Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God’s slaves.
Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules.
As those who are free, not using your free position as a cover for wrongdoing, but living as the servants of God;
As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil.
as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn There is no main verb in this verse, but it continues the sense of command from v. 13, “be subject…, as free people…not using…but as slaves of God.”
2 tn Traditionally, “servants” or “bondservants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”