Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.
— Philippians 1:1
Our concept of a slave is the opposite of what the Bible describes. We think that all slaves live in poverty and are mistreated and beaten by their masters. Under Mosaic law, however, slaves had the right to their own possessions (Lev. 25:49). They could keep whatever money they earned. Slaves could actually be wealthy and enjoy many material things. If they were married before becoming slaves, those marriages were honored; their spouses would not be taken from them (Exo. 21:3). This is very different from our concept of slaves being stripped, beaten, and humiliated. The difference between slaves and non-slaves in the Bible is simple—non-slaves could do whatever they wanted, but slaves could only do what their masters told them to do.
Adapted from Philippians: “That I May Gain Christ,” pages 13-14.