Good News for Everyone VI: Redemption
- In Christ our release is secured and our sins forgiven through the shedding of his blood. Eph. 1:3 - 10 REB
- Even more disturbed was a man who issued a statement asserting that "redemption has been completely removed from Today's English Version." It is true that the noun "redemption" is not used, but the verb "redeem" does occur, as in Revelation 14:4, and the noun "redeemer" occurs in Psalm 19:14. Moreover, the real meaning of the biblical concept of "redeem" and "redeemer" is expressed by other terms which represent more faithfully the message of the Scripture.
The fact of the matter is that the terms "redeem" and "redeemer" have lost very much of their earlier significance in English. For many people "redeem" is associated more with trading stamps than with the biblical theme of deliverance and salvation. In those contexts in which there is specific reference to the ancient practice of redeeming a slave through a payment, the Good News Bible makes this clear by rendering "God bought you for a price" (1 Cor. 6:20 and 7:23). But where the reference is to the way in which God delivers his people - as reflecting the experience of Israel in being rescued from Egypt - such words as "deliver," "save," "rescue" are employed, for these terms express more clearly what God does in "setting free" his people.
There was a time in church history when theologians tried to insist that wherever the Greek term apolutrōsis occurs, it must be interpreted literally as "redemption," in the sense of making a payment. But then these theologians encountered major difficulties. To whom could God make such a payment? Driven by their own logic, these theologians could only conclude that God had to pay the devil in order to buy back people from his control. In pushing such an argument to its logical (or better, its illogical) extreme, they only succeeded in distorting the truth of God's intervention into history to deliver and save his people.