On Being the Lord’s Slave…

In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul instructs Timothy (and the Church) to cleanse themselves of dishonor, so that they may be used as vessels of righteousness.

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:22-26

The word used their for servant is not διάκονος (where we get our newly defined word Deacon) but instead it is the word δουλος (lit. slave or bond-servant). To put it into perspective it is the same word Paul uses in Romans 1:1 when he writes, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” There are numerous other examples in scripture where this word is used to refer to Christians and 2 Timothy 2:22-26 is no exception.

So, is Paul telling us that all Christians should:

  1. not be quarrelsome?
  2. be kind to everyone?
  3. be able to teach?
  4. patiently endure evil?
  5. gently correct (even our opponents)?

I think so.

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  1. Lew,

    I also think this refers to all believers. I recently studied and taught from this passage. I think that Paul sets up a metaphor for God as the master of the household and us as the slaves of the household. I think he sets up this metaphor in 2 Tim 2:19. He comes back to the metaphor in 2:20, 21, and 24. Notice, then, at the end of the passage in 2:26, it is amazing that a false master has come in to direct the affairs of the slaves of the real master.

    I don’t know if this makes sense, but I tried to explain it in as little space as possible.


  2. Lew & Alan –

    Can you guys come over and read the Greek Bible to me? I am learning so much from reading both of your blogs. I am dying to learn Greek, but I just don’t have the time right now between homeschooling, taking care of a 15 month old, being a wife and ministry.

    Thanks for posting this, Lew! I agree with you that it’s re: all believers.


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