Paul, Servant and Apostle (Romans 1:1)

Reading Acts

Paul describe himself with three “titles” in Romans 1:1. First, he is a a servant of Christ Jesus. The term “servant of Christ Jesus” should be understood in terms of Old Testament background rather than Greek/Roman culture (Cranfield, 50).  On the other hand, James Dunn sees Paul drawing on his Jewish background in the phrase “servant of Christ Jesus.” Dunn suggests Paul has Isaiah 49:1-7 in mind here, since Jews naturally saw themselves as servants of God (Dunn, 6).

Paul in Prison RembrandtSecond, Paul as called to be an apostle. The noun κλητός refers to an invitation, but here it has the sense of a “divine calling.”  Paul’s divine appointment, however, is not simply to be a Christian, but to be an Apostle. This is a special commissioning that only was given to a few who were witnesses of the resurrection, and therefore carried a special authority. To be an apostle is…

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