Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Response to Dr. Wallace's Objection, Part 2: Apostolic Fathers

This post continues the response to Dr. Daniel Wallace in his objections to my lexical study from the Septuagint concerning the phrase ‘save souls,’ which is the Greek ‘sozo’ (to save, deliver) and ‘psyche’ (soul, life) as its object.

The original lexical study can be found here:
Lordship Salvation’s ‘Notorious’ Error: Lexical Study ‘save your souls’ (James 1:21)

Dr. Wallace’s Objections can be found here:
Dr. Daniel B. Wallace hosted by Frank Turk

I have an addendum to part one of my response. Although we concluded that theological development is a non-issue in the ascertainment of phrase usage in the Koine Greek of the LXX and the New Testament, I must make a comment. Dr. Wallace, in his objection, had this to say:

“…the belief in the bodily resurrection and (thus, implicitly, the afterlife) doesn't appear explicitly until Daniel 12.”

The idea that the OT knows nothing of bodily resurrection until Daniel 12 is liberal malarkey.

Job 19:25-26
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God

That is around 2,000 BC. Almost certainly Job is the oldest book in the Bible.

Furthermore, did not Abraham believe in the resurrection (Heb 11:19) and did not David understand resurrection as well (Acts 2:30)?

Before I begin this second part to my response, I wish to provide a short discussion on the Septuagint and its relevance.

The Lexical Value of the Septuagint

The study of the Septuagint for the purpose of New Testament Koine Greek lexical research is of incalculable value. The LXX is over three times larger than the New Testament containing an abundance of raw lexical data waiting to be analyzed. Since many of the Greek Words in the Septuagint are also used in the Greek New Testament, by studying the Septuagint Greek, one can glean wonderful insights not available by restricting one's study to the NT Greek. New Testament Greek Lexicons (including BDAG) rely heavily on the Septuagint to assemble the range of senses and usages for given words.

Henry Thackeray, following the conclusions of Adolf Deissmann, asserts that “the basis of the language of the Greek Bible [LXX] is the vernacular employed throughout the whole Greek-speaking world since the time of Alexander the Great” (A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek, pg 26). Thackeray acknowledges a Hebrew element in the Septuagint, but rightly attributes it to a literal method of translation and not to some Jewish dialect. The Koine Greek of the LXX is fundamentally the Greek of the New Testament and that which was spoken during the time of Christ.

The following is taken from the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (or ISBE, as it is affectionately known), under ‘Septuagint,’ pg 2722 (emphasis mine):

Its importance is manysided… It is one of the outstanding results of the breaking-down of international barriers by the conquests of Alexander the Great and the dissemination of the Greek language, which were fraught with such vital consequences for the history of religion… Then came the most momentous event in its history, the starting-point of a new life; the translation was taken over from the Jews by the Christian church. It was the Bible of most writers of the New Testament. Not only are the majority of their express citations from Scripture borrowed from it, but their writings contain numerous reminiscences of its language. Its words are household words to them. It laid for them the foundations of a new religious terminology… Its language gives it another strong claim to recognition. Uncouth and unclassical as much of it appears, we now know that this is not wholly due to the hampering effects of translation. "Biblical Greek," once considered a distinct species, is now a rather discredited term. The hundreds of contemporary papyrus records (letters, business and legal documents, etc.) recently discovered in Egypt illustrate much of the vocabulary and grammar and go to show that many so-called "Hebraisms" were in truth integral parts of the koine, or "common language," i.e. the international form of Greek which, since the time of Alexander, replaced the old dialects, and of which the spoken Greek of today is the lineal descendant. The version was made for the populace and written in large measure in the language of their everyday life.

“The Septuagint enjoyed widespread use in the Hellenistic Jewish diaspora and even in Jerusalem, which had become a rather cosmopolitan (and therefore Greek-speaking) town. Both Philo [who lived in 1st Century B.C.] and Josephus [who lived in the 1st Century B.C.] show a reliance on the Septuagint in their citations of Jewish scripture” (Wikipaedia article).

“It [the LXX] was virtually the only form of the Old Testament in the hands of Jewish believers outside of Palestine, and it was certainly the only available form for Gentile converts to the Jewish or Christian faiths” (Gleason Archer, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament, pg ix).

The Use of the Septuagint by New Testament Writers
The New Testament authors show a clear preference for the Septuagint in their quotations. Over two-thirds of the 320 quotations of the Old Testament in the New are taken from the Septuagint. Nearly 80% of Jesus Christ’s quotations from the OT are from the LXX.

Walter Kaiser (from The Uses of the Old Testament in the New):
“What text type does the NT prefer when citing the OT? The substantial majority of these quotes and allusions reflect the Septuagint” (pg 4).

“That the LXX was the principle Bible of the early church can hardly be refuted if one is to judge on the basis of the text form of the OT most frequently used throughout the entire NT in quotations.” (pg 5).

Brief Concluding Word on the Septuagint
Lexical data with the value of the Septuagint should not be ignored! It is disregarded at the expense of proper and acceptable hermeneutical principles. The Greek of the LXX is New Testament Greek and therefore provides a background and context for the words and usages in the NT. The Septuagint is richly filled with the ‘household words’ of ‘everyday life’ that were used throughout the Hellenized Roman Empire. The Jewish Christians addressed by James, who were profoundly familiar with the LXX, would understand the phrase “save your souls” in the conventional and common way in which it was used (specifically in the LXX, and universally in the Koine Greek language).

Reply to Dr. Wallace’s Objections

Dr. Wallace has stated:
The author did not look at the apostolic fathers. But on a theological trajectory, it is important to see how the expression was used in the Greek immediately after the NT was written by those who followed the teachings of the apostles. Further, in the AF the bodily resurrection and afterlife is already well established. Thus, apart from three instances in the LXX that come after Daniel, we might say that the usage seems to move in a different direction-toward salvation from hell. Cf. 2 Clem 13.1; 15.1; Barn 19.10; Shep 61.1.

Preliminary Remarks: Functional and Practical Theological Uselessness of the Early Apostolic Fathers

Thomas F. Torrance, in his The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers (see pgs 137-141) – whose entire work is an inquiry into the literature of the apostolic fathers, that is to say, into the Didache of the Twelve Apostles, the First Epistle of Clement, the Epistles of Ignatius, the Epistle of Polycarp, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Second Epistle of Clement (includes all the Patristic books that Wallace references), in order to discern how and why such a great divergence away from the teaching of the New Testament occurred in their understanding of salvation – concludes his research by saying: “In the Apostolic Fathers grace did not have [the] radical character [that it had in the New Testament]. The great presupposition of the Christian life, for them, was not a deed of decisive significance that cut across human life and set it on a wholly new basis grounded upon the self-giving of God. What took absolute precedence was God’s call to a new life in obedience to revealed truth. Grace, as far as it was grasped, was subsidiary to that. And so religion was thought of primarily in terms of man’s acts toward God, in the striving toward justification, much less in terms of God’s acts for man which put him in the right with God once and for all.”

Torrance continues, “In the Apostolic Fathers grace lost its radical character. They developed a doctrine of salvation by works of righteousness... A Christian ethic was codified, and the charismatic life under the constraining love of Christ [was] reduced to rules and precepts. The centre of gravity was shifted from the mainspring of the Christian life in the person of Christ Himself to the periphery of outward conformity and daily behaviour.”

