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John MacArthur reveals 'hidden truth' in Bible translation

February 11, 2011 : Mitzi Bible/Liberty University News Service

During Friday’s convocation at Liberty University, John MacArthur revealed a new concept that he says will transform the way Christians view themselves in relationship to God.

The noted pastor, best-selling author and biblical scholar spoke to a packed crowd in the Vines Center about a “tragedy” in Bible translation -- the word “servant” appearing many times when it should be “slave.”

The true meaning was lost in translation, he said, and has remained a “cover-up” since the 16th century.

“This started in 1560 with the Geneva Bible when translators said there’s too much stigma on the word slave [doulos], ‘We can’t call Christians slaves, so let’s call them servants.’ … There’s a big difference … servants are somebody who serves; a slave is somebody who is owned.”

MacArthur outlines what it truly means to be a slave, owned by God, but also a friend and joint heir, in his new book, “Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ.” He met with students and signed copies of his book following the service.

MacArthur last visited Liberty in the 1980s. In an interview after convocation, he said he welcomed the chance to return.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to speak to that many young people,” he said, “not because of the number of them, but because of the potential influence they have, the impact they have.

“For me to be able to help them better understand what it means to be a Christian, to get a grip on that core understanding is really a privilege,” he said.

  • MacArthur is the pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif. He is a well-known conference speaker and the founder and president of The Master’s College and Seminary. His “Grace to You” radio and television programs air more than 1,000 times daily on stations around the world. He is the author of more than 400 books and study materials, starting with his first best-selling book, "The Gospel According to Jesus" (1988). The "MacArthur Study Bible" has been called “the cornerstone resource of his ministry” and is available in several languages.