I recently received a copy of Slave by John MacArthur to review. I requested this book because it intrigued me in regards to the thought that Bible translators through the years have totally mistranslated a key word, mainly used in the New Testament. The word that is mistranslated, according to John MacArthur is the Greek word doulos which translated means slave. Most translators end up using the word servant instead (this includes the KJV and even the Geneva Bible).
I know a few words in Greek. I actually do know the word doulos as I aspire to one day become a doula, which means slave in the Greek from my reading (BTW, a doula is a woman who supports another woman in labor and postpartum with teaching in preperation for a birth, coaching during a birth and then afterwards in instructing in newborn care, and making sure the mother is getting the care and rest she needs to properly recover) about it. However, I do not know enough Greek to read the New Testament in it’s original language. Perhaps someday I will.
MacArthur takes the premise that the the word has been mistranslated all these years due to a large part of our perception of the word slave. Which, if you ask the average person on the street what they thought of slavery, I’m sure they would conjure up images of our country’s sordid history of brutality based upon race. However, back in the time of Christ, slavery was totally different. You couldn’t tell who was or wasn’t a slave by sight. In fact, slaves could even be professionals such as teachers and doctors. The context of using the word slave in the New Testament was accepted by the contemporaries of the authors of it. They understood the Roman slave culture because they were a part of it.
As a slave, you live to do the bidding and will of your master. As a Christian, you are to live and do the bidding and will of our Father in heaven. He is our master, and we are to submit totally to His authority. We are to live totally and completely for Him and Him alone. We are His slaves.
MacArthur did an excellent job in explaining what slavery was like in ancient Rome and comparing it to the evils our culture associates with it. He also had plenty of outside sources discussing total submission to Christ through church history. This book is a must read for anyone serious about having Christ be the absolute Lord and Master over their life.
I was given a copy of Slave by John MacArthur from Thomas Nelson Publishing as a part of their BookSneeze Program. All opinions are mine and mine alone and no other compensation was received..