SPECIAL TOPIC: SERVANT LEADERSHIP

I. In the NT

God's leaders are gifts to the church (Eph. 4:11), but they are still servants, not bosses!  Paul uses several terms to address the idea of servant/minister in the Corinthian letters.

A. domestic help (originally "to raise dust")

1. diakonos, 1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 3:6; 6:4; 11:15 (twice), 23

2. diakonia, 1 Cor. 16:15; 2 Cor. 3:7,8,9 (twice); 4:1; 5:18; 6:3; 8:4; 9:1,13; 11:8

3. dialoneō, 2 Cor. 3:3

B. servant or assistant, hupēretēs (in the NT it is used of many different types of attendants), 1 Cor. 4:1

C. slave (one who is owned and directed by another)

1. doulos, 1 Cor. 7:21,22 (twice), 23; 2 Cor. 4:5

2. douloō, 1 Cor. 9:19

D. co-worker, co-helper (compound of sun + worker), sunergos, 2 Cor. 1:24

E. supplier (originally one who funds a chorus)

1. chorēgeō, 1 Cor. 9:10

2. epichorēgeō, 2 Cor. 9:10

F. minister (used in the Septuagint of Joseph to Potiphar, Joshua to Moses, Samuel to Eli, Abishag to David and of the Levites to Israel (leitourgia, i.e., the general term for service in the Septuagint, 2 Cor. 9:12)

All of these terms show Paul's understanding of ministry.  Believers belong to Christ.  As Christ served others (cf. Mark 10:45), believers serve others (cf. 1 John 3:16).  Church leadership is servant leadership (cf. Matt. 20:20-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 22:24-27).  These arrogant, prideful factions had totally misunderstood the gospel and failed to comprehend the heart and ministry of Jesus!

 

II. In the OT ("My Servant")

This was a title of respect and calling (BDB 713).

A. It was used in a collective sense

1. the Patriarchs as a group – Deut. 9:27

2. the prophets – 2 Kgs. 9:7; 17:13; Ezra 9:11; Jer. 7:25; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15; 44:4

3. Israel – Ps. 105:6; 136:22; Isa. 41:8-9; 42:18-19; 44:1,2,21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3; Jer. 30:10; 46:27,28

4. the Septuagint adds a phrase to Isa. 42:1, which makes it refer to national Israel ("Jacob is my servant, I will help him; Israel is my chosen")

B. It was used in an individual sense

1. Abraham – Gen. 26:24; Ps. 105:6

2. Job – Job 1:8; 2:3; 42:7,8

3. Isaac – Gen. 24:14

4. Jacob – 1 Chr. 16:13; Ps. 105:6; Ezek. 28:25

5. Moses – Exod. 14:31; Num. 12:7-8; Deut. 34:5; Jos. 1:1-2,7,13,15

6. Joshua – Jos. 24:29; Jdgs. 2:8

7. Caleb – Num 14:24

8. David – Ezek. 37:25

9. Zerubbabel – Hag. 2:23

10. Solomon – 1 Kgs. 3:8

11. Isaiah – Isa. 20:3; 44:26

12. Jesus – Matt. 12:15-21 quotes Isa. 42:1-4

 

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