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on the meaning of “saved” and the meaning of “sozo.”
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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.
Remember 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.