"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the Gospel of God."
Text: Romans 1:1
REGARD FOR THE APOSTLE PAUL
Many students of the Scriptures stand in awe of the apostle Paul! Few lives would prove as inspirational as his. His ministry, as recorded in the Book of Acts, is astonishing, to say the least, The writings that he left behind continue to be studied avidly by Bible scholars till today. Some may disagree with his teachings, while others will rise to his defence. However, all have the highest regard for the man and his outstanding life and ministry.
PAUL’S REGARD OF HIMSELF
It is amazing to note how Paul saw himself. If he were to be asked to give one word to describe himself, that word would probably be “bondservant”. It is with this thought that he began his letter to the Romans! No matter what else Paul became in life and ministry, he would always see himself as “a bondservant of Jesus Christ”.
WHAT IS A BONDSERVANT?
It is fascinating to study why Paul called Himself “a bondservant” (“doulos”).
1. Generic (Lexical) idea
a) A doulos is quite simply “a slave”.
b) Slaves were all too common in the Roman Empire.
c) Socially, they were at the bottom of the Roman societal hierarchy.
2. Theological idea
Why then would Paul think of himself as a bondslave of Jesus Christ? At the risk of getting ahead of our reading of Romans, we may venture the following thoughts:-
a) Paul saw himself as a slave to sin once (Cf. Romans 6:17).
b) Through experiencing salvation, he now saw himself as redeemed from sin.
c) With great gladness he yielded himself as a slave of his Savior (Cf. Romans 6:19).
3. An ancient theological perspective
a) All who served God (as prophets, priests or kings) were called “servants of the Lord”.
b) Paul considered it a great honor to simply be called “a bondservant” too- but of the Lord Jesus Christ!