Skip to content

So you think you can serve?

From the Sola Panel:

I’ve just read through the Apostle Paul’s letters and noted all the words he uses to describe his ministry. It’s a fascinating and humbling list.

Paul calls himself: apostle, servant, minister, preacher, master builder, from the tribe of Benjamin, prisoner, teacher, Hebrew, aroma, Jew, Israelite, temple servant, from the circumcision, manager, nobody, debtor, father, ambassador, vessel, the least of all saints, seed of Abraham and assistant. He also likens himself to a messenger, farmer, miscarriage, shepherd and mother.

God, Christ and the Holy Spirit assign or enable Paul’s ministry by loving, revealing, sending, guaranteeing, setting apart, confirming, making known, displaying, giving, giving over, approving, strengthening, showing mercy, accomplishing, working in, considering, willing, leading in triumphal procession, opening doors, making sufficient, calling, comforting, leading, laying upon, speaking in, receiving, shining, assigning, appearing, standing by, entrusting, filling, rescuing, dwelling, compelling, commending, certifying, commanding, setting, publicizing, anointing, guarding and graciously giving to Paul.

Paul describes his ministry as taking captive, a necessity, a defence, apostleship, pleasing, betrothing, confirmation, begetting, making known, a new covenant, administration, ministry, teaching, imparting, handing over, service, an athletic course, authority, working, evangelism, seeking, death, laying a foundation, treasure, priestly duty, destruction, assignment, fruit, announcement, gaining, preaching, speaking, worshipping, temple service, testimony, admonition, building, management, presentation, convincing, fulfiling, enrichment, nourishment, ambassadorship, offering, sowing, a battle, fighting, saving, guarding, running, being a prime example, publishing, planting, illumination, grace, and a gift of God.

Paul likens his ministry to those who struggle, compete, thresh, plow, contend, focus on the altar, toil, box, run, plant and cherish.

Paul describes his message as truth, revelation, how to please God, knowledge, teaching, glory, commands, promise, gospel, reconciliation, healthy, testimony, secret, fragrance, instruction, tradition, how to walk, faith, wealth, enlightenment and God’s word.

As he performs his ministry, Paul acts with love, holiness, sincerity, truth, blamelessness, genuineness, uprightness, knowledge, righteousness, glory, power, purity, freedom, hope, desire, energy, hard work, determination, madness, authority, life, readiness, worthiness, tears, speech, patience, foolishness, yearning, weapons, devotion, confidence, boldness, gentleness, abundance, faith, spirit, purpose, respect, a rod, speech, his flesh, signs, wonders, wisdom, prudence, compassion, conscience, his body, discipline, fear, assurance, joy and kindness, sharing his life, not being burdensome, being renewed, overflowing, enslaving his body, imitating Christ.

Paul also struggles, despairs, weeps, spends, thirsts, works, forfeits, dies, toils, hungers, suffers, journeys, burns, groans, trembles, escapes, fears and fills up the lack in Christ’s affliction; he is bound, destroyed, perplexed, weak, homeless, ignorant, sleepless, exposed, persecuted, afflicted, slandered, unpaid, cast down, treated as the dregs, treated as scum, treated as deceitful, boxed, thwarted, hindered, abandoned, stoned, torn away, seized, beaten, poor, adrift at sea, offered as a libation, branded, turned away, distressed, humbled, flogged, abused; he endures riots, chains, pressure, prison, responsibility, danger, the lion’s mouth, discipline, trouble, dishonour, need, cold and birth pains.

In the course of his ministry, Paul commends, asks, hears, curses, endures, opposes, receives, eagerly expects, defends, doubts, sends, gives opportunities, speaks foolishly, baptizes, sees, wishes, knows, gives opinions, informs, bows his knee, writes, prays, shows, commands, punishes, pursues, is content, approves, enters, strains forward, hopes, gives thanks, lives, courts favour, seeks after, considers, marvels, reaps, visits, opens his heart wide, boasts, cuts down, judges, forgets, speaks, blesses, considers, grieves, learns, testifies, solemnly charges, calls witnesses, regrets, remembers, reminds, conforms, supposes, knows, puts under oath, gives instructions, comforts, appeals, encourages, convinces, has confidence, walks, abounds, believes, fulfils, longs, endeavours, opens his mouth, behaves, understands, commends himself, seals, completes, sets forth, gives an example, spares, fears, thinks and forgives.