“In the Apostolic Fathers grace became related to the continuance of the Christian life, rather than to the decisive motion of God's love as the presupposition of the whole Christian life... Grace became an ad hoc matter, an aid to the main work of sanctification, a donum superadditum. In other words, grace was something given by God to those who worthily strive after righteousness to enable them to attain their end [IOW, heaven]… Grace was taken under the wing of the Church in an official way...as the depository of pneumatic grace, dispensed in sacramentalist fashion. The Church...possessed the means of grace."

“What facilitated the syncretism of Judaism and Hellenism was the idea, common in principle to both, of self-justification, but it was Christianity which provided the sphere in which the two could come together, for as opposed to Hellenism it brought the principle of revelation, and as opposed to Judaism it did away with the ceremonial law. As opposed to both, the Gospel of Christianity was so astounding just because it taught a doctrine of justification by grace alone. This was unpalatable to both sides. Judaism refused to accept it because of its revolutionary character and its attitude to the law. Hellenism simply failed to see the New Testament problems. Both of these attitudes to grace are found in the Apostolic Fathers. Their theology represents a corrosion of the faith both from the side of Judaism and from the side of Hellenism, because the basic significance of grace was not grasped.”

The Apostolic Fathers significantly departed from apostolic teaching very quickly. The following errors are found in their writings:

A. Sacramentalism (including baptismal regeneration), which was a looking to the sacraments for salvation
B. Penance and satisfaction, or the idea that we may merit favor from God by our own good works including suffering for Christ
C. Asceticism, which was an unbiblical looking down upon "fleshly" appetites, and exalting of celibacy (not marrying) and poverty
D. Supererogation, or the man-made notion that one may somehow exceed the righteous demands of God
E. Episcopacy, or the erection of an unbiblical hierarchy with church officers other than the Apostolate instituted above the elders or overseers of local churches
F. Works-Salvation and Legalism, which is the addition of extra-biblical requirements or duties or distinctions regarding both salvation and the Christian life


How are we to put any stock into a study of the so-called Apostolic Fathers concerning the issue at hand when they strayed so far away from true Biblical doctrine? The way they understood the Bible should not be a factor in our study, for they obviously are not to be trusted in the area of expounding the biblical writers. To ask these writers what “save your souls” means could be likened to inquiring of a Jehovah’s Witness as to the nature of Christ’s resurrection.


I am not rejecting or avoiding a study of the so-called Apostolic Fathers and any other relevant contemporary data. In my next installment of this response, I intend to review and analyze all of Dr. Wallace’s Apostolic Father references, and will adduce much more contemporary evidence from the 1st and 2nd Century Christian writers, and from Josephus and others.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Response to Frank Turk's 'big gun' Expert: Part 1

*Note: Since the first posting of this article, it has been found out that Frank's expert is none other than Dr. Daniel Wallace. With due respect to Dr. Wallace, I ask you to look at the evidence, arguments, responses, and discussions objectively. I am honored that Dr. Wallace would take time to review a lexical study I have made, and furthermore, comment on it.

That Dr. Daniel Wallace is the antagonist to my study does not phase me whatsoever. The consideration of this issue must reside in the evidence and arguments, themselves. I ask the reader to review Dr. Wallace's objections to my study, and consider my responses to his objections in an objective manner. I invite any and all to leave constructive comments in the meta.

The response to Frank Turk's 'big gun' Expert will be in several parts, so as to give me time to write them, and give you time to consume them. To see this expert's comments all at once, go to Frank Turk's blog and look under 'Dead Horse Post Mortem'

James 1:21
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Free Grace interpretation: James is commanding his readers to receive God's word, for when they put it into practice, it is able to save their temporal lives, in the respect of delivering it from worthlessness and meaninglessness due to spiritual impoverishment, giving joy, peace, and significance, and saving the life from the deadly consequences of sin.

Reasons for the Preceding Posts and Lexical Studies:

In the previous posts I have laid out a case for two reasons, and no more.

1) The Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is possible.

How has this been done?

A) The Greek verb ‘sozo’ (to save, deliver) has been analyzed in its contexts throughout its occurrences in the New Testament. There has been adduced irrefutable evidence that this verb was used for ‘temporal’ deliverances.

B) The Greek noun ‘psyche’ (soul, life) has been analyzed in its contexts in some of its occurrences in the New Testament. There has been adduced irrefutable evidence that this noun was used in the sense of ‘temporal,’ earthly, and physical life.

The Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is possible, as the above evidence shows.

Has the Lordship advocate admitted to this proposition? No they have not. In light of the evidence it would not be such a difficult concession! They would not be giving up the ship to state that the evidence clearly shows that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is possible.

2) The Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is most probable.

How has this been done?

A) The Greek Old Testament (Septuagint, LXX) usage of the Greek verb ‘sozo’ (to save, deliver) has been discussed, where around 98% of its usage has been with the sense of ‘temporal’ deliverances.

B) The New Testament usage of the Greek verb ‘sozo’ (to save, deliver) has been analyzed in its contexts throughout its occurrences where we have found that 61% of the time it refers to ‘temporal’ deliverances.

C) In an unpublished word study this author has done on New Testament occurrences (there are 106) of the Greek noun ‘psyche’ (soul, life) he has found that approximately 61% of the occurrences denote a sense of the ‘temporal’ life. (If need be, this study will be published here)

D) In James 1:21, a peculiar phrase is used: ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’. This phrase is found eleven (11) times in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint, LXX). In 100% of this phrase’s occurrences, the irrefutable sense is the ‘temporal’ saving of the life. Furthermore, the phrase continued to have that import where papyri evidence, adduced by Moultan and Milligan in their Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, shows that the phrase had the import of saving the ‘temporal’ life.

E) The phrase ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ is used in the New Testament seven (7) times, all of which (100%) contain the sense of saving the ‘temporal’ life (James 1:21 has been included). This study will be included in this post. Two more verses that include, for all practical purposes, the same phrase have the sense of saving the ‘temporal’ life (Luke 9:56; 1 Peter 3:20; also to be reviewed in this post).

Observations and Conclusions

On the face of it, an impartial wagering man would see that, just based upon the lexical evidence alone, the probabilities are in favor of the Free Grace rendering and interpretation, and that the FG position would be the best bet.

The LS antagonists have yet to admit to the strength of the evidence that shows that the FG interpretation is the most probable, let alone acknowledge that the FG interpretation is possible! This shows to me that the LS wish to win this argument whatever the cost.

My previous posts were not constructed to show the sureness of the Free Grace interpretation. Certainty truly resides in my mind concerning this passage. But I suppose the Lordship Salvation advocates are so entrenched in their interpretive tradition that it would take a Christophany to persuade them (and even then, who knows)!

The preceding articles on my blog were written merely to confirm that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is both possible and probable. Certainly much more evidence needs to be adduced, specifically from James itself! The author’s approach has been to build a case, and undoubtedly he is not done.

Response to Frank Turk’s use of an 'expert'

Frank Turk, the Lordship Calvinist in whom I have been discussing this topic with, has not been able to produce a sensible reply to the evidence I have been producing, and the arguments I make from it.

Does he respond to the facts and conclude, like any impartial reader would, that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 is indeed possible? No.

