What it Means to be Saved

A look at the important religious word saved from a historical literary perspective.

Saved in the English contemporary language has many nuances and evokes powerful emotions. In Evangelical circles, this word is the basis for religious conversion. It is a required action to get into heaven while others see it as an archaic and outdated term that religious people fervently force on contemporary society. Many more have taken religion right out of the definition and use it for referring to the saving of data.

There are many accounts of the word saved throughout the New Testament. In this case, I have restricted the word saved as it relates to when Jesus often said, “Your faith has made you well.” The word saved doesn’t seem apparent here, but it exists in the original Greek. The Greek here, σέσωκέν sesōken can mean saved or made well. This difference between selecting made well and saved by the translator shows that the meaning has a much wider semantic range than supposed and begs a re-evaluation. What did the Greek verb, σῴζω sōzō, historically mean to the ancient writers and how can we apply it today?

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