Soteriology Meaning in the Bible: Definition & Key Scripture


Lord’s Library editors created this resource on soteriology meaning in the Bible with key Scripture verses and commentary.

Soteriology is the branch of Christian theology that deals with the study of salvation as presented in the Bible. The term is derived from the Greek words “soteria” meaning salvation, and “logos” meaning study or word. This theological discipline explores the nature of sin, the blood atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the means by which individuals are saved.

At the heart of the soteriology meaning in the Bible is the concept of sin and its consequences. See Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” The wages of sin, as Romans 6:23 elucidates, is death, but this verse also introduces the gift of God, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord:

  • Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This duality of sin’s consequence and God’s gift introduces the central theme of soteriology: salvation through Jesus Christ.

The Gospel

Soteriology Meaning in the Bible

Salvation in Christian soteriology is understood as a gift of grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 famously declares, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This passage underscores that salvation is not something that can be earned through human effort or righteousness but is a gift from God, appropriated through faith in Jesus Christ. This concept of grace is foundational, emphasizing God’s unmerited favor towards sinful humanity.

The work of Christ on the cross is central to soteriology. Scriptures detail how Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection are the means by which reconciliation between God and humanity is achieved. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” This vicarious atonement, where Christ stands in the place of sinners, bearing their sins and imparting to them His righteousness, is pivotal for understanding salvation.

The concept of justification is another critical element in soteriology. Romans 5:1 states, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Justification by faith is the act of God declaring a sinner righteous on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. This legal declaration brings the believer into a state of peace with God, highlighting the forensic aspect of salvation where believers are acquitted from the guilt of sin.

Sanctification, the process of being made holy, is also a significant part of soteriology. It is the transformative process by which the Holy Spirit gradually conforms believers into the image of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 declares, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…” This ongoing process involves both the positional sanctification, where the believer is set apart for God at conversion, and progressive sanctification, the lifelong journey of growing in holiness.

The assurance of salvation is another aspect explored in soteriology. 1 John 5:13 assures believers, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” This assurance is grounded in the promises of God’s Word, the work of Christ, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, providing believers with confidence in their salvation.

In conclusion, soteriology encompasses the study of salvation’s intricate dynamics as presented in the Bible, focusing on sin, grace, the atoning work of Christ, justification by faith, sanctification, and the assurance of salvation. Through the exploration of these themes, believers can gain a deeper understanding of the profound grace of God, the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice, and the transformative journey of faith that leads to eternal life. The KJV of the Bible, with its theological depth, serves as a critical resource in the study of soteriology, offering timeless truths that guide believers in their understanding and experience of salvation.

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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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