With the wave of his hand, he has ignored and dismissed them as irrelevant. Furthermore, he has declared victory based upon his regard for an entry in a lexicon, which he views as divinely inspired. Does he give evidence why the entry for James 1:21 shows up where it does in the lexicon? No. He prats about supposing that in order to question the ‘standard Greek lexicon’ one would have to be God Himself!

I suppose that questioning the lexicon without evidence and an argument would be one thing. But to set the editors of the lexicon up as prophets of God, speaking infallibly, is quite another, which Frank seems to do. Does Frank adduce lexical support that argues for the lexicon’s conclusion? No.

Worrying about the integrity of his responses, and the apparent strength of my arguments, Frank Turk called in “the big guns” (his words) to check things over. It is apparent to me, that his ‘expert’ only read one of my posts (please correct me if I am wrong, Frank), because he only responds to arguments I make from that post: Lordship Salvation’s ‘Notorious’ Error.

This is unfortunate, because reading the reply of this ‘expert’ gave me the impression that not only did he read just one of my posts, but that he came to the impression that I believe that, based upon the lexical evidence of that post, I have conclusively shown the certainty of the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21. Like I have said previously in this post, the reasons for my lexical arguments were to show that the Free Grace position is both possible and probable, not to declare a certain victory. My evidence has been adduced cumulatively, and I am not done yet! We haven’t even looked at the statement in context (which we will do).

Furthermore, Frank does not even give us any information concerning his ‘expert’. I suppose the anonymity is intended to convey a sense of impartiality. Who is this ‘expert’ and what is his theological background? He wouldn’t happen to be Lordship and Reformed in his leanings, would he? I suppose he has no axes to grind!

Reply to Frank’s Expert

In the following discourse, I wish to reply point by point to Frank Turk’s ‘big gun’.

Dr. Wallace writes:
One of the problems of the GES in defending their views from the LXX is that they don't seem to take into account theological development. In particular, the belief in the bodily resurrection and (thus, implicitly, the afterlife) doesn't appear explicitly until Daniel 12. Hence, any texts prior to the sixth century BC would not be relevant to the discussion. At the same time, there are several references listed in the LXX, three of which are in apocryphal works and thus late. This is of course useful information, but whether it is entirely relevant may be a different matter.
This line of response against my lexical arguments is invalid, and let me tell you why:

My argument is based upon a lexical study that was made to determine usage in Koine Greek!

That Dr. Wallace would even offer such an objection startles me. He says that texts prior to the sixth century BC would not be relevant to the discussion. He is right, if we were talking about the Hebrew text!

The Septuagint text was translated and compiled in the 3rd through 1st centuries BC! What was the purpose of the translators/compilers of the Septuagint?

Their purpose was to translate the Hebrew text into the contemporary and common Koine Greek language.

What my lexical study of ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ in the LXX has shown conclusively and irrefutably is that this phrase was commonly used for the sense “saving the ‘temporal’ life” in the language of New Testament Greek (Koine Greek).

When the Septuagint translators came upon a phrase in Hebrew that denoted “saving of the ‘temporal’ life” and wished to translate it into New Testament Greek, they made use of the phrase in discussion in order to render that sense: ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’.

Do you get the import of this? The response of this expert is without merit. The strength of my lexical argument lies within the New Testament contemporary Koine Greek usage of the phrase ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’, which conclusively shows that 100% of the Septuagint biblical lexical data conforms to the Free Grace position.

Furthermore, if James was aware of the common usage of the phrase meaning ‘save the ‘temporal’ life, which was the common understanding as per the LXX lexical study and Moulton and Milligan in the profane, why would he choose to employ this phrase, which was a bonafide idiom, with a nuance of justification salvation without explicitly relating to his audience this new import (which, of course, his Jewish, Koine Greek speaking audience would have taken as a reference to ‘temporal’ deliverance)? It would be without precedent!

Next this expert wishes to cast aspersions on the relevancy of the lexical data from the LXX. How does he do so? By merely posing a question on whether or not it would be! (He does not relate a single reason why it would not be. By implication, the reason we could assume is that the evidence would contradict his position)

The relevancy lies in the phrase’s common usage in the Koine language and how the reader’s of James’ epistle would have understood that phrase.

Dr. Wallace writes:
The use of BAGD is myopic: although marshaled as an authority on each word, the author of the piece on Jas 1.21 does not look at what BAGD (let alone BDAG) says about the usage in Jas 1.21. There, the lexicon lists swvzw in Jas 1.21 as meaning "save/preserve from eternal death." So, is the GES author claiming that this lexicon is mistaken in its assessment? BDAG is remarkably objective; the authors have few axes to grind. Perhaps the error is on the part of the GES interpretation rather than on the part of everyone else.
Let me tell you what my purpose was in bringing up BAGD as a line of evidence:

The appeal to BAGD was to show that the word ‘psyche’ has as an indisputable sense that of ‘temporal and earthly life’. This shows that the rendering of ‘life’ for ‘psyche’ in James 1:21 is a possibility with reference to the lexical evidence shown in BAGD.

My lexical studies alone should have been conclusive to the LS antagonists, but I wished to show from the lexicon, that such a sense is indeed legitimate.

The expert asks a question: “Is the GES author [yours truly] claiming that this lexicon is mistaken in its assessment [IOW, the sub-entry where James 1:21 was placed]?”

Yes. I am claiming that the lexicon is mistaken in its assessment. But I do not do so without substantiation.

Let me ask you a question. Did the editor’s of BAGD give evidence why they would understand ‘psyche’ in James 1:21 as the ‘eternal, immaterial nature of man’? No. Have I been adducing much lexical evidence that argues against their assessment? Yes.

In courts everyday, expert testimony is questioned by evidence. If the editors of BAGD had given their testimony as to why they placed James 1:21 in the sub-entry they did under the entry of ‘psyche’, we could analyze it. But they didn’t. I have been adducing much and strong evidence why James 1:21 ought not to be put under the sub-entry BAGD does.

What is the object of a lexicon? To give the senses and usages of words. It seems to me that BAGD has made a leap by importing their theology into their lexical study. Lexical study and exegesis are two separate disciplines (although the former may be used in the latter). A lexicon should keep to lexical study.

Is the BDAG “remarkably objective” and does its editors “have few axes to grind”?

A recent article by Vern S. Poythress in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS) ,“How Have Inclusiveness and Tolerance Affected the Bauer-Danker Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG)” (December 2003, 577-88), demonstrates that Danker has been greatly affected by political factors. Poythress exhibits through quotes by Danker in the foreword and in individual entries that BDAG has been adversely affected by inclusiveness and tolerance. The editor’s grinding axe reveals the need to take a focused look in this lexicon in other areas of study as well.

Such a study was done by Michael Makidon, entitled Soteriological Concerns with Bauer’s Greek Lexicon which shows conclusively a few more ways that the editors of the ‘standard Greek lexicon’ have been grinding their soteriological axes.

Can Dr. Wallace concede that there may be an error in BDAG’s mammoth work? Can he conceive of such a thing? Perhaps the error is on the part of the Lordship friendly BDAG rather than on the part of the strong evidence adduced by a Free Grace advocate.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Free Grace Rendering and Interpretation of James 1:21 is the Most Probable


The Free Grace position is one of evidence, time-consuming analysis, and prayerful and well-reasoned treatment of texts.

