Slavery in the scriptures


What is the best way to understand slavery or "servitude" in the Old and New Testaments?

There is no scripture commanding servitude. There are a number that regulate its practice.

There are scriptures which discuss and describe slavery or servitude in the Old and New Testament. Does God endorse slavery?

Slavery in the bible is best understood both contextually and holistically while also keeping the nature of prophetic revelation in mind.

The Bible offers no record of God commanding the practice of slavery. It does, however offer motifs of celebration after subverting enemies into servitude. It also regulates the practice of slavery. That said, there is no explicit command not to practice it. (The Book of Mormon, however, and the Doctrine and Covenants both forbid it.—see Alma 27꞉8-9 and {{{1}}} {{{2}}} {{{3}}}D&C|101|79}}.

Latter-day Saint Old Testament scholars Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Dana M. Pike, and David Rolph Seely address servitude in their book "Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament":

Slavery was ubiquitous [everywhere] in antiquity, and the institution and practice of slavery lies beneath the surface of almost every book in the Bible. Slaves were considered property and therefore had few legal rights. Laws governing slaves and slavery are found in many law collections, including the Laws of Hammurabi. Few questioned the institution, simply accepting that people could be bought and sold just as animals and personal possessions were. Unlike American slavery, ancient slavery was not based on ethnicity. People became slaves by capture in war (Num 31꞉25-37), by default on debt (Exod 22꞉2), and sale by family members (2 Kings 4꞉1). Some people voluntarily sold themselves as slaves either to get out of debt or to find security (Lev 25꞉39; Deut 15꞉16-17). ...

Several Hebrew words meaning "slave" are translated in the KJV as "servant" or "maid". This means that Joseph was slave in Egypt and the Gibeonites became slaves to the Israelites (Josh 9꞉23). Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and all of the children of Israel are metaphorically called "slaves of Jehovah" when they are referred to as his "servants". Likewise, the English word "handmaid" translates a Hebrew word that means slave—indicating that Hagar, Bilhah, and Zilpah were slaves to Sarah, Rachel, and Leah. ...

A slave’s life was often hard, but certain types of slavery were more difficult than others. For example, slaves who worked in mines and in fields had short lives full of strenuous daily work. In some societies, court slaves were often educated, held responsible positions, and wielded certain authority over others. Many slaves who were part of a household performed domestic and agricultural duties. The law of Moses required even non-Hebrew slaves in Israelite households to observe the Sabbath (Exod 12꞉24; Deut 12꞉12,18). Women and children were most vulnerable to abuse in this system, including physical and sexual abuse; therefore, most of the laws in the Bible regulating slavery attempt to humanely define the relationship between slaves and masters (Lev 25꞉43-55; Deut 15꞉12-18). People could be freed from slavery and there is evidence that this practice of manumission was common. Built into the law of Moses was a system that freed Israelite slaves every seven years (Exod 21꞉2; 18#p12, 18 Deut 15꞉12, 18) although it is doubtful this ideal was regularly practiced by all Israelites. Some Israelite prophets questioned debt slavery and attempted to end its practice (Jer 34꞉8-22; cf. Exod 1; Lev 5; Deut 5).[1]

William Hamblin elaborates on further protections that slaves enjoyed:

The law provides the death penalty for those who kidnap people to sell them into slavery (Deuteronomy 24꞉7). Slaves could not be forced to work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20꞉10), a concept unique to the Bible, indicating that Hebrew slaves were better treated than those anywhere else in the Near East at the time. People sold into debt-slavery were to be freed after six years of servitude (21꞉2-4). All Israelite slaves were to be freed in the Jubilee year, thereby abolishing the possibility of perpetual servitude for the descendants of slaves (Leviticus 25꞉39-46). Although slaves could be beaten, a master killing a slave was considered guilty of murder and could be executed for his crime (Exodus 21꞉20), while a slave maimed by his master was to be freed 21꞉26-27). Runaway slaves were to be given protection and not returned to their masters (Deuteronomy 23꞉15-16). While we have no desire to be apolo­gists for slavery in any form, it should be noted that the status of slaves in Hebrew law was in many ways superior to that of surrounding societies. Indeed, "we find in the Bible the first appeals in world literature to treat slaves as human beings for their own sake."[2]

