Bondservant (1401) (doulos from deo = to bind) (Click additional notes on doulos) was an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. A bondservant is one who surrendered wholly to another’s will and thus devoted to another to the disregard of his own interest. Paul and Timothy were not their own but had been bought with the price of the blood of Christ. They were now the property of our Lord Jesus Christ and were His slaves exclusively. No man can serve two masters (Mt 6:24-note). Paul and Timothy had been slaves of Sin (see note on "the Sin") by their birth into Adam's likeness, but now they are slaves of Christ by their new, second birth. They had no will of their own, no business of their own, no time of their own and were acting for their Master, Christ; dependent upon Him and obedient to Him. Doulos is used 124 times (in 17" class="scriptRef">17 verses) in the NT (22" class="scriptRef">22.6.8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8.9" class="scriptRef">Mt 8:9; 10" class="scriptRef">10.24-Matt.10.25" class="scriptRef">10:24, 25; 13:27, 28; 18.18" class="scriptRef">18.23" class="scriptRef">18:23, 6" class="scriptRef">6-Matt.18.28" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26, 27, 28, 32; 20" class="scriptRef">20.27" class="scriptRef">20:27; 21.34" class="scriptRef">21:34, 36, 37; 22:3, 4, 6, 8, 10; 24:45, 6, 48, 50; 25:14, 19, 21, 23, 26, 30; 26:51; Mk. 10:44; 12:2, 4; 13:34; 14:47; Lk. 2:29; 7:2, 3, 8, 10; 12:37, 43, 45, 46, 47, 14:17, 21, 22, 23; 15.22" class="scriptRef">15:22; 17:7, 9, 10; 19:13, 15, 17, 22; 20:10, 11; 22:50; Jn. 4:51; 8:34, 35; 13:16; 15:15, 20; 18:10, 18, 26; Acts 2:18; 4:29; 16:17; Ro 1:1; 6:16, 17, 20; 1 Co. 7:21, 22, 23; 12:13; 2Co 4:5; Gal. 1:10; 3:28; 4:1, 7; Ep 6:5, 6, 8; Phil. 1:1; 2:7; Col. 3:11, 22; 4:1, 12; 1Ti 6:1; 2Ti 2:24; Titus 1:1; 2:9; Philemon 1:16; James 1:1; 1Pe 2:16; 2Pe 1:1; 2:19; Jude 1:1; Re 1:1; 2:20; 6:15; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 13:16; 15:3; 19:2, 5, 18; 22:3, 6. There are some 25.9" class="scriptRef">94 uses of doulos in the Septuagint (LXX) (79.10" class="scriptRef">10" class="scriptRef">10.19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">19.7" class="scriptRef">7.14.25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25.44" class="scriptRef">Lev 25:44; 15.8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8.6" class="scriptRef">6.11" class="scriptRef">11.17" class="scriptRef">17.13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26:13; 17" class="scriptRef">17.20.32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32" class="scriptRef">32.18.36" class="scriptRef">36" class="scriptRef">36" class="scriptRef">36" class="scriptRef">36" class="scriptRef">36" class="scriptRef">Deut. 32:36; 23" class="scriptRef">23" class="scriptRef">Jos. 9:23; 12" class="scriptRef">12" class="scriptRef">12.24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24.29" class="scriptRef">24:29; 8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">Jdg. 2:8; 6:27; 28" class="scriptRef">9:28; 15:18; 1Sa 2:27; 3:9, 10; 14" class="scriptRef">14-1Sam.8.16" class="scriptRef">8:22.14-1Sam.22.15" class="scriptRef">14, 15, 16; 12.19" class="scriptRef">12:19; 13:3; 21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">14:21, 41; 16:16; 17:9, 32, 34" class="scriptRef">34" class="scriptRef">34, 36; 19:4; 20.7-1Sam.20.8" class="scriptRef">20:7, 8; 22:8, 14, 15; 11" class="scriptRef">23:10, 11; 25:10, 39" class="scriptRef">39; 26:17, 18, 19; 27:5, 12; 28:2; 29:3, 8; 30.13" class="scriptRef">30:13; 2Sa 3:18; 6:20; 7:5, 8, 19, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 29; 8:2, 6, 14; 9:2, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12; 10:2, 19; 11:9, 11, 13, 17, 21, 24; 12:18; 13:24, 35; 14:19, 20, 22, 30; 15:2, 8, 21, 34; 18:29; 19:5, 7, 14, 17, 20, 26, 27, 28, 35, 36, 37; 21:22; 24:10, 21; 1Ki. 1:19, 26, 27, 33, 47, 51; 38" class="scriptRef">38-1Kgs.2.40" class="scriptRef">2:38, 39, 40; 3:6, 7, 8; 5:6, 9; 8:12, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31, 28, 29, 30, 36, 52, 56, 59, 66; 11:11, 13, 26, 32, 34, 36, 38; 12:7, 24; 15:29; 18:9, 12, 36; 20:9, 32, 39, 40; 21:28; 2Ki 1:13, 14; 4:1; 5:6, 15, 17, 18, 25; 6:3; 8:13, 19; 9:7, 36; 10:10, 19, 21, 22, 23; 12:20, 21; 14:5, 25; 16:7; 17:3, 13, 23; 18:12, 24; 19:34; 20:6; 21:8, 10; 22:9, 12; 24:1, 2; 1Chr 17:7, 18, 26; 2Chr 2:8; 6:23, 42" class="scriptRef">42; 28:10; 36:20; 65" class="scriptRef">Ezra 2:65; 4:15; 5:11; 9:9, 11; Neh 1:6, 11; 2:10, 19, 20; 5:5; 7:57, 60, 67; 9:14, 36; 10:29; 11:3; Job 41:4; Ps 19:11, 13; 27:9; 31:16; 34:22; 35:27; 36:1; 69:36; 78:70; 79:2, 10; 80:4; 86:2, 4; 89:3, 20, 39, 50; 90:13, 16; 102:14, 28; 105:6, 17, 25, 26, 42; 109:28; 116:16; 119:17, 23, 38, 49, 65, 76, 84, 91, 122, 124, 125, 135, 140, 176; 123:2; 132:10; 134:1; 135:1, 9, 14; 136:22; 143:2, 12; 144:10; Pr 9:3; Eccl 2:7; 5:12; 7:21; 10:7; Is 14:2; 42:19; 45:14; 48:20; 49:3, 5, 7; 56:6; 63:17; 65:9; Je 2:14; 3:22; 7:25; 25:4; 46:27; La 5:8; Ezek 28:25; 34:23; 37:24, 25; 38:17; Da 3:26; 6:20; 9:6, 10, 11, 17; Joel 2:29; Amos 3:7; Jon 1:9; Hag 2:23; Zech 1:6; 3:8; Mal 1:6; 4:4) Click the convicting poem He