The Traditionalist (a designation that Frank Turk enthusiastically now embraces) has “deliverance from hell” on the brain. A knee-jerk reaction ensues when one stumbles upon the terms “salvation” or “save” in the New Testament. Immediately their starting point in their interpretation is the assumption that eternal salvation is being spoken of. Free Grace theology advocates do not disparage the eternal significance of deliverance from hell. We rejoice in the absolutely free gift of eternal life bestowed upon us (unworthy sinners deserving of hell) through faith into Jesus Christ in His promise. We plan and prepare for eternity in light of our imminent appointment with Christ before His judgment seat.

Yet Free Grace advocates appreciate and understand God’s plans and intentions within time and history. With a mighty outstretched arm, with miraculous power and judgments, God has delivered His people from evil, death, enemies, and sickness. Through obedience to His Word, which gives us the practical instructions for righteousness, men are saved from the spiritually impoverishing and ultimately deadly consequences of sin; men are saved from a worthless and insignificant existence; and men are saved unto the experiential blessings of God, wherein they will find peace, harmony with God, and temporal meaning and fulfillment.

Lexical Evidence Adduced

In the consideration of the ‘salvation’ being spoken of in James (and the phrase “save your souls”), we have been adducing much lexical evidence to build up a case:

1) 98% of the 319 occurrences (363 minus 44 occurrences of the noun which take on proper names) of the Greek words ‘sozo’ (to deliver, save) and ‘soteria’ (deliverance, salvation) in the Septuagint have the sense of temporal deliverances of varied kinds.
-----A) In the remaining two percent, there is no instance where the terms appear solely with a spiritual nuance
-----B) There is not even one instance where the words in their contexts convey a justification-salvation meaning.

2) In a lexical study of the instances of ‘sozo’ in the New Testament, this author found that 61% of the occurrences have a temporal sense, while only 39% are soteriological in nature. We are aware that there has been some dispute by Frank the Turk on his blog concerning my lexical study. This author has found many errors in his work, and the dispassionate observer would conclude that his objections to my composition were anything but sufficient. Frank seems to be a master at sidestepping issues. We plan on reviewing his reply in a future post.

Bobby Grow was very wise to say concerning my lexical study on ‘sozo’:
“To me the minimum point that needed to be established, which you've done with your study here, is to demonstrate that sozo indeed has a broader semantic domain beyond ‘justification’ or ‘sanctification’ for that matter… Frank initially wanted to take this by floating, via generalization, sozo as referencing justification in James.” (taken from the comment meta of my last post)

Indeed, this was the whole point of my lexical study: that ‘sozo’ has many uses, and a very broad usage is that of temporal deliverances.

3) James 1:21 contains the phrase “save your souls,” which is the Greek ‘sozo’ with ‘psyche’ as its object. In a lexical study of the Septuagint, we found that out of the eleven instances where this phrase is used, 100% of the occurrences had a sense of saving one’s temporal life.
-----A) There is not one instance of this phrase used in Biblical or non-Biblical literature that provides the sense “deliverance from hell,” which includes the New Testament.
-----B) The Koine Greek papyrus evidence of non-biblical literature of the time also provides examples of this construction retaining the sense of the temporal saving of one’s life, but does not adduce even one instance where the phrase is used as a spiritual deliverance, let alone a soteriological.

A Reply to the Objection based upon the Greek Lexicon

One of the objections to my lexical analysis was the referencing of BDAG, the newest revision of the standard Greek lexicon. But this attempt invariably must fall flat. Why? The lexical evidence has already been produced that the Greek term ‘sozo’ has a lexical domain much greater than the Traditionalist’s reductionistic and myopic disposition to import ‘deliverance from hell’ into each occurrence. Furthermore, the percentage of instances where it is used in the temporal aspect in the Bible far outweighs any soteriological sense. As well, ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ has a well-established sense of “save the life”.

The Traditionalist’s insistence on bringing up the lexicon eludes me as to their purpose. My edition of BAGD takes for granted the lexical sense that I find in the Greek word “psyche”. Notice its very first entry in my lexicon:

“1. lit -- a. of life on earth in its external, physical aspects”

and a little further down:

“β. earthly life itself”

Just for giggles and grins, lets substitute these in the place of ‘psyche’ in James 1:21:

“… and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your ‘life on earth.’”


“… and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your ‘earthly life itself.’”

Even according to BAGD, in reference to the semantic range of ‘psyche,’ this is a possible rendering!

I am in understanding that this standard lexicon places James 1:21 under a different entry for the same word. But it is sufficient for our purposes here that the lexicon relates a semantic range that includes my interpretation. BAGD does not give its reasons or arguments concerning their placement of verses. If they had, we could analyze them. The editors were fallible human beings; and be sure, they were prone to the popular Traditionalistic interpretations of their day. Again, it is enough, for the purposes here, that BAGD includes the sense I take James 1:21’s usage of ‘psyche’ in its entries.

Some New Testament Usages of ‘psyche’

Much ado is being made concerning lexical entries for the Greek word ‘psyche’. The following is just a small cross-section of New Testament occurrences for ‘psyche’ that have the meaning of ‘life’ in the sense of one’s temporal existence: the meaning I attribute to ‘psyche’ in James 1:21. Why argue lexicons when we can see first hand the usage in the New Testament? The less we have to rely on other people’s work, the better. These occurrences were found using the New Englishman’s Greek Concordance, and the results are given in the KJV. Let us see how ‘psyche’ can be used.

New Testament Occurrences of ‘psyche’ that Hold the Semantic Value of ‘Life’ in the Sense of One’s Temporal Existence:

Matthew 2:20
Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life (psyche).

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life (psyche) more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 20:28
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life (psyche) a ransom for many.

Mark 3:4
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save (sozo) life (psyche), or to kill? But they held their peace.

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life (psyche) for the sheep.

John 13:38
Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life (psyche) for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life (psyche) for his friends.

Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life (psyche) dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 27:22
And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life (psyche) among you, but of the ship.

Romans 11:3
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life (psyche).

Romans 16:4
Who have for my life (psyche) laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Philippians 2:30
Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life (psyche), to supply your lack of service toward me.

1 Peter 3:20
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls [lives] (psyche) were saved by water.

1 John 3:16
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life (psyche) for us: and we ought to lay down our lives (psyche) for the brethren.

More references could be produced with the same significance and import. These are just a cross-section of the occurrences to demonstrate and substantiate this sense as being a possible meaning for ‘psyche’ in James 1:21.

So add to the lexical evidence referenced above this brief word study that conclusively shows that the New Testament uses ‘psyche’ with the sense of temporal life.


My purpose is to build a strong case for the Free Grace interpretation and rendering of the ‘sozo’ passages of James, specifically the first occurrence in James 1:21.

1) ‘sozo’ in the Koine Greek Old Testament is used primarily with the sense of temporal deliverances.
2) ‘sozo’ in the New Testament is used in a majority of instances with the sense of temporal deliverances. (I understand there are contentions about some of the references. Yet at the very least it has been proven that ‘sozo’ is used in the sense of ‘temporal’ deliverance in the New Testament).
3) ‘psyche’ has many occurrences in the New Testament with the sense of ‘temporal life,’ as the cross-section that was referenced in this post shows.
4) BAGD gives entries under ‘psyche’ for temporal life.

