Slave by John MacArthur
The subtitle to this book is “The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ”. There is, John MacArthur claims, an important aspect of our relationship with Jesus Christ which has been concealed from the English-speaking world for centuries. From the King James Version to the vast majority of modern translations of the Bible, the Greek word for slave (doulos) has been mistranslated. The word is usually translated “servant” or “bond-servant” which, MacArthur tells us, is a poor substitute for “slave”.
Slavery permeated society in the days of the Early Church and those reading Paul’s letters would completely understand the implications of his claim to be “a slave of Jesus Christ”, a phrase he uses repeatedly in his letters. Today, however, people very rarely talk about their relationship with Jesus in terms of slavery. MacArthur notes, “Slavery is a distasteful concept to modern sensibilities. So we hear that God loves people unconditionally and wants them to be all they want to be.”
In this book, the author carefully examines different aspects of slavery and explains how they reflect our relationship with Christ; he demonstrates that, like slaves, we have been bought with a price, we are not our own and our aim in life should be to please our Master.
As always, John MacArthur gives a very thorough, well-researched exposition and I found the book quite thought-provoking. Although I already knew that “slave” is a more accurate translation of “doulos”, it hadn’t really occurred to me that there was anything particularly significant about the distinction between a servant and a slave. This is well worth a read.