The Slave Bible

I’m currently at a consultant meeting for the “Science and the Bible” exhibit at the Museum of the Bible.

They took us through the “Slave Bible Exhibit” with the historian that uncovered the work on it. It was a moving experience.




I’ve read a lot of history … but I think this is the first time I’ve heard about the Slave Bible. How sad.

Joshua, I’m going to ask an intrusive question, but don’t feel obligated to answer it if the question doesn’t feel right.

Have you ever thought about whether putting a dot (typo: dog corrected to DOT) of pigment on your forehead here in America (not for constant use), in order to not only honor your ancestry … but also to be treated differently from how many Americans reflexively treat some non-white minorities?

Since I come from Italian-American ancestry, it has always been easy to avoid being lumped together with other ethnic groups… but I wonder what it must be like to have a darker skin - - and yet not be African…

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That’s the one where they omitted 90% of Hebrew Bible?


This is crazy! Did you get any sense of how widespread the use of the “Slave Bible” was?


No, thats the one where slave owners removed every reference to “freedom” from the book to keep the virtue of such far from the minds of their slaves. That eliminates all of Galatians and the entirty of gospel language even though these are quite unrelateable to human slavery. I have a good friend who participated in a church oriented towards black people in this country where they seem to have built a theology in direct ties to the sorrowful history of not being given the theological tools of understanding about freedom from sin by grace and grace alone. For this, their theology became one of a legalistic social gospel instead of a gospel of freedom from sin in all races by a God who loves all races of people. An example of this are rules about black people barred from marrying white people and legalistic salvation by works not grace.

I have spoken extensively about this very bible to my friend and he was completely surprised in how he could relate to this history.

@Greg and @djordje,

You are both correct. The Slave Bible article and video includes the fact that 90% of the Old Testament was removed (and other sections from the New Testament) … and the savagely edited Bible was then used to teach slaves a very obedient form of Christianity.


Apparently it was produced in England for use in the Carribbean plantations… where we presume it became very popular with the plantation owners in the lower states of America.

From Wikipedia

A slave bible is a bible specifically edited to serve for enslaved Christians. They were produced in England in the early 19th century for use in the British West Indies, when they were colonies of the British Empire. Such bibles had all “references to freedom and escape from slavery” excised, while passages "encouraging obedience and submission were emphasized.[1]

The Museum of the Bible, during a 2018 exhibition called “The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told”, exhibited an example from 1807, called Parts of the Holy Bible, selected for the use of the Negro Slaves, in the British West-India Islands . British missionaries used that bible in the education and conversion of the enslaved population. The editors cut 90% of the Old Testament and 50% of the New Testament. Among the excluded passages are Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”, which was thought to possibly incite rebellion. Passages like Ephesians 6:5, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ,” were kept.[2] This bible was one of three copies of this version, and is owned by Fisk University. It was printed by Law and Gilbert of London, for the Society for the Conversion of Negro Slaves.[3]

There’s not much on the Society for the Conversion of Negro Slaves: Anglican Bishop of London Beilby Porteus founded the Society. But not quite for the reasons some are quick to suppose!

Inexplicably, a truncated history of Beilby Porteus is in Wikipedia… which treats his work up to, but not including, his complex strategy to use a newly created society (mentioned above) to slowly undo the worst parts of the slave system!

" Porteus used the opportunity afforded by the invitation to preach the 1783 Anniversary Sermon of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to criticise the Church of England’s role in ignoring the plight of the 350 slaves on its Codrington Plantations in Barbados and to recommend means by which the lot of slaves there could be improved.

It was an impassioned and well-reasoned plea for The Civilisation, Improvement and Conversion of the Negroe Slaves in the British West-India Islands Recommended and was preached at the church of St Mary-le-Bow before forty members of the society, including eleven bishops of the Church of England. When this largely fell upon deaf ears, Porteus next began work on his Plan for the Effectual Conversion of the Slaves of the Codrington Estate , which he presented to the SPG committee in 1784 and, when it was turned down, again in 1789. His dismay at the rejection of his plan by the other bishops is palpable. His diary entry for the day reveals his moral outrage at the decision and at what he saw as the apparent complacency of the bishops and the committee of the society at its responsibility for the welfare of its own slaves."