These evidences alone are enough to prove that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of James 1:21 and the other occurrences of ‘sozo’ in James is possible. It is mighty peculiar that not even one Lordship proponent has even admitted that the Free Grace rendering and interpretation is possible in light of the lexical evidence. Yet we have another line of evidence:

5) Every occurrence of the phrase ‘sozo’ that has as its object ‘psyche’ in the Septuagint has as its universal meaning “save the life”. There are no exceptions to this line of evidence.
-----A) Furthermore, no instances either biblical or non-biblical can be adduced where ‘sozo’ with the object ‘psyche’ has as its meaning ‘deliverance from hell’. Moulton and Milligan in their Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament further supports the study of this phrase by showing examples in the papyrii where the phrase indeed means ‘save the life’. There is not even one instance shown where the phrase has a soteriologcal sense.

I would say that when a phrase in the LXX is universally used one way that at the very least, it should be the starting place for our understanding in the New when it is used. In one study I read this week, the New Testament authors, out of around 320 Old Testament quotations, used the Septuagint translation 2/3rds of the time against the Masoretic text. The New Testament authors show a clear preference for the Septuagint over Masoretic reading.

The following are a few quotes from ‘Septuagint’ at wikipedia.com:

“The LXX was held with great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus ascribed divine inspiration to its authors.”
“Of significance for all Christians and for bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the Christian New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers.”
“The Septuagint enjoyed widespread use in the Hellenistic Jewish diaspora and even in Jerusalem, which had become a rather cosmopolitan (and therefore Greek-speaking) town. Both Philo [who lived in 1st Century B.C.] and Josephus [who lived in the 1st Century B.C.] show a reliance on the Septuagint in their citations of Jewish scripture.”
“The early Christian Church continued to use the Old Greek texts since Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire at the time, since Greek was the language of the Church, and since the Church Fathers tended to accept Philo's account of the LXX's miraculous and inspired origin. Furthermore, Christ and his Apostles in the New Testament quoted from the Old Greek.”

The article also talks about how the LXX was in popular usage through the 2nd Century A.D.

The evidence is strong. There is no exception to the usage of the phrase ‘sozo’ with ‘psyche’ as its object. On the face of it, the odds are not in Lordship Salvation’s favor.

Furthermore, the facts about this phrase in the LXX establishes a huge precedent for my case: the rendering and interpretation of James 1:21. The Lordship people cannot even admit the strength of the lexical study and argument!

Let me tell you what. If the LXX had a universality of occurrences where "sozo" with the object "psyche" meant "deliverance of man from hell", the Lordship proponents would be ringing that bell as loud as they could!

But they can't. The evidence unanimously shows that the phrase had the import of saving the temporal life.

They may spin the facts all they wish and regard them as irrelevant. But they do so at the expense of solid principles of Biblical interpretion; they do so only to try to win their argument in the face of strong evidence in order that they may preserve their doctrine of Perseverance theology. In light of the evidence and facts, why can they not at least consider the Free Grace position of James? They mustn’t. To even give it a fair shake would be to abandon their favorite proof-texts that they use to bludgeon their opposition.

With all the available data adduced so far, not only is the Free Grace rendering and interpretation of 1 James 1:21 merely possible, but the lexical evidence argues that it is the most probable.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Lordship Salvation's 'Notorious' Error : Lexical Study of "Save Your Souls" (James 1:21)

In an email correspondence, I brought Frank Turk to task for the huge lexical error he submitted in his debate against Jodie Sawyer. He replied by email:
If your view of lexical errors is this high, you need to go and review the justification Jodie uses for substituting "life" for "soul" in James 1:21 for the word "psuche". Even /if/ it is technically correct, she then conflates the idea of "the substance of life" with the idea of "the days of my living" to reach her conclusion there. I'm sure you won't find what she has done "dishonorable" even if it is just as notorious an error as mine.

Is the substituting of “life” for “soul” in James 1:21 for the Greek ‘psyche’ “just as notorious an error” as getting 50 occurrences wrong in his lexical assertions about the Greek verb ‘sozo’ in his debate with Jodie? Is the sense “days of my living” unsubstantiated (as his lexical assertions were)? Is the ‘substitution’ even in error at all? This post will answer that question. It will prove that the more attested rendering in James 1:21 is “… which is able to save your lives."

By most evangelical scholorship, the Epistle of James was written very early, many claiming that it was the very first book written in the New Testament canon. A.D. 44-48 seems to be the range given by conservative Evangelical commentators. James’ intended audience were Jewish Christians (cf: James 1:1 with the evidence that his intended audience was a community of believers: 1:18; 2:1, 7; 5:7).

The common language of the then-known world at that time was Koine Greek. The Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) were translated sometime between the 3rd and 1st centuries B.C. into Koine Greek, in what is now known as the Septuagint. Also, known as the LXX, the Septuagint is a rich resource for Koine Greek word studies, for it is roughly three times the size of the New Testament, and such studies net authoratative results because of wide and plentiful usage of words.

In language, common usage will determine the meaning of words, and also phrases; these phrases can become widely and popularly engrained into a language. Languages are full of rich idiomatic expressions that convey meaning to those who share a particular tongue.

When studying the Bible, it is wise to research words and phrases doing word studies so that the common meanings and senses can be gleaned. It is a mistake of high proportion to import into the words of the Bible current understandings. It is imperative to understand the words, phrases, and clauses of the Bible in the way that its 1st century readers/hearers would have.

In the current debate on the Epistle of James, the verb “sozo” (= “to deliver, save”) is of particular interest. It is used 5 times in the epistle, and in a few hotly debated verses (James 1:21; 2:14; 5:20).

The author of this post has done a word study on the Greek word “sozo” in his last entry: New Testament Occurrences of ‘sozo’. He found that out of 108 occurrences of the word, 65 represented a temporal deliverance of some kind or another, and only 42 had a soteriological import (1 was found to have both senses present). Percentage wise, 61% were temporal and only 39% were soteriological.

In a word study of the Septuagint we find that the Greek word “soteria” (salvation) and its cognate “sozo” (save) in their contexts, where they are found 319 times in the Masoretic Text (363 occurrences minus the 44 times the noun appears as proper names), means “[to] deliver[ance] from temporal calamaties” – such as circumstances that cause death, from enemies, troubles, physical maladies, etc.; both individually and nationally - in the greatest majority of the times they are found, upwards of 98% of occurences. Only a relatively few passages have spiritual contexts to the salvation being discussed. Yet even in the instances that the terms "save" and "salvation" carry a sense of spiritual salvation in these minimally few OT passages, there is no explicit instance where the term appears solely with a spiritual nuance. In a study Rene Lopez of Dallas Seminary did of each occurrence of the words, he could not find even one instance where the words in their contexts had a justification-salvation-only meaning: Salvation in the Old Testament – From What.

What does this say about the Greek reader of the New Testament? That he obviously would not consider the meaning “salvation from hell” for the Greek words “soteria” and “sozo” (salvation and save, respecively) as the first, knee-jerk option when he read it. This would be especially true for the early Jewish Christian readers of James, absorbed as they would have been both in Koine Greek and the Septuagint (which was read in their synagogues).

Moulton and Milligan in their Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (pg 620) under “sozo” give only temporal usages of the verb, of course including saving of the physical life (they even give an example where “psyche” is the object of “sozo”). There is not even one occurrence of a spiritual (let alone soteriological) usage of the word in all their findings.

BAGD (2nd Edition, 1958, pg 893), the standard Greek lexicon, gives the entries “of life on earth in its external, physical aspects” and “earthly life itself” for psyche (soul/life).

