Things Paul Wrote About – Reflections on Slaves

The first thing that caught my attention in this study of slaves was that the KJV only used the term once, in the Book of Revelation.  Some research I did revealed that King James’ England was a land with slaves that would have qualified as doulos.  Were the writers of James’ Bible trying to downplay slavery?  I cannot answer that question but it does show that you need to study the things you read, especially the Bible.

The second thing that stood out was that our paradigm of slavery was not condemned and denounced.  Paul clearly spoke against the slave traders but not owners.  The instructions to both the owner and the slave were to do right by the other.  Paul did encourage slaves to gain their freedom, if possible.  Slavery was a complex part of that society.  In the Greco-Roman world it is clear that there were levels of slavery.  In Israel, by Law, you could own foreign slaves and you could have Jewish slaves.  The Jewish slaves were to be freed every seven years, that may not have been obeyed as it is one of the things that brought about the downfall of Judah in the Book of Jeremiah.  To add to this thought a Jew could choose to stay the property of someone by having his ear pierced on the owner’s door frame.

The third thing that is challenging my thoughts is the terms lord and master. Those terms are easy to throw around, but in calling Jesus Lord and Master we are identifying ourselves as His. We are His doulos and need to look to Him as the one who controls ALL aspects of our life.  That is a very deep thought and one that is very easy to downplay. (see Slaves to Righteousness)

Things Paul Wrote About – Slaves to Righteousness

Just as intense as being a slave to sin, we can be slaves to righteousness!  The more we “sell” ourselves to Jesus the more of Him we will want.  And just as we gave into sin, we have to put ourselves into submitted relationship with Jesus.

Jesus will be as gentile as sin was harsh.  He values us just as much as sin could care less about us.  He will use us for good as sin would use us for evil.

The verses below are my attempts at paraphrasing.

Romans 6:18– Because we are slaves to righteousness we are set free from sin. (16) If we are slaves being obedient to God it leads to righteousness.  (22) Now that we are slaves to God we are free from sin and can have the benefits of holiness that lead to eternal life.

Romans 7:25– Because of Jesus my Lord, God delivered me, so I choose to have my mind focused on God’s Law.

Romans 8:15– The Spirit of God does not bring fear but reminds us that we are children of the Father and can call on Him.

Galatians 4:7+8– God made us heirs because He made us His children, so we are no longer slaves to things that are not gods.  (5:1) We need to stand against being tied up by sin, because Christ made us free from things that use to have us all tied up.

1 Corinthians 9:19– Paul choose (sold himself) to be a slave of God, to serve people, so he could win as many as possible to Jesus.  (27) Paul choose to make himself a slave to righteousness and deny himself so he would not disqualify himself from the good things of God.