The Apostle Paul and Slavery


Slavery forms the backdrop to Philemon, and it is impossible to fully appreciate the book without some understanding of slavery in the Roman Empire.

Slavery was taken for granted as a normal part of life in the ancient world. Indeed, the whole structure of Roman society was based on it. “Slavery grew with the growth of the Roman state until it changed the economic basis of society, doing away with free labor, and transferring nearly all industries to the hands of slaves” (Marvin R. Vincent, The Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon, International Critical Commentary [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979], p. 162). During the period of the wars of conquest, most slaves were war captives. By the time of the New Testament, however, most slaves were born into slavery. The number of slaves was enormous, making up as much as one third of the population of the Empire. . . .


Sermon ID 717121728161
Duration 01:59
Date Aug 27, 2014
Category Question & Answer
Bible Text Philemon
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