Of great interest in James is 1:21:

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls

This is the first instance of “sozo” in his epistle, and can give an indication of the type of “saving” he has in mind in the remainder.

We need to pay special attention to the phrase “save your souls”.

"It remains for scholors of historical theology to discern how this phrase ever became connected with the idea of deliverance from hell. It is never used that way in the Bible, and such an idea would have been foreign to any Jewish reader of the New Testament."

"Because the meaning is definitely established from other passages, there is no reason to abandon it in the Epistle of James, no reason except the interests of Perseverance theology. Here we have a case where the Traditionalist meaning “deliver from hell,” is absolutely without parallel in biblical or extra-biblical literature, and yet it is accepted as the starting point for understanding the meaning in James." (Joseph Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, pgs 116-17)

This phrase, “sozo” with “psyche” as its object (“save [your] souls”), is found eleven times in the Septuagint (LXX), and in each case it has the notion of preserving one’s physical life.

"It is unfortunate that most interpreters of James are either unaware of this data or dismiss it as irrelevant. Whenever linguistic evidence of this type is ignored, faulty interpretation is almost inevitable" (Zane Hodges, The Epistle of James: Proven Character Through Testing, pg 41).

Let us now give consideration to this most important phrase:


The following references are every occurrence of phrases consisting of the Greek verb “sozo” (= “to deliver, save”) with the Greek noun “psyche” (= “life, soul”) as its object found within the Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, called the Septuagint (LXX).

Septuagint References (with any English Parallels)

(1) Genesis 19:17
(2) Genesis 32:31 (= English Genesis 32:30)
(3) 1 Kings 19:11 (= English 1 Samuel 19:11)
(4) Amos 2:14
(5) Amos 2:15
(6) Job 33:28
(7) Psalms 71:13 (= English Psalms 72:13)
(8) Jeremiah 31:6 (= English Jeremiah 48:6)
(9) Psalms of Solomon 17:17 (= English Psalms of Solomon 17:19)
(10) Judith 10:15
(11) 1 Maccabbees 9:9

Word Study of Every Occurrence of “sozo” with “psyche” as its object in the LXX

(1) Genesis 19:17
σωζε την σεαυτου ψυχην
“Save (sozo) the life (psyche) of yourself!”

Genesis 19:17
So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said,” Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."

The angels warned Lot and his family to flee from the temporal destruction of Sodom, so as to preserve their physical lives.

(2) Genesis 32:31 (= English Genesis 32:30)
εσωθη μου η ψυχη
“My life (psyche) was saved (sozo).”

Genesis 32:30
So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

After wrestling with God, Jacob called the place of his pugilism with the Angel of the Lord (a theophany) Peniel (meaning face to face) for he had seen God face to face and yet he did not physically die.

(3) 1 Kings 19:11 (= English 1 Samuel 19:11)
σωσης την ψυχην σαυτου
“Save (sozo) your life (psyche).”

1 Samuel 19:11
Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed."

Michal, David’s wife, said he must flee or physically die in the morning, so she sent him out the window.

(4) Amos 2:14
σωση την ψυχην αυτου
“…will save (sozo) his life (psyche).”

Amos 2:14
Therefore flight shall perish from the swift,
The strong shall not strengthen his power,
Nor shall the mighty deliver himself;

Discussing God’s coming temporal wrath on the Northern Tribes of Israel, the Lord, during the reign of Jereboam II, pronounces through Amos that not even the ‘strong’ or ‘mighty’ shall be able to deliver themselves from the coming temporal calamities due to their unrighteous activities (see Amos 2:6-8).

(5) Amos 2:15
σωση την ψυχην αυτου
“…will save (sozo) his life (psyche).”

Amos 2:15
He shall not stand who handles the bow,
The swift of foot shall not escape,
Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.

Continuing from verse 14, The Lord, through Amos, relates that not even the fighting men of valor shall escape His judgment. See also note on Amos 2:14.

(6) Job 33:28
σωσον ψυχην μου
“He will save (sozo) my life (psyche)”

Job 33:28
'He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit,
And my life shall see the light.'

In Elihu’s poetic and spirited speech to Job, Elihu relates that the man who repents, saying, “I have sinned, and perverted what is right, and it did not profit me” (Job 33:27) will be saved from the destructive principles of his sin. In both Job 33:18 and 33:22, we see that one’s experience with the “pit” is paralleled (remember that this is poetic parallelism) with physical death: “perishing by the sword” (v 18) and “draw[ing] near to the executioners” (v 22). “Pit” is used here figuratively, a euphemism, for the “grave,” implying one’s bodily death (see any Hebrew lexicon for “shachath,” Strongs #7845). See Psalms 30:9 and 55:23 for more substantiation on the figurative use of “pit” describing physical death. “Going down to the pit”, the result of unrighteousness, is also contrasted with “flesh” being like a “child’s” (Job 33:25a) and a man returning unto “the days of his youth” (Job 33:25b). Also, cross-reference “see[ing] the light” of Job 33:28 (the result of one’s life being saved from death, the grave) and “be[ing] enlightened with the light of life” of Job 33:30 (the result of one’s life being turned from death, the grave). This is the result of the man’s repentance! Whereas unrighteous activity will bring one to death (see Proverbial literature after this word study), repentance will avert death and bring a meaningful life: “the light of life”. Elihu’s rich and prosaic language should not be misunderstood! He is speaking to Job who is in the middle of a temporal and physical tragedy. Job’s friends believe that his physical infirmities are a result of his sin, and that he needs to repent so as to avert his temporal/physical demise.

(7) Psalms 71:13 (= English Psalms 72:13)
και ψυχας πενητων σωσει
“…and He shall save (sozo) [the] lives (psyche) of [the] needy.”

Psalms 72:13
He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy [H]e will save.

Speaking of the Messiah, Solomon states that in His earthly reign that He will save from death the lives of the needy. Speaking of the same group of needy people, Solomon continues, “He will rescue their life from oppression and violence; And their blood will be precious in his sight” (Psalms 72:14).

(8) Jeremiah 31:6 (= English Jeremiah 48:6)
σωσατε τας ψυχας υμων
“Save (sozo) your lives (psyche)!”

Jeremiah 48:6
"Flee, save your lives!
And be like the juniper in the wilderness.”

The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, speaks of the coming judgment on Moab, telling them to save their lives by fleeing, becoming like the juniper that “ekes out its stunted growth in the wilderness, hiding in crevices of rock” (Notes in the Nelson Study Bible, pg 1305).

(9) Psalms of Solomon 17:17 (= English Psalms of Solomon 17:19)
σωθηναι ψυχας αυτων
“To save (sozo) their lives (psyche)”

Psalms of Solomon 17:19
They wandered in deserts that their lives might be saved from harm, And precious in the eyes of them that lived abroad was any that escaped alive from them.
Gray Translation, 1913

The writer of this Apocryphal book is speaking of righteous Jews who escaped from the hands of idolatrous Jews and pagans.

(10) Judith 10:15
σεσωκας την ψυχην σου
“You have saved (sozo) your life (psyche).”

Judith 10:15
Thou hast saved thy life, in that thou hast hasted to come down to the presence of our lord: now therefore come to his tent, and some of us shall conduct thee, until they have delivered thee to his hands.