Paul’s supporters give to him, pay him, supply his need, administer, are concerned for him, refresh him. They are his brothers and sisters, acceptable, pleasing, useful, an aroma, temple servants, fragrance, a sacrifice, Paul’s partners.

Those who rightly receive Paul’s message are beloved, holy, brothers and sisters, a vineyard, a field, written on his heart, glorious, Jews, Gentiles, from the uncircumcision, elect, Paul’s hope, a letter, workers, co-workers, zealous, in his heart, a blessing, witnesses, imitators, infants, mourners, a building, faithful, a flock, poor, earnest, Paul’s crown, Paul’s certificate, children and Paul’s joy. Paul boasts in them, longs for them and blesses them. They recognize him, receive him, follow his example, obey him, help him, live with him and die with him.

Paul’s rivals are false brothers, masquerading as apostles, false apostles, super apostles, masquerading as ministers of righteousness, ministers of Satan, would-be law teachers, false workers, evil workers, Jews, the mutilation, dogs, from the circumcision, enemies of the cross.

Paul describes the people who work with or for him as beloved, saints, strugglers, brothers and sisters, followers, the Man of God, apostles, kinsmen, genuine, administrators, ministers, servants, workers, pray-ers, comrades, partners, managers, comforters, the circimcision, faithful, fulfilling, labourers, soldiers, children, entrusted, examples, assistants, guards, gifts, kindred spirits, fellow workers, fellow competitors, fellow soldiers, fellow prisoners, fellow sufferers, fellow servants.

Comments on the Sola Panel.
Published inMinistryPaulThe Briefing

House of Windsor Editing Services

Bronwyn Windsor - House of Windsor Editing and Proofreading Services

Are you writing a thesis, book, academic article, resource, theological monograph, or anything else?

Bronwyn Windsor offers professional editing and proofreading services for writers. Press here to find out more: House of Windsor Editing Services

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on UnsplashWhat’s wrong with the world? Is there hope? (Ephesians)
    Guilt, weakness, spiritual slavery, prejudice, arrogance, tribalism, conflict, war, victimhood, persecution, pain, suffering, futility, ignorance, lying, deceit, anger, theft, greed, pornography, sexual sin, darkness, fear, drunkenness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, workplace abuse, spiritual powers... In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says many things about the problems we face in this world. He also gives us wonderful reasons to find life, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Along the way, he provides practical teachings about how to respond and live together.
  • What does Ephesians say about reconciliation?
    We humans are not very good at living up close with others. This is especially true when we have a history of conflict with those others. Reconciliation isn't easy. No matter how much you might want healing, it’s hardly ever a matter of just everybody getting on and pretending the hurts didn’t happen. In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he says some very important, fundamental things about peace and reconciliation, and gives many other very practical teachings about how to live together in light of these truths.
  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on EphesiansLift Your Eyes – How it works
    Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians. Here's a video where I explain how the free online resource works.
  • Review: The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman
    I need to understand the people around me, so I can live for the gospel among them and speak the gospel to them. To do that, I need to understand the people around me. That's where Carl Trueman's book is so incredibly valuable.
  • What does Ephesians say about church?
    There are so many ideas about what the church is should be. How do we navigate them all? Here are ten key reflections from Ephesians.
  • Reading Ephesians & Colossians After Supersessionism (Cover image)Supersessionism and the New Perspective
    Here are my views on the issue of the New Perspective and Supersessionism, in light of a debate in the Harvard Theological Review.
  • The powerful Christian life: according to Ephesians
    What do we do when we feel weak in the face of powerful people? Here are seven key reflections on power from Ephesians.
  • Liturgy Song – Moore College Revue 2020
    Here's a tribute to our online chapel experience in mid-2020 at Moore College, in the full spirit of parody. I wrote it for our Moore College Revue, and had much fun performing it with Jordan Smith and Monique New.
  • My grandfather’s part in a WWII mission over Modane
    A journey of discovery of some of my family history. My maternal grandfather, Allan Fisher DFC, flew a mission over a rail yard in Modane.
  • Youth praying, Finchale PrioryWhat can we learn about prayer from Ephesians?
    Prayer: What are you doing when you pray? Who are you praying to? Why does it matter? Here are three reflections on prayer from my series on Paul's letter to the Ephesians. #liftyoureyes

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor