The chart below is a word study I’m currently working on for the word σωτηρία, which is Greek for ‘salvation’ or ‘deliverance.’ This chart contains all 45 uses of σωτηρία and all its variants in the Greek New Testament. I’m working on this study because it has been my observation that, specifically within Protestant Evangelicalism, the emphasis of using the word ‘salvation’ has been the aspect of our justification, that is, “getting saved.” My hypothesis is that, although “getting saved” is certainly one aspect of salvation, it is only one small aspect and in fact may not even be the primary thrust of the word in the New Testament.

I’ve divided the usage of salvation up into four categories: justification, adoption, sanctification and glorification. These are common “categories” or “steps” theologians often refer to in what is called the ordo salutis – the order of salvation. I’ve added a fifth category called receiving Christ, which I’m using to refer to all four aspects listed above.

The below analysis is a work in progress. I’m positive I’m wrong about some of these. However, the emerging numbers show something striking; it does seem that “getting saved” is not the primary focus of salvation in the New Testament. In fact, because “receiving Christ” seems to be the most common usage of the word σωτηρία, perhaps that is really the overarching usage of the Biblical authors, despite which particular aspect they are referring to in an immediate context? And, if that is the case, maybe this idea of receiving Christ and union with him should be our focus too?

Current results are as follows:

Receiving Christ: 15
Justification 6
Adoption 2
Sanctification 11
Glorification 8
N/A 3

Reference

Text

Immediate Context?

Luke 1:69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, Justification
Luke 1:71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; Justification
Luke 1:77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, Justification
Luke 19:9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. Receiving Christ/Sanctification
John 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Receiving Christ
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Receiving Christ
Acts 7:25 He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. N/A
Acts 13:26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. Receiving Christ
Acts 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Receiving Christ
Acts 16:17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” Justification
Acts 27:34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” N/A
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Receiving Christ
Rom 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. Justification
Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Justification
Rom 11:11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Receiving Christ
Rom 13:11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. Glorification
2 Cor 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Sanctification
2 Cor 6:2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Receiving Christ
2 Cor 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. Sanctification
Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Justification
Phil 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, Sanctification/Glorification
Phil 1:28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. Sanctification
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, Sanctification
1 Thess 5:8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. Glorification
1 Thess 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Glorification
2 Thess 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Sanctification
2 Tim 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. Receiving Christ/Adoption
2 Tim 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Justification
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Adoption
Heb 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, Receiving Christ
Heb 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Receiving Christ
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Glorification
Heb 6:9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. Sanctification
Heb 9:28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Glorification
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. N/A
1 Pet 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Glorification
1 Pet 1:9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Sanctification/Glorification
1 Pet 1:10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, Receiving Christ
1 Pet 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— Sanctification
2 Pet 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, Sanctification
Jude 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Adoption
Rev 7:10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Receiving Christ
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Receiving Christ
Rev 19:1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, Receiving Christ


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