Online Bible Commentary

Romans 1:1

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Note 1 at Romans 1:1: Out of the six Greek words for “servant” used in the New Testament, Paul used one of the most slavish terms possible. The word used in this verse is “DOULOS” and comes from the root word “DEO.” DEO means “to bind” (Strong’s Concordance). So Paul is literally speaking of himself as being a bondman or slave of Jesus Christ–a slave by free choice yet owned and purchased by Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The idea of being a love-slave by choice comes from Old Testament passages such as Exodus 21:2-6 and Deuteronomy 15:12-17. When Israelites bought Hebrew slaves, they had to set them free in the seventh year. However, if the slaves loved their masters and didn’t want to go free, then holes were bored through the lobes of their ears, pronouncing them bond-slaves forever. By the use of this word, Paul was declaring Jesus as his absolute Master yet indicating the idea of his expression of love and free choice to the one whom he served. Note 2 at Romans 1:1: Notice that Paul spoke of his servitude to Christ before he mentioned his apostleship. This reveals Paul’s priorities and humility. These were key factors in his success.

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