BIBLICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF BELIEVERS

TUESDAY – BIBLICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF BELIEVERS

I think one of the reasons that some believes struggle with the Lordship of God is the picture it portrays. It is a picture of servant hood. At least, that is the sanitized designation assigned by modern man. The actual biblical portrayal of the Greek word is slavery. This word produces many mental images – mostly negative. In its benign form it is simply a picture of a Master with a servant, a Lord who has absolute control and the final say over another individual. This can be a positive experience as portrayed in Exodus 21:1- 6. It can also conjure up the negative images of abuse to Africans by some of the British in England during the 1700’s and by some Southern Americans during the 1800’s, or in the modern day by African Muslims to African Christians.

However, it should be noted that slavery to God was a concept embraced by Jewish and Christian leaders in Scripture. There was Moses who was considered the slave of God:

NAU Revelation 15:3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!

NIV Revelation 15:3 and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.

KJV Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Incidentally, the term bond slave or bondservant is an unfortunate English translation of the Greek word doulos. It is best translated slave. The word refers to a person on the lowest level of servitude and one who was willing to give himself over to the will of another. This is what Moses did in his relationship with God as did James:

NAU James 1:1 James, a bond-servant of God

NIV James 1:1 James, a servant of God

KJV James 1:1 James, a servant of God

Peter:

NAU 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

NIV 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

KJV 2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,

Jude:

NAU Jude 1:1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ,

NIV Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ

KJV Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ,

John:

NAU Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

NIV Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

KJV Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

And Paul:

NAU Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus,

NIV Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,

KJV Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,

NAU Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God,

NIV Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God

KJV Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God.

It was also embraced by Paul’s fellowworkers, Epaphrus and Tychicus:

NAU Colossians 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant,

NIV Colossians 1:7 You learned it from Epaphras , our dear fellow servant,

KJV Colossians 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant,

NAU Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ,

NIV Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus

KJV Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,

NAU Colossians 4:7 As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.

NIV Colossians 4:7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.

KJV Colossians 4:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:

In fact, Peter tells all believers to have an attitude of being slaves:

NAU 1 Peter 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

NIV 1 Peter 2:16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.

KJV 1 Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

More importantly it is a term used to describe Jesus:

NAU Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

NIV Philippians 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,

KJV Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,

If Jesus did not reject this term then neither should we. We are, after all, slaves of God not only because He created us but, more importantly for believers, because He is their Redeeming Lord. We were stripped naked exposing our pitiful yet unacceptable self-righteousness before God and redeemed from this pitiful condition for relationship, friendship, and sonship (terms all to be discussed this week) with God. Yet slavery to God is the foundation for appreciating the rest of the terms that we will examine this week.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)!

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