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Should Christians think of themselves as ‘servants’

Some Christians today believe that it is unhelpful to think of themselves as servants and categorically wrong to think of themselves as unworthy servants. There are passages that seem to support this view. However, a quick survey of the New Testament will show unequivocally how we should think of ourselves – as ‘bondservants of Jesus Christ’.

Jesus commands us to call ourselves servants

Luk 17:10 NKJV  So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ “

The Apostles thought of themselves as servants of God


Rom 1:1 NKJV  Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God

Gal 1:10 NKJV  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Php 1:1 NKJV  Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Tit 1:1 NKJV  Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,


Jas 1:1 NKJV  James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.


Act 4:29 NKJV  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

2Pe 1:1 NKJV  Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:


Jud 1:1 NKJV  Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:


Rev 1:1 NKJV  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

The Apostles refers to other Christians as servants

1Co 7:22 NKJV  For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.

Col 4:12 NKJV  Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

2Ti 2:24 NKJV  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

God describes prophets as servants

Rev 10:7 NKJV  but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

God refers to saints as servants

Rev 2:20 NKJV  Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

Rev 7:3 NKJV  saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Rev 11:18 NKJV  The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Rev 19:5 NKJV  Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”

Rev 22:3 NKJV  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

Rev 22:6 NKJV  Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

We should think of ourselves as servants to each other

2Co 4:5 NKJV  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

The parables refer to believers as servants

Mat 25:19 NKJV  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

Mar 13:34 NKJV  It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

Luk 12:37 NKJV  Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.

Luk 19:15 NKJV  “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.


Jesus does not call us servants

The following verse explicitly states that Jesus does not call us ‘servants’ but ‘friends’.

Joh 15:15 ESV No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

However, the preceding verse gives clarifies what sort of friendship that is…

Joh 15:14 ESV You are my friends if you do what I command you.

So, in Jesus’ mind, a friend is someone who obeys like a servant! I think the correct understanding of John 15:15 is that we are no longer servants only – we are also friends.

In support of this view we find Jesus calling His disciples ‘servants’ just a few verses later.

Joh 15:20 NKJV  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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