When asking whether the Bible condones slavery or indentured servitude, we have to admit the Torah does.
And if your brother becomes poor beside you, and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: he shall be with you as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee; then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own family, and return to the possession of his fathers. For they are my servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him with harshness, but shall fear your God.
As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a possession for ever; you may make slaves of them, but over your brethren the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another, with harshness. (Leviticus 25:39-46)The Christian Bible that includes the Old and New Testament requires an understanding of the progressive revelation of the purpose of God for anyone to grasp the reasons why indentured servitude and slavery are condoned.
Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Idolatry is the rejection of God (1 Samuel 15:23). Many people today are slaves, only they are willing slaves to their gods. For instance, everybody who borrows money becomes a slave of the lender, and if a person borrows to buy items where there is no profit to be gained, that person is worse off than an indentured servant.
While slavery is outlawed, it has benefits. Indentured servitude provides better benefits. People who are broke, homeless and hungry can become indentured servants (even slaves) and learn skills. Unfortunately, there are those evil individuals who abuse humans. But this occurs even today, so the system does not create the evil, people choose to become evil.
The New Testament does not reject the concept of slavery. However, it needs to be understood that the New Testament message is about freedom.
- For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
- For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. (Galatians 5:13)
The Life Of True Freedom Is Found Not In The Halls Of Power But Within The Spirit