Had No Rights written by Mabel Williamson a missionary to China. In the Greek culture doulos usually referred to the involuntary, permanent service of a slave, but the use in the epistles of Paul and Peter elevates the meaning of doulos to the Hebrew sense which describes a servant who willingly commits himself to serve a master he loves and respects (cp Ex 21:5, 6 Dt 15:12-16 discussed below). By Roman times, slavery was so extensive that in the early Christian period one out of every two people was a slave! From at least 3000BC captives in war were the primary source of slaves. Doulos speaks of submission to one's master The doulos had no life of his own, no will of his own, no purpose of his own and no plan of his own. All was subject to his master. The bondservant's every thought, breath, and effort was subject to the will of his master. In sum, the picture of a bondservant is one who is absolutely surrendered and totally devoted to his master. What a picture of Paul and Timothy's relation to their Lord! What an example for all believers of every age to emulate! This word provides an incredible word picture of those who bound to their Lord Jesus Christ, Who had bought them with a price to be His own possession (cf 1Cor 6:20, Acts 20:28, Gal 3:13, Heb 9:12-note, 1Pe 1:18-note, Re 5:9-note, Titus 2:14-note, 1Pe 2:9-note). By using doulos Paul is saying "I am a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely sold out to His will. I am willing to do whatever He tells me to do. I am willing to say whatever He tells me to say. I am willing to go wherever He leads me. I am a man who has made a choice. I am going to serve Him for all eternity." Matthew Henry adds that... "The highest honour of the greatest apostle, and most eminent ministers, is to be the servants of Jesus Christ; not the masters of the churches, but the servants of Christ." Kenneth Wuest explains that a doulos as "the most abject, servile term used by the Greeks to denote a slave. The word designated one who was born as a slave, one who was bound to his master in chords so strong that only death could break them, one who served his master to the disregard of his own interests, one whose will was swallowed up in the will of his master. Paul was born a slave of sin at his physical birth, and a bondslave of his Lord through regeneration. (Note: There was another word, andrapodon which was person taken prisoner in war and sold into slavery) The chords that bound him to his old master Satan, were rent asunder in his identification with Christ in the latter’s death (Ro 6). The chords that bind him to his new Master will never be broken since the new Master will never die again, and is Paul’s new life (Php 1:21-note,Col 3:3,4-note). He has changed masters because he has a new nature (2Cor 5:17, 2Pe 1:3,4-note), the divine, and the evil nature which compelled him to serve the Devil has had its power over him broken (Col 1:13-note, Heb 2:14, 15-note). Paul’s will, at one time swallowed up in the will of Satan, now is swallowed up in the sweet will of God. The reader will observe how wonderfully God has watched over the development of the Greek language so that at the time it was needed as the medium through which He would give His New Testament revelation to the human race, its words were fit receptacles and efficient instruments for the conveyance of His message to man. Paul calls himself a bondslave of Christ Jesus... The apostle is proud of the fact that he is a slave belonging to his Lord. There were certain individuals in the Roman empire designated “Slaves of the Emperor.” This was a position of honor. One finds a reflection of this in Paul’s act of designating himself as a slave of the King of kings. He puts this ahead of his apostleship." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) (Bolding added) The function of a doulos is to serve His Master. The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played. The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic. A Christian’s unwillingness to serve His Master may also destroy his capacity for usefulness. BONDSERVANT A Summary The doulos... • Was owned by and totally possessed by his master. • Existed for his master and no other reason. • Had no personal rights. • Was at the master’s disposal "24/7". • Had no will of his own but was completely subservient to the master. Paradoxically a bondservant of the Most High God is one of the most privileged, noblest professions in the world. Little wonder that notable men of God in the have always been called the servants of God. The list of names includes (use InstaVerse to see Scriptures in context in the version you prefer) Moses (Dt 34:5 Ps 105:26 Mal 4:4) Joshua (Josh 24:29) David (2Sa 3:18 Ps 78:70) Paul (Ro 1:1-note; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1-note) Peter (2Pe 1:1-note) James (James 1:1-note) Jude (Jude 1:1 ) Prophets (Amos 3:7; Jer 7:25). Ideally believers (Acts 2:18; 1Co 7:22; Ep 6:6-note; Col 4:12-note; 2Ti 2:24-note). Guy King comments on the phrase bondservants of Christ Jesus writing... Let it be said at once that the word here is the same as bond-slaves - a