meaning of "sozo"?

Discussion in 'Exegetical Forum' started by moselle, Nov 25, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. moselle

    moselle Puritan Board Freshman

    I have read recently about the Greek word sozo, which means salvation, as I understand. But the writing indicated that sozo means salvation also in terms of making one whole and complete - spiritually, mentally, and physically - all three of them, all the time. Here are the three verses quoted...

    “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved (sozo).” Romans 10:9

    “But Jesus turning and seeing her said ‘Daughter take courage your faith has made you well (sozo) and at once the woman was made well (sozo).” Matthew 9:22

    “And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well (sozo).” Luke 8:36

    So the implication they make is that when a person is saved, it means they are not only healed "spiritually", but also that salvation means they are given freedom from the curse of sickness. Last time I checked, though, the death rate is still 100%. Can anyone shed some light on this? Is it maybe that "sozo" has different applications in different verses?
  2. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Indeed, salvation includes all of those things. But perhaps not in the sense that many teachers would like to claim it does. We shall truly be saved from all our enemies: death, sickness, sin, etc. That does not mean that they are all gone now, however. Just as Christ was saved from his enemies (even though they killed him, yet did God raise him from the dead and give him glory), so will it be with us. We can say we are saved now because it has already been accomplished in Christ being risen; and yet we still look to the future manifestation of it when we, too, are raised from the dead and our bodies glorified.

    In other words, we will still get sick and still die. But Christ has already had victory over these things, and we will share in that at the resurrection.
  3. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Words (in any language) often have a variety of meanings according to the context. When one studies a particular word in different texts we are able to compile what we call 'semantic range' or the various meanings of a word.

    Thus in order to properly interpret or translate any given word we must take into account its semantic range as well as the immediate context which would indicate to us the meaning with regard to how it is being used there.

    So, in short, one would have to prove that in every instance that 'sozo' is used it refers to physical, mental and spiritual restoration. Otherwise even one contrary example would be proof that it doesn't have to mean that and therefore destroy the argument.

    And though is certainly true that there are instances where 'sozo' refers to physical restoration (as per one of the examples above) there is no indication that it has to refer to that in every single instance. Matthew 1:21 specifically limits salvation to forgiveness of sins as well as many other passages.

    BTW, what evidence did the author present to prove this point?
  4. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    The fact that the word sozo (in its various forms) is used in these verses does not prove the point in contention. In general the word simply means to deliver or be delivered. The context determines the rest. In any case, the verses do not teach that every Christian is saved in all three senses completely upon conversion. This sounds like a cross between Christian Science and the Prosperity (Word of Faith) gospel.

    See here for lexical definition:
    Sozo - Greek Lexicon
  5. moselle

    moselle Puritan Board Freshman

    Basically, those verses are it, along with a definition of sozo:

    1 a: to save b: to heal c: to deliver
    2: to save a suffering one, to make well, heal, to deliver from penalties of the Messianic judgment

    It is from an introduction to a sort of church counseling ministry which includes all kinds of other goofy things, but because it all stems from their definition and (not so)Biblical understanding of the word "sozo", I wanted to make sure I understood that word in true Biblical context.
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I would like to add that in cases like those pointed to in the gospels, the very use of the word in alternate contexts evokes its primary association with salvation-from-sin.

    Moselle's observation bears reflection. I think the Gospel writer's use of "salvation" would have been quite a dramatic term. We lose some of the force of the term bringing it over into English, and perhaps making the effort to render its sense with precision.

    I'm not saying it's always the wrong way to go about translation, no; but, when we read "your faith has made you well," are we getting that with the same force as the Greek hearers who heard, "your faith has saved you"? Isn't it the Gospel writer's POINT to teach people (above ALL other purposes) that FAITH in Jesus SAVES eternally?

    Therefore, the original writer's point is completely off base, when we see the situations correctly. We do not take a "sensus plenoir" approach to salvation, as if in this life we should expect some macro-deliverance from every ill before heaven. Instead, we see that earthly deliverance points us toward spiritual deliverance.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  7. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    Right on Pastor Daniel. This needs to be pointed out to some guys I know.
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    God is the do-gooder to all men, especially those that believe.

    I don't have my books here, but if I remember correctly this Pauline passage speaksof God asthe saviour of all men, especially those that believe. I think sozo is used.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page