In the Roman Empire freemen were those born free, as distinct from freedmen who had been liberated from slavery and whose civil rights were restricted (cf. 1 Cor. 7: 22). Paul declared that such distinctions no longer obtained in the Church of Christ (Gal. 3: 28).

In Jerusalem there was a synagogue of Freedmen whose members disputed with Stephen (Acts 6: 9). They were possibly descendants of Jews who had been enslaved by Pompey (63 BCE).