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What Does the Bible Say About...Freedom?

What does the bible say about freedom? How does the Bible define freedom?


Throughout the Old Testament freedom usually means not imprisoned or enslaved. There were specific laws for the Jews about when to set a slave free, or what to do if a slave chose not to be set free.

Sometimes the New Testament talks of freedom in the same vein. “Then Agrippa said to Festus, This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” (Acts 26:32) “Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-24) In this latter passage Paul says that freedom is not based on ownership by man, but on a state of mind.

Most of the time in the New Testament, though, freedom is defined in terms of spiritual, rather than physical, slavery. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32-36) Paul used the same image of slavery to sin and freedom in Christ in the sixth through eighth chapters of Romans. James (1:25; 2:12) calls the gospel the “law of liberty,” which may mean the law which sets men free from sin.

Even the most “free” person, in human terms, may be enslaved by sin. Even the most enslaved person may be free from sin through faith in and obedience to Christ.