them greatly, but I must be mum,
For how could we do without sugar and rum?
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen. 2And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. 3Pharaoh said to his brothers, What is your occupation? And they said to Pharaoh, Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were. 4They said to Pharaoh, We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants' flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen. 5Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock. 7Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the days of the years of your life? 9And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning. 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their dependents. 13Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. 15And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone. 16And Joseph answered, Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone. 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord's. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate. 20So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh's. 21As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. 23Then Joseph said to the people, Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones. 25And they said, You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh. 26So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh's. 27Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. 28And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years. 29And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place. He answered, I will do as you have said. 31And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.
1Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen. 2And he took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. 4They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen. 5And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: 6The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle. 7And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? 9And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. 11And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families. 13And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. 14And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. 15And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth. 16And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. 17And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year. 18When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: 19Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. 20And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's. 21And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. 22Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. 23Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. 24And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. 25And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants. 26And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's. 27And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. 28And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. 29And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 30But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. 31And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. 8Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9And he said to his people, Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land. 11Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. 15Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live. 17But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, Why have you done this, and let the male children live? 19The midwives said to Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them. 20So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.
1Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 5And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. 6And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. 11Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: 14And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor. 15And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. 17But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 18And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? 19And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. 20Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. 22And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. 5Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you? 8And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. So the girl went and called the child's mother. 9And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages. So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, Because, she said, I drew him out of the water. 11One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, Why do you strike your companion? 14He answered, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then Moses was afraid, and thought, Surely the thing is known. 15When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well. 16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, How is it that you have come home so soon today? 19They said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock. 20He said to his daughters, Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread. 21And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land. 23During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25God saw the people of Israel - and God knew.
1And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 3And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. 4And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. 5And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. 6And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. 7Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 9And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it. 10And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. 11And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? 14And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. 15Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. 16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. 18And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day? 19And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock. 20And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread. 21And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. 22And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. 23And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
- English Standard Version
- King James Version
1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain - if indeed it was in vain? 5Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith - 6just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness? 7Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, In you shall all the nations be blessed. 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by faith. 12But the law is not of faith, rather The one who does them shall live by them. 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree - 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, And to offsprings, referring to many, but referring to one, And to your offspring, who is Christ. 17This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
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- King James Version
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
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1Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. 2Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison - 4that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. 7Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, 9and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here. 10Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions - if he comes to you, welcome him), 11and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. 13For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas. 15Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17And say to Archippus, See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord. 18I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
1Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. 2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. 7All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.
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1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. 8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you - I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus - 10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother - especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it - to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
1Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, 2And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: 3Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, 5Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; 6That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. 8Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 9Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 10I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: 11Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: 12Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: 13Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: 14But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. 15For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; 16Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 17If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 18If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 19I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. 20Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. 21Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. 22But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. 23There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; 24Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. 25The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
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1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. 8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. 12Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. 13You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, 14and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. 21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written, Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband. 28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30But what does the Scripture say? Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. 31So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
1Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. 13Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? 17They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 18But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 20I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. 21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
A 'testament' is a covenant or binding agreement and is a term used in the Bible of God's relationship with his people). The sacred writings of Judaism (the Hebrew Bible). These also form the first part of the Christian Bible.
In the Old Testament the son of Isaac and Rebekah and twin brother of Esau. He wrestled with God and was often devious.
In the Old Testament the land where Joseph and Jacob found sustenance in times of famine, though later Israelites were held captive and made to work as slaves for the Pharaoh.
The favourite of Jacob's brothers, who was sold into slavery but ended up becoming a powerful ruler in Egypt
Bringing together those who have been alienated in any way, or being reconciled.
Used in the New Testament to express how the actions of Jesus have brought together God and humankind.
Descendants of Israel (Jacob) and occupants of Israel.
1. Language in which the Old Testament was written.
2. Jew, Jewish; belonging to Israel
In the Old Testament the title of the rulers of Egypt.
Very important Jewish leader described in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Received the Ten Commandments form God.
The Bible describes God as the unique supreme being, creator and ruler of the universe.
The land said to be promised by God to Abraham and his descendants in the Old Testament.
1) In the Bible a member of the Hebrew race
2) Someone who belongs to the Jewish faith which believes in one God and the importance of Jewish Law.
In the Old Testament refers to periods when the Jews were compelled to leave their land.
1. Key Old Testament figure, exiled to Babylon.
2. Old Testament book which tells the story of Daniel and includes apocalyptic visions.
A 'testament' is a covenant (binding agreement), a term used in the Bible of God's relationship with his people. The New Testament is the second part of the Christian Bible. Its name comes from the new covenant or relationship with God.
The beliefs, doctrines and practices of Christians.
The 'Apostle to the Gentiles' (d. c. CE 65). Paul had a major role in setting up the Early Church and is believed to be the author of several letters in the Bible.
Name originally given to disciples of Jesus by outsiders and gradually adopted by the Early Church.
Title (eventually used as name) given to Jesus, refering to an anointed person set apart for a special task such as a king.
The name given to the man believed by Christians to be the Son of God. Also given the title Christ, meaning 'anointed one' or Messiah. His life is recorded most fully in the Four Gospels.
A title of respect. Used in the Old Testament as a title for God. Also used of Jesus Christ.
In many religions, the place where God dwells, and to which believers aspire after their death. Sometimes known as Paradise.
The Old Testament frequently refers to Israel as the Promised Land allocated to God's children. Prophecies refer to it as his chosen nation and the one out of which the Messiah would come.
A religious song written for worship.
In the Bible, important both literally and metaphorically. Used in buildings, as boundaries and as altars. Those who are unresponsive to God are described as having a 'heart of stone'.