1 Timothy 1:9-11, “9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”
Slave trading in the Bible is considered a sin- period. There has never been a time in biblical history when slave trading was acceptable. Taking captives of war was common in the Old Covenant but it was never God’s will to capture people in peace times and make them slaves like Islam teaches in Surah 4:24 and what European colonialism promoted in the Atlantic Slave Trade. The slaves (or captives) of Israel were treated with dignity and respect.
God told the Israelites to remember that they used to be slaves in Egypt. As a result, whenever they had slaves captured in war or because of economic debt, they were to treat them as they would have wanted to be treated when they were in captivity (Deuteronomy 24:17-19).
In the New Testament times Paul urged slaves to obey their masters because the Roman society, like all societies of that time, had economic and wartime slaves. Paul’s command of submission wasn’t because he affirmed the practice of Roman slavery but because he wanted the Christians to be at peace in their culture. At the same time, the Christian masters were commanded to treat their slaves in the same way Jesus treated them because Paul said we are all slaves (servants) of Christ (Ephesians 6:5-9). Furthermore, when Paul was able to influence the culture in a greater way, he encouraged Christians to release their slaves and give them freedom (Philemon 1:14-18).
One of Jesus’ main messages was to preach freedom to the captives (Luke 4:18). He loves to set free all slaves, whether spiritual or physical ones, by the power of His love!
Sadly, according to current studies there are more slaves in the world today than ever before. Current studies estimate that there are around twenty-seven million people in some kind of slavery. Such countries like China, Russia, Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, Thailand and Uzbekistan have the highest rates of human trafficking.
Most slaves are captured and exploited for their labor or sexuality (sex slaves). The average age a person is trafficked is only around twelve years old. Though some might think this tragedy only exists in poor nations without stable governments, the truth is tens of thousands of people are bought and sold all throughout Europe and the United States.
Therefore, the church needs to stand against human trafficking by; (1) Exposing the sinful practices of slave traders wherever they may be found; like with prostitution and forced labor. (2) Offering help to those who’ve been impacted by slavery by helping them gain freedom. (3) Praying for God to convict both the slave trader and the slave owner of their sins against humanity.
Do you believe human trafficking is a sin?
- Explain from the Bible why human trafficking is sinful. Someone once said, “You never know how valuable freedom is until someone takes yours away.”
- Financially support organizations that help victims of slavery.
- Resources: “God in a Brothel,” by Daniel Walker & “Modern Slavery,” by Kevin Bales.
One Year Reading Plan
Amos 7:1-9:15, Revelation 3:7-22, Psalm 131:1-3, & Proverbs 29:23. Click here to read online.