Some have seen the Old Testament as an improvement on the then-common form of slavery, and the New Testament as another step forward. As Paul Copan notes:

The original ancient near eastern context of slavery showed that masters were typically brutal to their slaves; runaway slaves had to be returned to masters on pain of death. The Old Testament improves on this in a redemptive move toward an ultimate ethic: there were limited punishments in contrast to other ancient Near Eastern cultures; there was a more humanized attitude toward servants/slaves; and runaway foreign slaves were given refuge in Israel. The New Testament improves on the Old Testament. Slaves in the Roman Empire were incorporated into the body of Christ without distinction from masters (Gal 3꞉28); masters were to show concern for their slaves; slaves were encouraged to gain freedom (1 Cor: 7꞉20-22). Note, though, that the Roman Empire had institutionalized slavery—in contrast to the Old Testament’s humanized indentured servitude. So, the New Testament writers had to deal with a new setting, one that was a big moral step backward.[3]

How should we explain this moving forward? Latter-day Saint Ben Spackman notes:

It’s easy to rule out a few responses due to their reductionist simplicity. Slavery wasn’t merely a one-time blip, but a fundamental part of the Old and New Testaments. This prevents us from saying "oh, that prophet was just acting as a man," as if it were a one-off kind of thing. Nor can we say, "oh, *that* part isn’t inspired," because it’s the "whole" thing. I also don’t think we want to be apologists for Biblical slavery, just because it’s in the Bible. We think, "they were prophets, they should have known." And yet, they didn’t. Rather, we need to recalibrate our expectations about the nature of scripture. For example, scripture is not an encyclopedic repository of the platonically ideal unchanging ethics and doctrines. It is, rather, a human-but-inspired record (of sorts) of God’s line-upon-line, accommodationist dealings with fallen humans. ... Both the ideas of line-upon-line and accommodation imply progression, that God slowly brings us around. The New Testament "redeems" the Old in several distinct ways, evident both from things like the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is a new Moses and much more subtle things.[4]

Challenging Texts Regarding Slavery

There are several challenging texts of the Bible that discuss slavery and regulations surrounding it. We will consider each in turn.

Leaving Family Behind (Exodus 21꞉2-6)

If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Commentary on this verse:

Nuzi was located near Kirkuk, Iraq, close to the Tigris River. Thousands of tablets—the Akkadian Nuzi texts—from the second millennium BC were found there. They mention legislation similar to this: if a slave entered a master’s home single, he left single. If he entered with a spouse, then he left on his marry way! Now, if a wife had been given to him by his master, then she (and any children from this union) belonged to the master.

According to this Exodus passage, if a man was given a wife by his master/employer and they had children, then he had a choice: he could either leave by himself when the seventh year of debt release came, or he could continue as a permanent servant to be with his wife and children. It’s a less-than-ideal setting to be sure, but let’s probe the text more deeply.

At first glance, this text seems to treat females (and children) unfairly. The (apparently) favored male can come into a service arrangement and then go out of it. Yet the wife he married while serving his employer and any children who came while he served were (so it seems) "stuck" in the master’s home and couldn’t leave. That’s not only male favoring; it strikes us as criminal! Wasn’t this an earlier version of slave families during the antebellum South (like Frederick Douglass’s) who were broken up and scattered by insensitive slaveowners?

