What Does Redemption Mean?

Redemption Definition in Christianity

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Redemption (pronounced ree DEMP shun) is the act of buying something back or paying a price or ransom to return something to your possession.

Redemption is the English translation of the Greek word agorazo, meaning "to purchase in the marketplace." In ancient times, it often referred to the act of buying a slave. It carried the meaning of freeing someone from chains, prison, or slavery.

The New Bible Dictionary gives this definition: "Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price."

What Does Redemption Mean to Christians?

The Christian use of redemption means Jesus Christ, through his sacrificial death, purchased believers from the slavery of sin to set us free from that bondage.

Another Greek word relating to this term is exagorazo. Redemption always involves going from something to something else. In this case, it is Christ freeing us from the bondage of the law to freedom of a new life in him.

The third Greek word connected with redemption is lutroo, meaning "to obtain release by the payment of a price." The price (or ransom), in Christianity, was Christ's precious blood, obtaining our release from sin and death.

In the story of Ruth, Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer, taking on the responsibility to provide children through Ruth for her deceased husband, a relative of Boaz. Symbolically, Boaz was also a forerunner of Christ, who paid a price to redeem Ruth. Motivated by love, Boaz saved Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi from a hopeless situation. The story beautifully illustrates how Jesus Christ redeems our lives.

In the New Testament, John the Baptist announced the coming of the Messiah of Israel, depicting Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of God’s redemptive kingdom:

"His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:12, ESV)

Jesus himself, the Son of God, said that he came to give himself as a ransom for many:

"...even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28, ESV)

The same concept appears in the writings of the Apostle Paul:

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25, ESV)

The Bible's Theme Is Redemption

Biblical redemption centers on God. God is the ultimate redeemer, saving his chosen ones from sin, evil, trouble, bondage, and death. Redemption is an act of God's grace, by which he rescues and restores his people. It is the common thread woven through much of the New Testament.

Biblical References to Redemption

Luke 27-28
At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (NIV)

Romans 3:23-24
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Ephesians 1:7-8
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (NIV)

Galatians 3:13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (NIV)

Galatians 4:3–5
In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (ESV)


By his sacrificial death, Jesus Christ paid for our redemption.


  • The Moody Handbook of Theology, by Paul Enns
  • The New Compact Bible Dictionary, edited by T. Alton Bryant
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Zavada, Jack. "What Does Redemption Mean?" Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, learnreligions.com/what-is-redemption-700693. Zavada, Jack. (2020, August 28). What Does Redemption Mean? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-redemption-700693 Zavada, Jack. "What Does Redemption Mean?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-redemption-700693 (accessed June 1, 2023).