Greek word - (exagorazo G1805, agorazo G59, lutroo G3084)
Quiz - Choose the answer that is closest to what you think REDEEM is.
A - to save from sins
B - to convert into cash
C - to purchase
D - to pay a price to release
Problem - Misleading, Incorrect
(exagorazo G1805) "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13a)
(lutroo G3084) "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)
I was taught that redeem means to buy. That is not entirely correct.
Redeem is an old English word that meant to pay a ransom, to pay a price for releasing someone or something. It is still used today in a limited sense and with different meanings. In this sense the word is misleading in the Bible. Redeem does not mean today what it used to mean or what it means in the Bible.
The early English Bible translators used redeem to signify paying a ransom, but the Greek word behind each use of redeem does not always carry this meaning.
Three Greek words are translated as redeem by the KJV. Agorazo (G59) means to buy, exagorazo (G1805) means to buy or to buy up, and lutroo (G3084) means to ransom, to pay a price to release. So only lutroo carries the old meaning of redeem (it is only used 3 times in the New Testament). Agorazo and exagorazo are only translated as redeem when they refer to buying a person. In the KJV, agorazo is translated as buy 28 times and as redeem 3 times. It could have been translated as buy every time (you can see this in the first verse used above, Galatians 3:13).
So when the English word, redeem, was first put in the English Bible, it meant to pay a ransom. But what the word actually means in the Bible depends on which Greek word is behind it. Lutroo means to pay a price to release something. Agorazo and exagorazo mean to buy.
Does this definition disappoint you? Were you expecting to hear something much better? There are pastors, teachers, and songs that make this word something it is not. I prefer erasing redeem out of our vocabularies and using everyday words that accurately portray the meaning of the Greek.
Twice exagorazo is used in the expression, redeeming the time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5), which means to make good use of the time.
Modern Synonym - purchase (exagorazo G1805, agorazo G59) - pay a price to release (lutroo G3084)
Bible Version Tally (how other versions translate this word)
Galatians 3:13a (exagorazo G1805) - redeem (37 of 50), take away (4 of 50), bought (3 of 50), paid (2 of 50), bought (1 of 50), rescue (2 of 50), ransom (1 of 50), set free (1 of 50), saved (1 of 50)
Titus 2:14 (lutroo G3084) - redeem (29 of 50), free (11 of 50), rescue (4 of 50), pay the price to free (2 of 50), ransom (1 of 50)
(exagorazo G1805) "The Anointed King purchased us out of the curse of the law after becoming a curse on our behalf." (Galatians 3:13a)
(lutroo G3084) "who gave Himself on our behalf so that He might pay the price to release us from every crime and clean for Himself a special ethnic group with a strong desire for good actions." (Titus 2:14)
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