Our first point in response is this: we’re not told specifically that this scenario could also apply to a woman, but we have good reason to think this situation wasn’t gender specific. (We’ll see shortly that Deuteronomy 5 makes explicit that this scenario applied to a woman as well.) This is another example of case law: "if such and such a scenario arises, then this is how to proceed." Case law typically wasn’t gender specific. Furthermore, Israelite judges were quite capable of applying the law to male and female alike. An impoverished woman, who wasn’t given by her father as a prospective wife to a (widowed or divorced) man or his son (Exod. 21꞉7-11), could perform standard household tasks. And she could go free by this same law, just as a male servant could. Various scholars suggest that the Scripture text could be applied to females quite readily: "If you buy a Hebrew servant, she is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, she will go out free. ... If her master gives her a husband, and they have sons or daughters, the husband and the children will belong to her master, and she will go out by herself." The law makes perfect sense in light of this shift; its spirit isn’t violated by doing so.

Some critics, though, would rather fight than shift. Rather than applying these case-law scenarios to both men and women, they’d rather put up resistance in order to make this law look its very worst. But we have no compelling reason to do so. Again, Israel’s judges would have looked to this general passage for guidance regarding female servants. Simply because many verses in the law happen to use a masculine gender pronoun rather than alternating between "he" and "she" hardly means that women are thereby being excluded. As an aside, the term Hebrew (at this stage in Israel’s history) was broader than the term Israelite; the two terms would later be equated. The habiru were people not formally attached to established states like Egypt or Babylon; they were considered foreigners and noncitizens from the speaker’s perspective. So this passage may well refer to a non-Israelite. That means this servant—possibly a foreigner—was to be released after six years unless he preferred the security of his employer’s household. In this case, he could make the arrangement permanent. For now, we’ll assume that this passage refers to an Israelite servant, but we’ll revisit this issue when discussing Leviticus 5.

For our second point, let’s (for the moment) stick with a male servant/employee scenario. Let’s say his employer arranges for a marriage between him and a female employee. (In this case of debt-servitude, the employer’s family would now engage in marriage negotiations.) By taking the male servant into his home to work off a debt, the boss has made an investment. He would stand to suffer loss if someone walked out on the contract. Think in terms of military service. When someone signs up to serve for three or four years, he still owes the military, even if he gets married during this time. Likewise in Israel, for debts to be paid off, the male servant couldn’t just leave with his wife once he was married. He was still under contract, and he needed to honor this. And even when his contract was completed, he wasn’t allowed simply to walk away with his wife and kids. After all, they were still economic assets to his boss. What could the released man do? He had three options.

  1. He could wait for his wife and kids to finish their term of service while he worked elsewhere. His wife and kids weren’t stuck in the employer’s home the rest of their lives. They could be released when the wife worked off her debt. Yet if the now-free man worked elsewhere, this would mean (a) he would be separated from his family, and (b) his boss would no longer supply him with food, clothing, and shelter. On the other hand, if he lived with his family after release, he’d still have to pay for room and board. So this scenario created its own set of financial challenges.
  2. He could get a decent job elsewhere and save his shekels to pay his boss to release his wife and kids from contractual obligations. What a great option! Why not take this route? Because it would have been very difficult for the man to support himself and earn enough money for his family’s debt release.
  3. He could commit himself to working permanently for his employer—a life contract (Exod. 21꞉5-6). He could stay with his family and remain in fairly stable economic circumstances. He would formalize this arrangement in a legal ceremony before the judges (God) by having his ear pierced with an awl.

Before coming up with all sorts of modern Western solutions to solve these ancient Near Eastern problems, we should make greater efforts to better grasp the nature of Israelite servitude and the social and economic circumstances surrounding it. We’re talking about unfortunate circumstances during bleak economic times. Israel’s laws provided safety nets for protection, not oppression..[5]

Notwithstanding the previous quote, Leviticus 25꞉44-46 clearly endorses a form of chattel slavery. Israelites were allowed to own non-lsraelites as slaves in perpetuity:

Both thy bondmen, and they bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids Moreover of the children of strangers that sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.

