From Bible Hub: “Definition of Doulos”
1401 doúlos (a masculine noun of uncertain derivation) – properly, someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos (“bond-slave”) is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers. – Source
The word ‘Bond Slave’ has been in some of the sermons that I have been listening to recently; and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write on this topic. The day I told my husband about the title for my next article, which is the Greek word ‘Doulos’ for Bond Slave, is the same day we read about it in our Charles Spurgeon Study Bible in Exodus for our nightly reading. We were like, “Wow, this is exactly what we were just talking about!” So, here goes.
Awhile back I learned that Doulos (Bond Slave) Biblically means a Servant or Slave who has the option to go free from their Master but instead chooses to permanently stay. This person shows their devotion by going to the door post of the house and by boring their ear through with an aul, stating that they will serve their Master forever. This Doulos (Servant) chooses to willingly stay from now on and serve because they are devoted to their Master!
The Spurgeon Study Bible Verse and Notes Exodus 21:5-6
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.”
21:6 “and he shall serve him for ever.”
“Genuine Christians have had their ears bored. That is to say, they are such Christians that they could not be anything else. And when they have their choice – and they do have it every day, for temptation gives them many opportunities – they will not go out but are obliged to remain the servants of God. One of the awls with which God has bored their ears is past mercies. Forsake the Lord Jesus Christ? How can I? He loved me. He bought me. Some of us were in great distress, and Christ gave us peace. We were ready to destroy ourselves, and he gave us joy and liberty. And since that day he has led us into green pastures and beside still waters. He has supplied us night and day. We cannot leave him. I think our ears are also bored by a sense of our present helplessness. Leave him? Ah, but where to? We cannot do without him.”
Additional Spurgeon Side Note: “Do without Christ? We may as well tell the helpless baby that is hanging on its mother’s breast to leave its mother. And we are more helpless than that infant; nothing but death lies before us if we leave him. Then there is a third awl. Leave him? How can we when we think about the future? We expect between now and getting to heaven a great many storms – and what could we do without the Captain and Pilot of souls? We know there are many giants to fight and dragons to kill – and what could we do without our soul’s Bodyguard to be our champion and protector? Many arrows are flying, and what could we do without our Shield? The past, the present, and the future are all like sharp awls to bore right through our ears and fasten us to Christ.” – Charles Spurgeon
Just like the words of the “Prince of Preachers,” I feel the exact same way. “Leave Jesus? Where would I go without Christ? I cannot live or do without Him!” Therefore, I lovingly and willingly choose to be a Doulos (Bond Slave), and bore my ear to Christ and stay by His side and serve Him forever! It is an honor and a privilege to be His Servant; and I am grateful, thankful, and blessed to do so!
From Gotquestions.org: “What is a Bondservant?”
Many prominent men of the Old Testament were referred to as servants. God spoke of Abraham as His servant (Genesis 26:24; Numbers 12:7). Joshua is called the servant of the Lord (Joshua 24:29), as are David (2 Samuel 7:5) and Isaiah (Isaiah 20:3). Even the Messiah is called God’s Servant (Isaiah 53:11). In all of these instances, the term servant carries the idea of humble nobility. Being God’s servant is an honorable position.
Historical records reveal that it was not unusual for Jews to own slaves during the New Testament period. Because slavery was a familiar part of the culture, Jesus sometimes referred to slaves and owners in His parables (e.g., Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 12:41-48). Also, Jesus taught that the greatest in God’s kingdom would have to become “the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Such a concept was unthinkable to a Roman citizen, who prided himself in his freedom and would never identify himself as a bondservant. But Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), and the selfish values of earth are of no consequence in heaven.
Throughout the New Testament, the word bondservant, slave, or servant is applied metaphorically to someone absolutely devoted to Jesus. Paul, Timothy, James, Peter, and Jude all describe themselves as “bondservants of Christ” (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1, NKJV).
Believers today should still consider themselves bondservants or slaves of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; 2 Timothy 2:24). He is our Lord, and our allegiance is due to Him alone. As bondservants, we renounce other masters (Matthew 6:24) and give ourselves totally to Him (Matthew 16:24).
Being a bondservant of Christ is not drudgery. His “burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Also, we have this promise: “Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22). – Source
When we finally get HOME and see our Master (King Jesus) face to face, do we know or remember what He will say to us?! The Bible tells us that He will say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Enter thou into the Joy of the Lord!”
Bottom line for the Doulos, let us be found faithful and pleasing unto the Lord, for it is the least we can do! Until our Homecoming… Maranatha!
Matthew 25:21 “His LORD said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy LORD.
Until next time… Maranatha! (JESUS = WAY, TRUTH, LIFE)