Servant of God

The Servant of God Series is a collection of six narratives. They define what it means to be a servant and suggest some ways to be a servant of God.

The word “servant” in English implies that a person has a choice whether to be a servant and whether to obey orders. Voluntary, options, choices.

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. The words translated as “servant” in English originally meant “slave”. Involuntary, no options, no choices.

Because the word “slave” has so many horribly negative connotations in the modern world, most Bible translators choose servant or bond servant as the words to use.

Whichever English word is used in your Bible, the important point to remember is that God’s people are completed dedicated to him. Voluntary, but complete, obedience. Because they love God, they choose to follow his Word exactly.

share this

What is a Servant?

The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament was written in Greek, many of the people in the New Testament primarily spoke Aramaic (i.e. Jesus and his disciples), and you speak another language (probably English). There is no doubt that there are challenges translating words and concepts between languages. One of the most problematic Biblical words/concepts is “servant.” Since being a servant of God should be a high priority of all Christians, it is crucial to have a good understanding of what that means.

In the Old Testament, there appears to have been little difference between servants and slaves. The master or owner told the servant what to do but was responsible for feeding and caring for the servant. Society wasn’t designed for a servant to have the alternative of going to a different master. Realistically, a servant was as bound to a master as a slave to an owner.

In the Jewish society, at least according to the laws of Moses, it appears a debtor could sell themselves into slavery to pay off a debt. At the end of a specified period of time, the debtor would be released, but if they were married and had children during the serving time, the wife and children stayed with the master. However, at the end of the serving time, the slave could choose to permanently stay a slave IF he loved the master and the family.

Eliezer of Damascus
Primary Scriptures:
Genesis 15:2-3
Story Summary:
The importance of understanding the nature of a servant
Circa 2000 BC