There are many who believe that "slavery" was biblical. What I tell them is that the "slavery" in biblical times and the "slavery" in the nineteenth-century were two completely different things.|
In biblical times the word "slavery" was synonymous with servant. Who became slaves? Petty criminals (rather than murderers) who couldn't payback for their crime. Back in the O.T. times, and during the times of Christ (and the apostle Paul) there were lots of these criminals. Many of them were thieves and most of the time, fellow Jews. So, this has nothing to do with racism.
The Old Testament said that the injured party couldn't have the thief for more than six years. Here's one of the many verses:
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing" (Exodus 21:2).
Free for nothing" means that the "slave" (or thief) has paid off his debt).
Now, there were those who didn't want to have the thief living with them on their property, to pay off his debt. In these cases, they sold this "slave" for the amount the "slave" had to work for the one who paid off his debt to the injured party.
God's Word was completely against the type of slavery that we had in the United States in the nineteenth-century. The Bible says, "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 21:16).
In fact, in the New Testament, those criminal "slaves" were protected. Those who had these people (again, between 1-6 years, depending upon the crime), were obligated to treat these people well. Paul gave the following admonition:
And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Masters and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him (Ephesians 6:9).
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair because you know that you also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1).
It wasn't just the New Testament that had protections for the "slave" but the Old Testament as well. There are many verses, but here's just one to give you an idea: "Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God" (Leviticus 25:43).
Slavery in the nineteenth-century was cruel. People felt they owned others, whom they felt they could whip, and keep in chains. They were abusive towards those they owned. These slaves were not paid for their work and often the "masters" separated families by selling a slave's spouse and children.
All of the above to say, please don't credit "Christianity" for nineteenth-century slavery. Give the credit to sinful man.