Tuesday 5 March 2024


The Negro Bible (also known as the Slave Bible) was published by a collective group of missionaries called The Incorporated Society for the Conversion and Religious Instruction and Education of the Negro Slaves in the British West India Islands; Beilby Porteus (Bishop of London) was the president of this society.

Slave Bible was initially produced in England in the early 19th century (1807) for use in the British West Indies, but later adopted by colonies in North America, Africa and Australia.

It had all "references to freedom and escape from slavery" excised, while passages encouraging obedience and submission were emphasized. These references emphasizing loyalty and submission to the slave master were instructions handed down by Porteus, who stated: "prepare a short form of public prayer, together with select portions of scripture particularly those which relate of the slave duties toward the master.”

British missionaries used it in the education and conversion of the enslaved population.

The editors included only 10 percent of the Old Testament and half of the New Testament. For example, among the excluded passages are Galatians 3:28 which states: "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". Exodus 21:16 and Deuteronome 23:16-17 were also removed.

The publishers of the slave bible thought these sections, such as the Exodus, the Book of Psalms, and the Book of Revelation, "could instill in slaves a dangerous hope for freedom and dreams of equality." 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 retained.

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