This weekend we celebrated Good Friday (in remembrance of Christ’s death) and Easter (in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection). Jesus Christ came to earth as God’s Son was to serve as a “slave” or “servant” on behalf of the people of the earth. But, what does it mean that Christ was a “slave” or “servant”? How could God incarnate as human be a “slave” or “servant”?
The word that will be examined in this word study is slave used in Phil 2:7, “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form” (New Living Translation). In section 1 I will review the word used in other English translations as well as provide a definition of the word slave. In section two I will provide the meaning of the Greek word, δουλος, which is often translated as slave. In section three I will provide some conclusions on slave in Phil 2:7.
Photo Credit: Norditalienischer Maler
I. OTHER TRANSLATION OF PHIL 2:7 AND A DEFINITION OF SLAVE
A. Other Translations of Phil 2:7
It appears that most translations chose the word servant (ten translations) to describe the role Jesus took on earth, the word slave (seven times), and bondservant (twice). Another observation is that some of the “literal” translations used servant (ASV, ESV) while the “dynamic” translations used slave (NET, NLT, Message).