conception which would be vividly familiar to every reader of this Letter. Quite a number of them were, or had been, slaves themselves - and the word would catch their attention at once. I say "had been" of some, because the law of manumission (process of releasing from slavery) would have operated in their case - a price would have been paid, and the slave set free. In his fascinating Light from the Ancient East, Dr. Deissmann, pp. 319 ff., has some most interesting paragraphs on this releasing of slaves (see note that follows); and, with his quick and ready mind, the late Archbishop Harrington Lees, in his CHRIST and His Slaves, made use of the learned Doctor's discoveries to point many a moral concerning spiritual servitude and release. Paul's writings abound in allusions to this last phenomenon. The material and the spiritual are found together in such a passage as 1Corinthians 7:22, He that is called in the LORD, being a servant, is the Lord's freedman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. When a man becomes a Christian, though materially bound as a slave, he is spiritually freed from bondage to Satan and sin; on the other hand, such a man, though materially set at liberty, is, in the spiritual sense, bound hand and foot to CHRIST. How Paul himself rejoiced - and even gloried - in this New Slavery. In his letters he so constantly uses the word as indicating his relationship to JESUS CHRIST. He would so readily enter into the attitude of the well-satisfied slave of Exodus 21:5, "I love my Master . . . I will not go out free." From the bondage of sin, the believer has, by the manumission price of "the precious Blood", (1Pe 1:18, 19-notes), been set free-only to find himself thereby committed to a bondage more binding than ever. Yet, this time the "service is perfect freedom", the bonds are honourable and sweet. And, for our encouragement, let us remember that (i) The Master is responsible for His slaves' needs - feeding, housing, clothing, and all else is the slave owner's concern. It is because we are GOD'S servants (slaves) that our Lord says "Therefore . . . take no thought . . .", (Mt 6:24-note; Mt 6:25-note), for the ordinary needs of life. Our apostle will say later in this very Epistle, "My GOD shall supply all your need." (see note Philippians 4:19) Also (ii) The Master is responsible for His slaves' duties - they will not choose their own task, or their own sphere. Whether ours is to be the more menial, or the more genial, work is in His plan, not ours. It is the Christian's wisdom to stand before Him as those in 2Samuel 15:15, "Thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my Lord the King shall appoint", or as Gabriel in Luke 1:19, "I . . . stand. . . and am sent . . .". Then, too (iii) The Master is responsible for His slaves' supplies - "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" asks 1Corinthians 9:7: the soldier has all his military equipment provided; and likewise, the slave is supplied with everything needful for the adequate discharge of all his duties. Whatever He tells us to do, we can do - "If . . . God command thee . . . thou shalt be able to . . ." Exodus 18:23 - because all supplies are at our disposal. And as Paul records, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for thee". (Ibid) Regarding the setting free of slaves in Paul's day, Deissmann records the following custom which has clear parallels with Paul's teaching on saints as bondslaves of Christ... Among the various ways in which the manumission of a slave could take place by ancient law we find the solemn rite of fictitious purchase of the slave by some divinity. The owner comes with the slave to the temple, sells him there to the god, and receives the purchase money from the temple treasury, the slave having previously paid it in there out of his savings. The slave is now the property of the god; not, however, a slave of the temple, but a protégé of the god. Against all the world, especially his former master, he is a completely free man; at the utmost a few pious obligations to his old master are imposed upon him. The rite takes place before witnesses; a record is taken, and often perpetuated on stone. (Deissmann, A., & Strachan, L. R. M. Light from the Ancient East the New Testament illustrated by recently discovered texts of the Graeco-Roman world. Pager 326. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 1910). Dr Wayne Barber has an excellent practical explanation of the significance of a bondservant asking the practical question... "Why do you serve the Lord Jesus Christ? "Well, I had better. God will kill me if I don’t." You know, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have that mentality. It is as if God has a big club and if you don’t do what He wants you to do, then He will hit you over the head with it. Yet God says, "Wait a minute. I have set you free. You are free now to be what you ought to be. Make up your mind. No man can serve two masters." The person who has any sense at all will say, "Lord, You have overwhelmed me. I am making a choice out of love for You to be Your slave. I know I am no longer Your slave, but