In last week’s sermon I briefly touched upon the Greek word δοῦλος (pronounced doo-los). The word occurs in Phil 1:1. Paul says, “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus.” “Servants” is a translation of the plural form of δοῦλος. As the ESV does, most English translations translate δοῦλος as “servant,” but a more precise translation is “slave.”
The word δοῦλος is an important word in the New Testament. It highlights three essential theological truths.
First, δοῦλος highlights the Lordship of Christ. A δοῦλος, a slave is a subject. Slaves have masters. Slaves are not their own masters. They are ruled by someone else. The Bible states that Christians are ruled by Jesus Christ. He is their Lord. They are his slaves.
Second, δοῦλος highlights Jesus’ atonement. A slave is someone who has been purchased by someone else. They are owned by another. The Bible teaches this same idea regarding Christians. Paul states that Christians “were bought with a price” (1 Cor 6:20). That “price” was Jesus’ life. Christians are slaves to the Master who “obtained” them “with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
Third, δοῦλος highlights proper Christian obedience. Slaves don’t have freedom. They are not free to live any way they want. Their freedoms are restricted by their masters. Christians are the same. “Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe.” Our freedoms, choices, and rights are restricted by Jesus Christ. We are only free to do what he wants.
May we seek nothing else in life but to be a δοῦλος of Jesus Christ.
(For more on this topic, see John F. MacArthur, Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ)