Holman Bible Dictionary
Work done for other people or for God and the worship of God. Jacob worked for Laban seven years for each of his wives (Genesis 29:15-30 ). Service could be slave labor (Exodus 5:11 ; Leviticus 25:39 ; 1 Kings 12:4 ; Isaiah 14:3 ; compare Lamentations 1:3 ), farm work (1 Chronicles 27:26 ), or daily labor on the job (Psalm 104:23 ). It could be service of earthly kingdoms (2 Chronicles 12:8 ; compare 1 Chronicles 26:30 ), of God's place of worship (Exodus 30:16 ; compare Numbers 4:47 ; 1 Chronicles 23:24 ), of God's ministers (Ezra 8:20 ), and of God (Joshua 22:27 ). Not only people do service; God also does service (Isaiah 28:21 ). Even righteousness has a service (Isaiah 32:17 ).
Service at its best is worship. This involves the service of Temple vessels (1 Chronicles 9:28 ), of worship actions (2 Chronicles 35:10 ; compare Exodus 12:25-26 ), of bringing offerings (Joshua 22:27 ), of priestly work (Numbers 8:11 ). Interestingly, the Old Testament never ascribes service to other gods.
The New Testament similarly speaks of forced service (Matthew 27:32 ), sacrificial living (Romans 12:1 ; Philippians 2:17 with a play on words also indicating an offering), slave labor done for Christ's sake ( Ephesians 6:7 ; Colossians 3:22 ; compare Philippians 2:30 ), worship (Romans 9:4 ; Hebrews 12:28 ), offerings (Romans 15:31 ; 2 Corinthians 9:12 ), and personal ministry (Romans 12:7 ; 1 Timothy 1:12 ; 2 Timothy 4:11 ). Hebrews 1:14 talks of the ministry of angels. Being in an army is also service ( 2 Timothy 2:4 ), and those who persecute Christ's followers think they do service for God (John 16:2 ).
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