Romans 1:1, “Bond-Servant”

Romans 1:1, “1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”

  • Author:  Romans is a letter written by the Apostle Paul and Paul is someone who grew up hating Christianity, hating the name of Jesus, and would volunteer to hunt down Christians to put them in jail, and kill them if necessary (Acts 8).  In Acts 9 the resurrected Jesus appears to Paul, Paul’s life is radically changed, and Paul spends the rest of his life on earth proclaiming the name of Jesus to Modern Day Turkey and the surrounding regions.
  • Audience:  If you look down to verse 7 you see this letter is written to “the beloved of God in Rome.” These are men and women who in believe in Jesus, living in Rome, and at this point in history Rome is a dynamic city. Rome is where new technology was taking place. Rome is where the most educated and elite would live. Rome is the center of affluence. Rome is New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Austin all rolled into one.

  • Bond-servant of Christ Jesus:  A bond-servant is a slave. It isn’t like the type of slaves we had in American history, but more so an economic slave, and this phrase, “bond-servant” was an Old Testament reference to someone who had served as a slave for 7 years, and then at the end of their 7 years, their debt is paid off, and instead of walking away into freedom they would voluntarily serve their master because their master was so good to them.  It is said that a bond-servant would take an ice-pick and drive the ice pick into the lobe of their ear to the house of their master to symbolize that their ear belonged to their master’s voice, and in verse 1 the Apostle Paul is describing himself as a “voluntarily nailing his ear to Jesus because his ear belonged to his master’s voice.”
  • Illustration:  Paul understood what it meant to be a slave to the world. You can read Philippians 3 and you see Paul grew up wanting to be at the top of his class. Paul grew up wanting to be more committed than anyone else. Paul wanted titles, applause, power, and in Philippians 3 the Apostle Paul looks back on his life and says, “Those things of the world were worthless compared to the good news of Jesus.”

In Jesus Christ the Apostle Paul has found that he no longer had to be a slave to the world that never satisfied. He no longer had to strive to be at the top of his class. He no longer had to live with guilt and condemnation of falling short.

Paul no longer had to live with fear and anxiety of being behind. He no longer had to live with hopelessness that comes with every headline. It is in Jesus Christ that Paul had found good news, a message goodness, provision and power, and he voluntarily nails himself to Jesus.