This/ text does not, however, endorse the abuse of slaves. Leviticus expressly forbids the abuse of foreign slaves (Leviticus 19꞉33-34), as does (Exodus 21꞉23-27). If the slave was abused, then he or she was automatically freed.

Beating Slaves to Death? (Exodus 21꞉20-21)

And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

What happens when a master beats his slave? When the master has killed the slave with staff or rod, he was to be "punished". How is not specified. Perhaps it depended on the facts of the case. The original Hebrew verb "naqam" differentiates itself from the verb used which means "to put to death" used in verses before this. But a vague refererence to "punishment" without specification likely means that capital punishment was possible. Murder was a capital offense (Exodus 20꞉13).

Naqam has the connotation of being avenged. If the master beat his servant, but the servant died a couple of days later, the master was given the benefit of the doubt. Laws given just a few verses later suggest that if a man injured the eye or teeth of his slaves, those slaves were to go free (Exodus 21꞉26-27).

The phrase "for he is his money" is better translated as "for he hath suffered the loss." The KJV translators erred on the side of literality in these verses—maybe for good reason. Depending on how we translate, we can arrive at a few different meanings:

  1. If we keep the phrase "for he is his money", this could mean that the slave is a unit of exchange or barter with others, reinforcing the slave as the owner’s property
  2. If we change the phrase to "for it is his money", then this would require us to understand what it is. The word could refer to the servant. But it may also mean money paid to the servant. This stems from the context of the preceding verses in which men who fight, one injuring the other and causing the other to take up his bed for a while, had to pay the injured man for his time in bed and allow a full recovery. The verse may be stipulating that the master had to help his servant. This reading may be strengthened by the eye and teeth laws of verses 26 and 27.[6]
  3. If we render the translation "for he hath suffered the loss". This could simply mean that the master has lost property in his investment in the slave, and that is punishment enough.
  4. If we render the translation "for he is his property" then it implies that a man may do whatever he likes to his own property (but then we are left to explain why if the slave died suddenly, the master was to be punished? The slave was as much his property at the time of the beating as a few days later.)

A Betrothed Servant Girl (Leviticus 19꞉20-21)

And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering.

This passage is in fact a step forward for the status of slaves as human beings.

The Jewish Study Bible notes:

If one's female slave is designated for marriage to another man, sexual relations with her are illicit. Only by legal technicality (since the woman is not yet free, she is not strictly "betrothed" in the legally binding sense) are the two exempt from the death penalty mandated for adultery (see 20꞉10) but the offense against God must be expiated. The '"asham" sacrifice is prescribed (see 5꞉14-26) even though no desecration of the sacred has taken place, because the "ata't" sacrifice (see 4꞉1-35) does not atone for deliberate acts.

20: There shall be an indemnity. This translation is uncertain. A simpler one is: "a distinction shall be made."

Thus the servant girl’s personhood is actually maintained with dignity with this law—protecting the weaker from the stronger.

Israel Possessing the Nations as Menservants and Maidservants in the Lord’s Land? (Isaiah 14꞉1-2)

For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.

This passage contains restoration themes. Restoration themes often have verses describing God subduing his people’s enemies but aren’t necessarily to be taken as literal. According to the Jewish Study Bible, these verses introducing Isaiah’s poem were added during the Babylonian exile. God’s ultimate goal was to bless the nations of the earth (Genesis 12꞉3).

Jesus and Paul Silent on Slavery?

Some critics claim that Jesus and Paul were silent on the issue of slavery in the New Testament. There is some pushback to be offered to these claims.

We start with the Savior. In Luke 4꞉18, Jesus proclaims the mission that he had been given.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

The NRSV renders these verses thusly:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The bulk of 4꞉18-19 comes from Isaiah 61꞉1-2 and Isaiah 58꞉6. In those verses, The language of "release" echoes the jubilary language of Leviticus 5. The year of jubilee was prescribed as the year that slaves were released every seven years.

