Work done for other people or for God and the worship of God. Jacob worked for Laban seven years for each of his wives (Gen 29:15-30). Service could be slave labor (Exod 5:11; Lev 25:39; 1 Kings 12:4; Isa 14:3 cp Lam 1:3), farm work (1 Chron 27:26), or daily labor on the job (Psa 104:23). It could be service of earthly kingdoms (2 Chron 12:8; cp 1 Chron 26:30), of God’s place of worship (Exod 20:16; cp Num 4:47; 1 Chron 23:24), of God’s ministers (Ezra 8:20), and of God (Josh 22:27). Not only people do service; God also done service (Isa 28:21). Even righteousness has a service (Isa 32:17).

Service at its best is worship. This involves the service of temple vessel (1 Chron 9:28), of worship actions (2 Chron 35:10; cp Exod 12:25-26), of bringing offerings (Josh 22:27), of priestly work (Num 8:11). Interestingly, the OT never ascribes service to other gods.

The NT similarly speaks of forced service (Matt 27:32), sacrificial living (Rom 12:1; Phil 2:17 with a play on words also indicating an offering), slave labor done for Christ’s sake (Eph 6:7; Col 3:22; cp Phil 2:30), worship (Rom 9:4; Heb 12:28), offerings (Rom 15:31; 2 Cor 9:12), and personal ministry (Rom 12:7; 1 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim 4:11). Hebrews 1:14 talks of the ministry of angels. Being in an army is also service (2 Tim 2:4), and those who persecute Christ’s followers think they do service for God (John 16:2).

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