Time for another book review: Slave by John MacArthur. From the book jacket, "As followers of Jesus, we call ourselves "Christians." But the fact is this word appears only three times in the New Testament. So the Bible uses a host of other terms to identify the followers of Jesus...but there is one word used more frequently than any of these. Slave." With that, MacArthur begins a detailed and exhaustive study of the Greek word doulos which, according to him, has been mistranslated in almost every English version. The word is most often translated as "servant." The premise of the book is that that translation misses the point; and more importantly, influences our entire theology about both God and Christianity.
Regular readers of MacArthur's work will once again be engaged by his exhaustive and scrupulous attention to detail, as well as his in depth overview of the slave culture at the time the New Testament was written. Readers who are new to his work might be a bit overwhelmed at first but the information is presented clearly. This isn't a book that is written just for pastors or theologians; it's a book that is written for every Christian. MacArthur labors to help his readers understand the implications of being a slave of Christ rather than simply His servant.
I found this book very informative and very challenging. His premise is a simple one: "To be a Christian is to be a slave to Christ." He understands the controversial nature of this term in our culture but in his direct style, he confronts this head on. He contends that in order to properly understand our relationship with Christ, and our relationship to the Father, we must take on the mantle of a slave. However, I felt that this book could have been several chapters shorter and made the point more clearly. Some chapters feel like they were tacked on at the end, perhaps in an attempt to lengthen the manuscript. They're informative and enjoyable to read, but at times I struggled to see how they fit with the overall theme of the book.
Slave is a challenging book. The truth it contains is as vital as MacArthur presents it to be, and it should benefit anyone who would read it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255