Slave Bible in the 1800s

The biggest difference between the so-called Slave Bibles of the early 1800s and the versions others used was what was missing. The Slave Bible drew attention away from passages emphasizing freedom, to themes of obedience and submission. For example, there are only a few chapters of the Old Testament story of the exodus, with little mention of the Israelites in slavery in Egypt and their deliverance. In the New Testament, the book of Revelation, which mentioned a “new kingdom,” was missing. Of the few remaining Slave Bibles, one is on display at Museum of the Bible. Despite these omissions and similar attempts to use the Bible to support slavery, enslaved communities were drawn to the story of the exodus in the stories they passed down and in the words and music of their spirituals.


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