The words that need attention:
servant [ δοῦλος] is better translated slave than servant. To dig on this word look at ISBE where it gives you eight pages of comment. So often we consider ourselves “servants of the Lord” with the implicit sense that we are doing a mighty work for Him and we are privileged. Little realising that while that is true we are actually bonded servants. Those who have been bought with a price and little more than slaves ready to do the Master’s bidding. I will never forget Jackie Pullinger telling us at Bible College that she had many come to her centre in the Walled City of Kowloon looking for a ministry. They wanted to preach and save the lost and raise the dead. She would ask them to clean the toilets to test them. She said many people want a ministry but few are interested in being a slave.
set apart [ἀφωρισμένος] set apart, separated, appointed all with a view to specializing or being limited only to that activity.
gospel [εὐαγγέλιον] (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, tó euaggélion): The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which meant “the story concerning God.” In the New Testament the Greek word euaggelion, means “good news.” It proclaims tidings of deliverance. The word sometimes stands for the record of the life of our Lord (Mar_1:1), embracing all His teachings, as in Act_20:24. But the word “gospel” now has a peculiar use, and describes primarily the message which Christianity announces. “Good news” is its significance. It means a gift from God. It is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and sonship with God restored through Christ. It means remission of sins and reconciliation with God. The Gospel is not only a message of salvation, but also the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works
apostle [ἀπόστολος] a-pos´’l (ἀπόστολος, [@apóstolos, literally, “one sent forth,” an envoy, missionary): In earlier classical Greek there was a distinction between an ággelos or messenger and an apostolos, who was not a mere messenger, but a delegate or representative of the person who sent him. In the later Judaism, again, apostoloi were envoys sent out by the patriarchate in Jerusalem to collect the sacred tribute from the Jews of the Dispersion. The Christian origin of a term came to have its own distinctive Christian meaning. It is basically a sent one or emissary. The best fit for today’s modern role is the missionary. But I guess included in that would be the church planter too. The most important element is that they are sent or commissioned by God.
promised beforehand [προεπηγγείλατο] to announce or promise something before the event.
spirit of holiness The only reference in the NT – unique and pregnant with meaning. Is the expression merely a substitute for the Holy Spirit or is it a reference to the spirit of holiness that was upon Jesus and thus enabled him to be the sin bearer? Lots to ponder on that one and I don’t have it all figured out yet.
called [κλητοῖς] – invited, appointed, called
holy / saints, [ἁγίοις] – saints, holy, pure, moral, sacred, blameless, consecrated.
grace [χάρις] – read the 5 pages of comment under ISBE in E-Sword to get an idea of the summary of usage of this word. Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has much more if you really want to the full picture.
peace [εἰρήνη] – but what is really meant is shalom [שׁלום] – read the 2 pages of comment under ISBE in E-Sword to get an idea of the summary of the meaning of this word. See Kittel also for the fullest picture (18 pages). Not everyone has Kittel to refer to. It comes in 10 volumes and is the most comprehensive coverage of word usage there is available. I hope one day it will be available through E-Sword.
Ian’s note: what Paul is doing here is combining the standard Greek close (Grace) with the standard Hebrew close (Peace) resulting in a new Christian hybrid. One which combines the richness and fullness of both Greek and Hebrew blessing words. Very deep and very significant. Go check them out for yourself.
Do you have a problem with being called a Saint or calling others Saints? How do you cope with the concept of you being “holy” and a “saint”? Who is calling the Roman Christians “saints”? Paul or someone else? NO, in fact it is God who calls them saints or holy. God calls you a ‘saint’ – you wouldn’t; other people don’t. That is in fact what the book of Romans is all about. How do sinners get to be called saints?
Note the detail of how the translations handle this element.
- (ASV) called to be saints: (the “to be” being grayed out like that and italicised indicates that words are not actually in the text) – an interesting way of handling a text pregnant with meaning and controversy.
- (BBE) marked out as saints:
- (CEV) chosen you to be his very own people.
- (CJB) who have been called,
- (ERV) chosen to be his holy people.
- (ESV) called to be saints:
- (GNB) called to be his own people:
- (GW) called to be his holy people.
- (ISV) called to be holy.
- (JUB) called to be saints;
- (KJV) called to be saints:
- (LITV) called-out saints:
- (MKJV) called to be saints.
- (MSG) And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah. Omits called saints completely.
- (NLT) called to be his own holy people.
- (RV) called to be saints:
- (TLV) called to be kedoshim:
- (TS2009) called, set-apart ones:
And many more depending how many translations you have loaded, all available through the <<Compare>> button in E-Sword.
God will never make you more holy than you want to be.Ian Vail