I choose to be Your slave." Do you want to be used by the Lord? Come to the place in your life that you are willing to say, "God, it doesn’t matter what You tell me to do, I am willing to be submissive to Your will." When you come to that place, God will do things through you like He did through Paul. One picture of that is beautiful, and it is found in Deut 15:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17: If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. And when you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. And it shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And also you shall do likewise to your maidservant. (Cp Ex 21:2, 3, 4, 5,6) (Related resources - see Spurgeon's sermon - Ears Bored to the Door Post; see Devotional by F B Meyer) What a gorgeous picture. Slavery in that day and time was nothing like we know today. The slaves had to be treated as if they were your own children in your own family. You had to treat them with dignity and integrity. After they had served you for a period of time, you had to set them free. But the beautiful picture here is of a slave. He served a master for seven years. The master has loved him, provided for him, been kind to him, helped him, all the things that you would look for. Now the day comes that he has been set free. He is given of the flock, given of the threshing floor, given of the wine vat. This servant stands there, and he says, "You know, I have been so cared for during the seven years that I have worked with you, where would I go? I don’t know where I am going to go. Nobody would love me like you have loved me. Nobody would do for me what you have done for me. Why, I am going to choose to be your slave. I know you have set me free, but because of who you are and because of my love for you, I want to continue to be your slave. I want to do for you not because I have to but because I just want to." What a gorgeous picture. They had a public ceremony and they would take that little instrument and put it up by their ear and drive it through the ear into the door, leaving a hole in the ear. What a gorgeous picture when you see this slave walking alongside his master, smiling. You would see that man and you knew he had been with him seven years, maybe it is three years down the road past that seven years and you say, "Isn’t that wonderful! That man was set free and now that man has chosen to serve out of love for his master." Man looks on the outside. God looks at our heart. Why are you serving the Lord Jesus? If you don’t love Him, if you haven’t understood that nobody else will ever treat you like Jesus, then no wonder you are not being used of the Lord in the task He has assigned to His church. A man that God can use is a person who is willing to bow, a person who is willing to say, "God, I just want what You want in my life." ...God is waiting on us to love Him and to bow before Him and to make conscious choices. "God, you have given me everything. If I left you, where would I go? Lord, I want to serve you. No man can serve two masters. I want to serve You. I want to be usable in the kingdom of God." That is the Apostle Paul. He was a man who was willing, sold out to the will of God." (Click for additional notes by Dr. Barber on "bondservant) Harry Ironside wrote that Paul... "does not mean however that his was a service of bondage. Rather he served in the whole-hearted obedience of one who realized that he had been "bought with a price," even the precious blood of Christ. There is a story told of an African slave whose master was about to slay him with a spear when a chivalrous British traveler thrust out his arm to ward off the blow, and it was pierced by the cruel weapon. As the blood spurted out he demanded the person of the slave, saying he had bought him by his suffering. To this the former master ruefully agreed. As the latter walked away, the slave threw himself at the feet of his deliverer exclaiming, "The blood-bought is now the slave of the son of pity. He will serve him faithfully." And he insisted on accompanying his generous deliverer, and took delight in waiting upon him in every possible way. Thus had Paul, thus has each redeemed one, become the bondman of Jesus Christ. We have been set free to serve, and may well exclaim with the Psalmist (Ps 116:16). A businessman once asked his Bible study group, “How can you tell if you have a servant attitude?” The reply came back... “By the way you react when you are treated like one.” It’s not easy to find an attitude like that. But for a disciple, servant-hood is one of the keys to growing in Christ-likeness. Describing His own ministry, Jesus said: “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark10:45) When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His Lordship will be expressed in the way we serve others. Therefore, one of the best ways we can demonstrate our love for God is by showing love for our fellow man. We demonstrate love for others by helping them, by sharing their problems, and by doing what we can for them. Why should we serve? For Jesus’ sake. 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