“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus,…” (Romans 1:1).

Between a culture that prized individual honor and glory, and where one in five persons in Rome was a slave, Paul’s self-identification as a bond-servant, or slave (doulos) is intended to represent himself and his ministry in terms of the title ascribed to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Jonah, David, and the prophets—“servant of the Lord.” Being familiar with slavery, those receiving Paul’s letter would recognize that such persons live under the complete authority of a master and are without exclusive rights. In cultures holding forth individual rights as the greatest good, those who set such aspirations aside, and choose, instead, to be in bondage to Christ, will stand apart as a distinctive people with a distinctive mission.

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