It is widely recognized that Isaiah 8 and 61 develop jubilary themes. Therefore, it may have been part of the Savior’s mission to abolish harmful servitude structures in the Roman Empire. But much more likely was that the Savior only preached against oppressive structures and sought only to reform them if they were oppressive. "Jesus didn’t necessarily create an economic reform plan for Israel, but he addressed heart attitudes of greed, envy, contentment, and generosity to undermine oppressive economic social structures."[7]

In the case of Paul, he attempted to make the distinction between master and servant irrelevant and condemn those that would abuse slaves. This is documented in several passages (Galatians 3꞉28; Colossians 4꞉1; Ephesians 6꞉5-9; 1 Timothy 1꞉9-10 [translated "menstealers" in KJV but translated as "slavetraders" in most translations]). [8]

Paul treated slaves as morally responsible people (Col 3꞉22-25). It has even been argued that he encouraged slaves to gain their freedom wherever possible (1 Cor 7꞉20-22). Scholarship is divided fairly evenly, however, on the correct interpretation of those verses.[9] Regardless, it is incomplete to claim that Paul and Jesus said nothing of relevance.

But then why didn’t Jesus or the early Christians try to immediately abolish slavery? Paul Copan lays out an argument:

Critics wonder why Paul (or Peter in 1 Peter 2꞉18-20) didn’t condemn slavery outright and tell masters to release their slaves. Yet we should first separate this question from other considerations, even if the [critics] aren’t necessarily interested in nuance. Paul’s position on the status of slavery was clear on various points: (1) he repudiated slave trading; (2) he affirmed the full human dignity and equal spiritual status of slaves; and (3) he encouraged slaves to acquire their freedom whenever possible (1 Cor. 7꞉20-22). Paul’s revolutionary Christian affirmations helped to tear apart the fabric of the institution of slavery in Europe.

Paul reminded Christian masters that they, with their slaves, were fellow slaves of the same impartial Master; so they weren’t to mistreat them but rather deal with them as brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul called on human masters to grant "justice and fairness" to their slaves (Col. 4꞉1). In unprecedented fashion, Paul treated slaves as morally responsible persons (Col. 3꞉22-25) who, like their Christian masters, were brothers and part of Christ’s body (1 Tim. 6꞉2 ).[10] Christian slave and master alike belonged to Christ (Gal. 3꞉28; Col. 3꞉11). Spiritual status was more fundamental than social status.

Paul (and Peter) didn’t call for an uprising to overthrow slavery in Rome. They didn’t want the Christian faith to be perceived as opposed to social order and harmony. Hence, Christian slaves were told to do what was right; even if they were mistreated, their conscience would be clear (1 Peter 2꞉18-20). Obligations fell to these slaves, yes, without their prior agreement. So the path for early Christians to take was tricky, very much unlike the situation in Old Testament Israel. On the one hand, a slave uprising would do the gospel a disservice and prove a direct threat to an oppressive Roman establishment (e.g., "Masters, release your slaves!" or "Slaves, throw off your chains!"). Rome would meet any flagrant opposition with speedy, forceful, lethal opposition. So Peter’s admonition to unjustly treated slaves implies a suffering endured without retaliation. No, suffering in itself is not good (which would be a sadistic attitude to adopt and certainly not the view of Scripture); rather, the right response in the midst of suffering is commendable.

On the other hand, the early Christians undermined slavery indirectly and certainly rejected many common Greco-Roman assumptions about it, such as Aristotle’s (slaves were inherently inferior to masters, as were females to males). Just as Jesus bore unjust suffering for the redemption of others and entrusted himself to the One who judges justly (1 Peter 2꞉20-24) so Christian slaves could bear hardship to show others—including their masters—the way of Christ and redemption through him, all the while entrusting themselves to God.[11] Thus, like yeast, such Christlike living could have a gradual leavening effect on society so that oppressive institutions like slavery could finally fall away. This is, in fact, what took place throughout Europe [due to the spread of a Christian culture and worldview]. ...

