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What Does the Word “Saved” Really Mean?

I grew up in a traditional Baptist church so I learned very early that to be “saved” meant that I would go to heaven if I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  That was, of course, true.

But it was only after I began to examine the Hebrew and Greek words in scripture, that I learned that “save” meant much, much more than I thought it did.

Let’s begin with an example in the Old Testament, which was written in Hebrew.  Isaiah 35:4 is a passage that contained a prophecy about the Messiah to come.  Jesus even referred to these verses in Matthew 11:4-6.

Isaiah 35:4 says, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.”

In order to examine the word “save” in this verse, I’ll use my Strong’s Concordance.  First, I look under “S” for “save” and then down the list of the books of the Bible for Isaiah 35:4.  I see the reference numbers 3467 and remind myself that I am in the Old Testament, so I must find number 3467 in the HEBREW section in the back of the concordance.

Number 3467 is the Hebrew word “yasha” and it means “to be open, wide or free; to be safe; to free, avenge, defend, deliver, help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring salvation, save, and get victory.”  Wow.  Now the word “save” takes on new meaning.  This isn’t a word that just applies to the distant future when I go to heaven.  It carries power for the here and now.  It promises deliverance for me and rescue for me and victory for me NOW.

And here is something even more interesting.  As I was looking up Hebrew #3467, I happened to see #3444. That word is “yeshuwah” and is taken from #3467. The meaning given for #3444 is “something saved, deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, health, help, salvation, and welfare.” The meaning is almost the same, except you see that health and prosperity has been added.

I’m not sure why #3467 doesn’t have health and prosperity in its meaning as well, since #3444 comes from it.

Greek word sozoRemember that Jesus’ name in Hebrew is Yeshua.  (I’ve spelled His name “Yeshua” although there are various ways to spell it using English letters of the alphabet.)  Jesus’ name means “to save, rescue, preserve, and get victory.”  Every time I use the name of Jesus I proclaim a complete victory in my earthly life as well as the certainty of spending eternity with Him in heaven.

Now let’s find the word “save” in the New Testament.  Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” When I look up “saved,” I see the numbers 4982. I remind myself that I am reading in the New Testament, so I must turn to the GREEK section in the back of the Strong’s.

Number 4982 is the Greek word “sozo” which means “to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, and be made whole.”

Very clearly we see that “sozo” includes healing, doing well, and being made whole.  What I have done is to go down the list of every place in the New Testament where the Greek word “sozo” was translated as “save.”  And in the margin of my Bible I’ve written “heal, do well, make whole.”  Then whenever I read the verse, I say the whole list of meanings rather than just “save.”  I can’t tell you how much this has helped me to grow my faith.

The Holy Spirit has so much to tell us in the precious Word.  It’s never too late to get started digging in deeper and deeper.

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!  Thanks.

Comments (24)

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  1. namhla says:

    The first time I heard the word sozo was in 2010. This has grown in my heart and has helped me in my spiritual journey. Last year I named my son Sozo because of the deeper meaning.

  2. Dave Sherry says:

    In Hebrews 7:24-25 in speaking of JEsus Christ’s eternal priesthood, it says that “He is also able to save to the uppermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Save here is the word ‘sozo.’ To the uttermost in the Greek is very powerful. It means the entire width of all our needs, and out to the very end of our lives. Sozo is salvation for this life now and for eternity! It is a process of coming to Jesus in every need I have, and finding in Him the answer. “For whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be (sozoed) saved, (delivered, protected, provided for, healed, given peace, forgiven.) Romans 10:13

    • Mary Bethell says:

      WOW. this will be a definite help in my discussion with my husband that “.by his stripes I am healed spirit, soul, & BODY. He thinks that the “healing is only spiritual, not the physical body. But “WHOLENESS, completeness. Well-being is EVERYTHING. My body, too!!

  3. Dave Sherry says:

    John 3:17 is a tremendous scripture in lightof the meaning of the word ‘sozo.’ “For God did not send His Son into the world to to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” The word ‘saved’ is from the same Greek word sozo. God’s idea of salvation is complete; body, soul, and spirit. He wants to sozo the world through Jesus Christ.

    • Moderator says:

      Thank you for sharing your revelation on Hebrews 7:24-25 and John 3:17 with us. How magnificent it is when we truly understand what it means for us to be “sozo-ed” by the Lord.

  4. Matt says:

    My pastor said this word was used in a unique way for one of Jesus’ healings. Do you know anything about this? He could not remember specifically , but thought it may have been the cripple at the pool. Our church does sozo prayer healings. I cannot wait to let this wash over my thinking and see how it changes me!

