One Who Renders Service

Five Greek words in the NT that speak of one who renders service. Each one has a distinctive meaning in the Greek Language but are translated by the English word “servant”.

DOULOS
This is the most common word for “servant”. This word designated…
• one who was born into his condition of slavery
• one bound to his master as a slave
• one who was in a permanent relationship to his master (only broken by death)
• one whose will was swallowed up in the will of his master
• one who served his master even to the extent of disregarding personal interests

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” (Rom. 1:1)

THERAPON
This word emphasizes a voluntary service that is rendered in a tender and noble way — whether by a freeman or a slave, whether out of a sense of duty or impelled by love. This word also describes the kind of service a physician rendered to someone who was ill.

“Moses was a faithful servant in all God’s house…” (Heb. 3:5)

DIAKONOS
This word refers to one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master. It is translated “minister, servant, deacon.”

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.'” (John 2:5)

OIKETES
This word has the same root as the Greek word for “house” (oikos). It designated a house-servant — one who held closer relations to the family than other slaves.

“When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.” (Acts 10:7, cf. Rom. 14:4)

HUPERETES
The word huperetes is one of the more unusual words for servant in the Greek language. The word huperetetes means under-rower. The word originally referred to a rower on board a trireme or a war-galley. It later came to refer to someone who performed hard labor. Paul used this particular word when he wrote to the Corinthian believers.

“So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God” (1 Cor. 4:1).

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