This was also the type of incremental strategy taken by President Abraham Lincoln. Though he despised slavery and talked freely about this degrading institution, his first priority was to hold the Union together rather than try to abolish slavery immediately. Being an exceptional student of human nature, he recognized that political realities and predictable reactions required an incremental approach. The radical abolitionist route of John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison would (and did!) simply create a social backlash against hard-core abolitionists and make emancipation all the more difficult.(Footnote: See Ronald C. White, Lincoln: A Biography (New York: Random House, 2009) which explores these themes in detail.)[12]

The Onesimus Question (Philemon 1)

Paul’s words in Philemon have caused some concern over his degree of enthusiasm for dissolving slavery, since Paul did not repudiate slavery explicitly.

Interpretation of this passage remains debated today.[13] The difficulty is that we have little information from Paul as to why Onesimus was in prison with him and what Paul wanted Philemon to do once Onesimus returned to him. One plausible interpretation of the passage is that Paul is exhorting Philemon to accept Onesimus back as more than a slave but a fellow-brother in Christ—essentially discarding the master/servant distinction and reforming the social attitudes of the day towards slaves (Phil 1꞉16). This view is strengthened by Paul’s acceptance of servants as leaders in the Church and his encouragement to them to gain their freedom wherever possible.

Not Preaching the Gospel to "Bond-Servants" (D&C 134꞉12)

We conclude with a specifically LDS scripture:

We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude.

As always, the historical context is important. Joseph Smith had two years prior disavowed the morality of slavery in Kirtland, the same place where this document was penned (Doctrine and Covenants 101꞉79). Members of the Church in Missouri were accused of trying to overturn the institution of slavery. Missouri was a slave state and the inclusion of slaves and the supposed attempt to overthrow the institution inflamed prejudice against the young Church. This passage was written in response to those that threatened violence.

The Church teaches that slavery is unequivocally wrong and threatens the fundamental rights of an individual.

Additional Video Content

To learn more about slavery in the scriptures

  • Gregory Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017).
  • Paul Copan, Matthew Flanagan, Did God Command Genocide? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014).
  • Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011).
  • Richard Holzapfel, Dana Pike, David Rolph Seely Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 2009).
  • Peter Enns, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne Publishing, 2015).
  • Kenton Sparks, Sacred Word Broken Word: Biblical Authority and the Dark Side of Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012); God’s Words in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship (Ada, MI: Baker Academic, 2008).


  1. David Rolph Seely, Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, and Dana Pike, Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2009), 66.
  2. William J. Hamblin, "The Most Misunderstood Book: christopher hitchens on the Bible (A Review of god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens)," FARMS Review 21/2 (2009). [47–95] link; citing Anchor Bible Dictionary 6:65a
  3. Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), [citation needed].
  4. Benjamin Spackman, "Gospel Doctrine Lesson 40: Colossians and Philippians, but mostly Philemon," (10 November 2018).
  5. Copan, Is God A Moral Monster, 137–39.
  6. This is the argument made by Paul Copan and Hittitologist Harry Hoffner Jr.
  7. Copan, Is God a Moral Monster?, 151–52.
  8. Bible Hub, Timothy 1:10, accessed 26 February 2019.
  9. Gordon D. Fee, "The First Epistle to the Corintians – The Guiding Principle –Remain as One was When Called" in The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2014), 350.
  10. O’Brian, Ephesians, 455.
  11. I. Howard Marshall, "1 Peter," IVP New Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1991), 89–90; and Karen H. Jobes, "1 Peter," Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 180–87.
  12. Copan, Is God a Moral Monster?, 152–53.
  13. Margaret M. Mitchell, "Philemon," in The New Oxford Annotated Bible (New York City, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), 2100.