For you see, not widely known, the Codrington Estates, having passed through 3 generations, was bequeathed to the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts” … which was one heck of an ironic gesture!!! The Society dedicated to bringing Christianity to foreign lands now derived significant income from plantations with slaves permitted to remain unconverted…

Quoted from elsewhere in Wikipedia:
"[The Plantations’] … particular significance was as a part of a charitable bequest in 1710, on the death of the third Christopher Codrington (1668 – 1710), to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). The history of the plantations illustrates both the 18th century Church of England’s dependence on financial support for Christian mission work in the [West Indies] West Indies - Wikipedia)from local landowners, and, until the growth of the Abolitionism, an institutional unwillingness to address issues relating to slavery."


I guess i learned of it as an offering of an extremely edited new testament along with what i would assume were the ot materials that at face value justified enslavement of mankind. (Indentured servantude is quite contrary to racial based forced enslavement of fellow man) Isnt that sick? The use and exploitation of Gods word to enslave people made in Gods image for personal monetary benefit and greed.

Goes to show you that a portion of truth released from the fabric of the whole truth from the counsel of Scripture equates to no truth worthy of anything.

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I’m already treated different. Dark skin is all that is necessary, no dot of pigment. That has religious significance that I don’t agree with, so I would not wear it. However, I’m getting the minority experience as it is.


Indeed the edditing of the bible for a other agenda is what happens today with those denying what the bible clearly says about any subject.
They accept it has authority THEN they must change it to fit in thier conclusions they wish to enforce.

why are there so many accusations against non whites allowed here.
In north america all peoples are treated by the original English/british civilization with justice and kindness and fellow countrymen.
any problems came from immigrants to us that bumped into us or others.
Indeed today its “non whites” that do injustice to "whites’ more then others and is the essence of the establishment.
Just being allowed into our civilization and home is a fantastic complimented not deserved.
In Canada or america it is , whats the term, white male protestant christian anglo saxon caucasion etc etc folks who are by government and practice in society oppresed and hurt to a certain degree.
Non white minorities(which is a impossible term in North america) are treated better and never treated worse.
This is absurd false accusation.
All third world peoples, or everyone, would move here TODAY if they could and expect to get , RIGHT AWAY, the best things and the money.
Please can we talk about science issues and not these provocative identity issues on Peaceful Science. ?!
I’m not the boss but why this liberal democrat jazz all the time.
Why the attacks when people can live whereever they want almost. ??!!
Canada/America have been the best countries in human history as a reflection on our people.
The original United Kingdom/British people. Yup white as snow and lots of males and heaps of assorted protestants.
I don’t flag anyone because its dumb but sheesh on some threads here.
(I wonder if I will get flagged by the community. doesn’t change the truth)
Just origin stuff and science would fun. Yuick to politics and grudges.

What. The. F**k.

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What are you nattering about? Who is making accusations against non-whites? I don’t think I even see any accusations against whites … is that what you were trying to say?

I think you should go first and ask: why are there so few whites in the world… why isn’t the world all white? Yeah… that seems to be the Byers Question of the day…

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I will have to agree w you george on this one. Im quite confused about what byers is saying here. Over a year ago, i walked into a walmart and a chic fi la. Walmart had a plethora of skin colors, nationalities where chic fi la had lots of caucasians. I sensed a question as from the Holy Spirit where He asked, “as for the outward skin color and nationality alone, which would look more like heaven?” My glad spontaneous answer without hesitation was the picture poised at Wal mart. (This not criticism of chic fi lay but just to make a point.)

God loves THE WORLD. If we folks get a firmer and firmer grasp about a God who created man in His image, male and female where we all descend from that couple and that we are all equally imperfect and we are all equally loved and all equally forgiven if we choose to accept, the colors of skin and nationality will never be recognized as having any basis of predudice, but rather celebration and honor!

Once again, Greg, what about intersex?

First tell me that you are in agreement w scripture that the fall of man caused God to allow all of creation to morph into a state of futility where natural evil, disease, bad forms of genetic mutation seem to be part, then your question will have an answer without a reply.

No interest in continuing this further.

Off topic detours into controversial issues are strongly discouraged.

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