Slave or freeman (1 Cor. 7:22)

“He who was called

In the Lord

As a slave

Is a free man

Of the Lord.

Likewise,

He who was free

When called

Is a slave of Christ.”

ὁ γὰρ ἐν Κυρίῳ κληθεὶς δοῦλος ἀπελεύθερος Κυρίου ἐστίν· ὁμοίως ὁ ἐλεύθερος κληθεὶς δοῦλός ἐστιν Χριστοῦ.

Paul said that he who was called (κληθεὶς) in the Lord (ὁ γὰρ ἐν Κυρίῳ) as a slave (δοῦλος) is a freedman (ἀπελεύθερος) of the Lord (Κυρίου ἐστίν).  Likewise (ὁμοίως), he who was free (ὁ ἐλεύθερος) when called (κληθεὶς) is a slave of Christ (δοῦλός ἐστιν Χριστοῦ).  Only the Pauline letters used this word ἀπελεύθερος, that means freed away, a freedman, manumitted by his master.  Thus, the slave who was called to be a follower of Jesus Christ still remains a physical slave to his former master, but he is actually a free man in the sight of the Lord.  On the other hand, those who were free man when they heard the call to follow Jesus Christ are now slaves of Christ.  Their spiritual lives were more important than their physical lives.  Paul used the concept of freedom and slavery to show that physical slavery and freedom had nothing to do with whether one was a follower of Jesus Christ.  Were there slaves who were followers of Jesus Christ?

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