Assyrian soldiers confronted Judith and because of her beauty and message they did not kill her, her message saved her life: “Now when the men heard her words, and beheld her countenance, they wondered greatly at her beauty, and said unto her” (Judith 10:14).

(11) 1 Maccabees 9:9
σωζωμεν τας εαυτων ψυχας
“We should save (sozo) our lives (psyche).”

1 Maccabees 9:9
But they dehorted him, saying, We shall never be able: let us now rather save our lives, and hereafter we will return with our brethren, and fight against them: for we are but few.

Judas Maccabbee has just exhorted the remnant of his army to go out in battle. Their reply was that they needed to flee so as to preserve their lives, regroup with their comrades, and then go fight.

Moulton and Milligan, furthermore, (op. cit. pg 698) show that in the papyrii evidence (the Koine literature of the time) that the phrase “save a soul” continues to mean “save the physical life” (see section I.(b)). And they give examples on how psyche (soul) can mean physical life as well.


The sense of “saving the life” for ‘sozo’ and its object ‘psyche’ had become a bona-fide idiomatic expression in the Koine Greek. There are no biblical examples (and Moulton and Milligan, in their study of the existent papyrii evidence found no examples either) for the sense “deliverance from hell” for the aforementioned phrase.

Lordship Salvation and Reformed Soteriologists have not been careful to do the lexical research necessary to come to a solid interpretation, and have imported the present day understanding of “save the soul” into the text of James for support of their insupportable doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. They have imported their Perseverance theology into James destroying the practical and pastoral emphasis of the epistle.

Powerful evidence has been adduced to support the interpretation that James is discussing practical and temporal deliverance from calamitous trials, tribulations, and circumstances, including the physical death-dealing consequences of sin.

It is high time for a re-evaluation of the Epistle of James, and the linguistical study provided, should be a starting point.

Blessings and peace to all who endure in trials, being doers of the word, unto the preservation of their lives.

Antonio da Rosa

Monday, December 04, 2006

Frank Turk's Unsubstantiated Falsehood / New Testament Occurrences of "sozo" (= "save")

Frank Turk in a debate with Jodie Sawyer, has claimed:
Let's start here: the Greek verb of interest in the verses you have listed is the verb "sozo". It's used 110 times in the NT, and by a long shot, most of the uses of this verb are the meaning "to save", and that in the soteriological sense -- the sense that Christ saves us from sin by His work to an eternal salvation. That's an irrefutable fact of the Greek and of the current scholarship. To be precise, 93 of the 110 occurrences take on this meaning of "to save".
(Frank Turk Ask the Calvinist Debate Blog)

Does Frank Turk give any support for this wild contention? Of course not! It is a patent falsehood!

The following is a word study done with every occurrence of the Greek word “sozo” (Gk = "save) submitted for your review and approval. I am sure that some of the conclusions will be disputed, but the general results are sufficient to show that Frank Turk’s assertion is far from painting an accurate portrayal of the evidence. Frank must do his homework before making such bold (and false) assertions!

109 occurences of the Greek word “sozo” (verb “save”) from the TR (Textus Receptus), using Englishman’s Concordance with results given in the King James Version.

65 occurences of sozo representing a temporal deliverance of one kind of another.
42 occurences of sozo representing a soteriological deliverance.
1 occurrence that I determined had a temporal and eternal aspect.
Rev 21:24 was ommitted due to it being disregarded by both the critical and Majority texts.

61% of the occurrences have to do with TEMPORAL deliverances of one kind or another.

Which leaves only 39% having a soteriological sense.

It is the knee-jerk reaction of 21st century readers of the Bible to import into the word “save” (Greek = “sozo”) and its cognates the meaning “salvation from hell” each time he reads it in the New Testament. Yet the word merely means “to deliver” in some sense or another. It is up to the context to decide what kind of deliverance is being referred to.

Word Study of Greek sozo

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 8:25
And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
(Temporal) – The disciples are imploring Jesus to save them from physical death due to the sinking of their ship.

Matthew 9:21
For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
(Temporal) – This woman desires physical healing from Jesus (“I shall be whole” = “healed”).

Matthew 9:22
But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
(Temporal x 2) – Jesus states that it was because of her faith that she was healed. Matthew also lets us know that at the very moment Jesus said this she was healed.

Matthew 10:22
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Set within the context of temporal calamity (10:21, 22a, 23), Jesus declares that the one who endures until the end in the Great Tribulation, the same shall be delivered, in other words, into the Millennial Kingdom.

Matthew 14:30
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
(Temporal) – Peter, in fear, cries out to Jesus to be saved from drowning.

Matthew 16:25
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
(Temporal) – Jesus, in paradoxical fashion, states that the one whose desire it is to guard and retain his temporal and/or physical life shall lose his “life” in a metaphorical way.

Matthew 18:11
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
(Temporal)Jesus’ primary ministry while on earth was to Israel. His desire was to call National Israel unto repentance, to turn back to God. Obviously this had a spiritual connotation, but eternal salvation is not in view. Christ’s purpose was to bring Israel back into favor with God by their national repentance with a view to instituting the Kingdom of God. The parallel in Luke 15 clearly shows this parable within the context of repentance, which restores harmony with God (in this case, God’s chosen people, Israel) and averts temporal wrath and judgement. This verse is set in the context of the parable of the lost sheep (Israel). To further solidify this interpretation, note: “But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel’” (Matthew 15:24). Notice how Jesus states his ministry is to the “lost sheep” of Israel, God’s chosen people, calling them back to harmony with God.

Matthew 19:25
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Matthew 24:13
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 10:22. This verse is set in context of temporal calamaties and persecution in the Great Tribulation.

Matthew 24:22
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
(Temporal) – Jesus says, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt 24:21). Jesus is very clear in vs 22, if the Great Tribulation is elongated, everyone in the entire world will physically die, “there should no flesh be saved”.

Matthew 27:40
And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
(Temporal) – The passers-by at the crucifixion mocked Jesus, telling him to physically save himself from death on the cross.

Matthew 27:42
He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
(Temporal x 2) – The Chief priests, scribes and elders say that Jesus temporally saved others (healing, raising from the dead, exorcisms, making whole, etc.), but he cannot physically save himself from crucifixion.

Matthew 27:49
The rest said, Let be, let us see whether [Elijah] will come to save him.
(Temporal) – These people, mistakenly thinking Jesus called out to Elijah, pondered rather mockingly if Elijah would deliver Jesus from the death of crucifixion.

Mark 3:4
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
(Temporal) – Jesus asked the Pharisees concerning the sabbath, asking if saving one’s physical life was lawful on this day.

Mark 5:23
And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
(Temporal) – Jairus implores Jesus to physically heal his daugher (heal = sozo), so that she may physically live.

Mark 5:28
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 9:21.

Mark 5:34
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 9:22.

Mark 6:56
And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
(Temporal) – Mark relates to us that the sick touched Jesus and were made physically whole.

Mark 8:35
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 16:25).
(Temporal (in a metaphorical sense), not justification salvation!) – Jesus states that the one who gives up (loses) his temporal desires for his life in favor of following Christ in discipleship will save his life in the sense of truly experiencing the “abundant” life in the temporal present that has eternal ramifications (the significance of his temporal life will transect into eternity, in the aspect of a greater experience of life in the kingdom).

Mark 10:26
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

Mark 10:52
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
(Temporal) – Contextually, this is deliverance from physical blindness.