    • Moderator says:

      HI, Matt, Let me look into this, and I’ll get back to you. I don’t know anyone who has received the revelation of “sozo” who has not been profoundly changed. Blessings, Anne

    • Moderator says:

      Hi, Matt, I looked up the account of Jesus and the man at the pool of Bethesda. Your pastor is correct in saying that the word “sozo” does not appear in these verses. There are four primary Greek words that are translated “heal” in English. Two of them appear in John 5:1-16. You have brought up such an excellent point that I am going to write a separate post on the different Greek words in order to explain them a little bit. So stay posted! Blessings, Anne

  5. Wendy Freind says:

    Thank you Anne for your comments. Recently I have been researching the meaning of SOZO and have found your comments most helpful. Salvation includes so much! Praise Jesus.

    • Moderator says:

      Hi, Wendy, please forgive me for responding so late to you. I’m so glad that you found us! Isn’t it wonderful to know about “sozo”? The Word of God means so much more to me now. I used my Strong’s Concordance and went through my Bible to put the full meaning of sozo in the margin of every place where it appears. Now I say the verse in its fullness. Wow! God is SO good to us. Blessings,
      Anne

  6. Sarah says:

    Thank you for taking the time to break this down and share it with us!
    Very well done.

    • Moderator says:

      You are welcome, Sarah. Learning about the word “sozo” made the Word come alive for me, so it is my joy to share that revelation with others.

  7. Danica says:

    Although I plan on using and sharing your site on a regular basis, I just “happened” upon it this morning when I did a search for the Greek meaning of Saved. I knew there had to be so much more to the word than we are being taught today, and in an effort to learn more about the essence of Jesus I also needed to know the word’s original definition. Thank you for taking the time to bring into perspective an undiluted view of the love God has for each and every one of us! I’m blessed already by our new connection!

    • Moderator says:

      Hi, Danica,
      Thanks for your comment. Finding out what “sozo” meant changed my life forever so it is my joy to share this information with others. Every day I learn more and more about God’s Word and continue to be overwhelmingly grateful for the goodness of God.

      I, too, am glad we have made a connection, and I hope you will continue to share your thoughts here at God Wants You to Be Well.

      Many blessings,
      Anne

  8. Robin says:

    Dawn and Brian,

    I, too, was absolutely blessed when realizing ‘sozo’! The magnificant works of our Lord are so powerful and so promising! How can we not shout it from the roottops!

    Blessings to you all. Anne, thanks SO much for sharing the words the Holy Spirit gives to you.

    Robin

    • Moderator says:

      Thanks, Robin, for your kind words. It is my joy to share how much learning about “sozo” has meant to me.
      Blessings,
      Anne

    • Dorenea says:

      A Pastor told me that Romans 101:9 doesn’t mean that we will be saved to go to heaven, we must have the Baptism of the holy spirit, fire baptism and the water baptism… How true is this.

      • Moderator says:

        I have heard some pastors with the same view. However, I believe Romans 10:9 can stand on its own. Water baptism is an outward representation of what has already occurred. Believers are forgiven of their sins when they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, not when they are submerged. Also, most traditional denominations know nothing of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but those believers are still saved. The Lord wants us to have everything in fullness and in abundance. Certainly, embracing all the baptisms is God’s best. Thank you very much for sharing. Many blessings to you.

  9. dawn oliver says:

    Oh wow! I have been trying to find the Hebrew meaning of the word Sozo. Thank you so much – especially for Hebrew meaning and the fact that each time I use the name of Jesus I am proclaiming healing, deliverance, full salvation! Glory! I have posted this on fb for all my friends to read! thank you so much!!

    • Moderator says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Discovering the meaning of “sozo” changed my life forever. Isn’t it exciting?!! I got out my Strong’s Concordance and looked up the words “save” and “saved” and “saves” and found the ones that were “sozo” in the Greek. Then I went through my Bible and wrote the full meaning out in the margin. Now when I read the Word, I see the whole meaning. It makes me jump for joy when I really understand what Jesus has done for me.

      (If you don’t have a Strong’s Concordance, take a look at my posts on the blueletterbible website. You can use it instead. I use blueletterbible a lot, but I still like to have books I can hold and turn the pages! That’s the reason I made my devotional books available in paperback as well as on Kindle and Nook. There is something about turning pages and underlining and writing in the margins that makes a book so personal.)

      Thanks so much for sharing your comments here and for sharing these posts with your friends. My prayer is that this site will be an active place for us to encourage and support each other.

      Many blessings to you,
      Anne

  10. brian says:

    Just what I needed to hear. I have been meditating on healing, fullness, etc. believing I need to change my thinking in order to get rid of negative thinking, depression, and fear. I came across your website and this truth is going to set me free. I too am Baptist and we used the word saved only in the context of being saved from sin and to heaven. This changes everything. Thanks so much.

    • Moderator says:

      Hi, Brian,
      I am delighted you are getting hold of the meaning of “sozo.” It does, indeed, change everything. Please click on the “Healing” category and read those posts, too.

      I’m glad you found us and hope you will continue to share. Blessings, Anne

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