Is the Bible racist? Many people believe that the Bible condones racial oppression. However, an honest and careful reading of the Bible reveals that it does not condone or promote racism. In fact, the Bible strongly opposes racism.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament make it clear that God’s Word is opposed to racism. The Old Testament teaches that everyone is made in God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26-17; 5:1). It also teaches that people from all nations should be treated with kindness and respect; no one should be oppressed (see Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34). In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter says, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35, ESV). Similarly, the Apostle Paul makes powerful statements against racism (e.g., see Romans 10:12; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). Moreover, the Bible points out that people from every tribe, language, and nation will be in heaven (see Revelation 5:9; 7:9).
Jesus, who founded Christianity, showed that he opposed racism by telling a story called the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37). In this story, a Samaritan man stops to help a Jewish man who was beaten by robbers and left half dead. His kind and unselfish behavior stands in contrast to the selfish behavior of a Jewish priest and a Jewish Levite, who both refuse to stop and help the badly wounded man. Jesus tells his hearers to imitate the good example set by the Samaritan man instead of the bad examples set by the two Jewish religious men (see verses 36-37). Jesus encourages his hearers to imitate the Good Samaritan even though most Jews of his day hated Samaritans, who accepted only the first five books of the Old Testament as Scripture.
Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament can be used to justify racism, and we all know that racism is wrong. The Bible clearly acknowledges this timeless truth. As a result, Christianity is still relevant today, and everyone should be willing to consider Jesus’ claim to be God’s Son and the way to God.
For more about the Bible’s opposition to racism and Christianity’s contemporary relevance, please read my book The Life Changer.