Mark 13:13
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 10:22; 24:13.

Mark 13:20
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 24:22.

Mark 15:30
Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 27:40.

Mark 15:31
Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.
(Temporal x 2) – See note on Matthew 27:42.

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 6:9
Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
(Temporal) – See note on Mark 3:4.

Luke 7:50
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Luke 8:12
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

Luke 8:36
They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
(Temporal) – The swine herdsmen told the crowd how the demoniac was temporally rescued from possession.

Luke 8:48
And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 9:22.

Luke 8:50
But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
(Temporal) – Jesus tells Jairus that his daughter will be temporally and physically raised back to life.

Luke 9:24
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
(Temporal x 2) – See note on Mark 8:35.

Luke 9:56
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
(Temporal) – Jesus, in reponse to the sons of Thunder, says he did not come to destroy men’s physical lives (as was requested by James and John unto the Samaratans) but to save them, in the sense that he was calling Israel to repent, return to God, which would avert God’s judgement on Israel. Israel did not nationally repent, and God’s wrath was meted out, whereas in A.D. 70, Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed (see also 2 Peter 3:9).

Luke 13:23
Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?

Luke 17:19
And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
(Temporal) – Jesus assures the former leper that through his faith he was cleansed (see vs 14).

Luke 18:26
And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

Luke 18:42
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
(Temporal) – See note on Mark 10:52.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
(Temporal) – See note on Matthew 18:11.

Luke 23:35
And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
(Temporal x 2) – See note on Matthew 27:42.

Luke 23:37
And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
(Temporal) – The soldiers mocked as well, chiding Him to deliver Himself from death by crucifixion.

Luke 23:39
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
(Temporal) – The thieves on either side of Jesus “railed on” him, saying “save… us” from death by crucifixion.

John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 5:34
But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

John 10:9
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 11:12
Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
(Temporal) – The disciples share that if Lazarus is merely asleep, he will come to temporal, physical wellness.

John 12:27
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
(Temporal) – Jesus will not ask the Father for temporal, physical deliverance from His passion, which He came to earth to accomplish.

John 12:47
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

Acts 2:21
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Peter is discussing the temporal deliverance spoken of in Joel 2:28-32 at the “coming of the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31).

Acts 2:40
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
(Temporal) – Peter is exhorting his Jewish crowd to save themselves from God’s temporal wrath by repenting (see 2:38). Wrath was coming upon this “untoward generation” who had culpability in the crucifixion of Christ (see Acts 2:36)

Acts 2:47
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 4:9
If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
(Temporal) – Peter and John are defending themselves in light of being cross-examined concerning the physical healing of a lame man.

Acts 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 11:14
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

Acts 14:9
The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
(Temporal) – Paul sensed that a cripple had faith enough to be physically healed.

Acts 15:1
And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

Acts 15:11
But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Acts 16:30
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Acts 16:31
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 27:20
And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
(Temporal) – Luke is speaking of deliverance from the temporal calamity that befell him and Paul at sea.

Acts 27:31
Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
(Temporal) – Paul is telling the passangers of the ship that they must remain on-board or they will physically perish.

Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
(Temporal) – Paul is discussing how those who are justified by faith in Jesus can be “saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). God’s wrath is a temporal and present possibility! See Romans 1:18 where God’s wrath is now being revealed against sin.

Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
(Temporal) – “Christians who avail themselves of the resurrection-power found in His life (= through Him that is resident in the gospel, [Rom] 1:16) will find deliverance from wrath (v 9), but only if they ‘walk in newness of life’ (6:4) which Paul explains in chapters 6-8” (Romans Unlocked: Power to Deliver, Rene A. Lopez, p 112)

Romans 8:24
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

Romans 9:27
[Isaiah] also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
(Temporal) – Paul is quoting Isaiah, who is speaking concerning “God’s wrath coming through the Assyrian invasion in 722 B.C. that demolished Israel’s (northern tribes) national existence. The context in Isaiah 10:6 also mentions [temporal] wrath, ‘… the people of My wrath’ which refers to Israel. Yet, God, by His mercy, intervenes and says through Isaiah that a remnant will return (10:22)” (Ibid., Rene Lopez, p 201).

Romans 10:9
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.
(Temporal) – Discussing Israel (Romans 9-11), Paul is referring to their full-orbed salvation, which includes their justification (see Rom 10:10a) and their deliverance from God’s wrath (10:10b). Open confession of Christ and identification with Him are necessary for temporal deliverance from wrath and calamity.

Romans 10:13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Temporal) – Calling upon the name of the Lord is an activity of those who are already related to God! A word study on the phrase and like phrases will report that calling on the name of the Lord is an appeal to God to deliver from temporal circumstances. One cannot even call upon the name of the Lord until they have believed on Him (Romans 10:14). See also note on Acts 2:21.

Romans 11:14
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
(Full-orbed /Soteriological and Temporal) See temporal wrath language in Romans 11:19-24.

Romans 11:26
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
(Temporal) – “All Israel means the whole nation of Israelites who remain alive during the tribulation period (who are justified) will be delivered at the end of the tribulation wrath to enter the millennium and fulfill all of God’s Old Testament promises” (Ibid., Lopez, p 233).

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Corinthians 3:15
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 7:16
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
(Soteriological x 2)

1 Corinthians 9:22
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 10:33
Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

2 Corinthians 2:15
1For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

Ephesians 2:5
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

1 Thessalonians 2:16
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

2 Thessalonians 2:10
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1 Timothy 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:15
Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
(Temporal) – Paul is talking about a salvation by works for women within the realm of childbearing.

1 Timothy 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
(Temporal) – Paul opens chapter 4 with discussions of ungodly false teachers. If Timothy takes heed and continues in doctrine, he will be able to save himself and his hearers/students from the consequences of false teaching.

2 Timothy 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

2 Timothy 4:18
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Titus 3:5
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Hebrews 5:7
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
(Temporal) – God was able to save Jesus from death on the cross, but Christ “learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). See also note on John 12:27.

Hebrews 7:25
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

James 1:21
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
(Temporal) – James, speaking to those who are “brethren”, who are born again (James 1:18), and who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (James 2:1), exhorts his readership to lay aside evil, and be doers of the word, which can save the physical life (see wisdom literature of Proverbs).

James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
(Temporal) – James, in discussion of temporal matters including hunger and nakedness, discusses the inability of faith alone to save from temporal circumstances.

James 4:12
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
(Temporal) – James, continuing with his practical and temporal exhortations to his saved intended audience, admonishes the brethren that they not judge each other for God alone is the lawgiver, able to save or destroy the physical life.

James 5:15
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
(Temporal) – As we have seen from other contexts, the Greek word sozo, save, can mean physical healing, as it does here.

James 5:20
Let him know, that he which [turns a (NKJV)] sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
(Temporal) – In the context of a brother “among” “brethren” who has “strayed concerning the truth” (implying he was once in it), James states that one who turns this straying brother from his error will save him from physical death (which is the mature fruit of sin, see James 1:15).

1 Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 4:18
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
(Temporal) – Taken from Proverbs 11:31 (“If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.”), Peter is discussing the temporal recompense for both righteousness and ungodliness, in the context of temporal suffering.

Jude 5
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
(Temporal) – This verse is illustrating Jude’s point by showing how God temporally delivered Israel out of Egypt.

Jude 23
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.