New Living Translation
They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. [NLT]Acts 4:7-13
The Literal Version of the Bible
And standing them in the midst, they were inquiring, By what sort of power, or by what sort of name did you do this? Then being filled of the Holy Spirit, Peter said to them, Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we are being examined today on a good work of an infirm man, by what this one has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, in this name this one stands before you whole. “This One is the Stone counted worthless by you the builders, the One who has come to be into the Head of theCorner” Psa. 118:22 and there is salvation in no other One, for neither is there any other name under Heaven having been given among men by which we must be saved. But beholding the boldness of Peter and John, and having perceived that they are untaught and uneducated men, they marvelled. And they recognised them, that they were with Jesus. [LITV]Acts 4:7-13
Now it is time to ponder deeper matters. Here are my focus questions:
- Is healing in focus or is something more at stake?
- It seems there is something more going on here than just healing.
- Was the man healed or saved?
- Do you want to know how he was healed or is there something else meant by the literal “by what this one has been healed?”
Did it strike you as strange that there was mixture of healed and saved in the translations? Note that it is not one translation using “healed” and the other using “saved”. Both are used in each translation I have chosen. It is this kind of thing that makes many of us stick to one translation and not use any other. “Ian, I only get confused when I consult other translations because of the differences. Better just to stick to my trusty NIV or my old KJV.” As one woman told me during a seminar in New Zealand, “If the King James was good enough for Paul, then it is good enough for me.” It took me all my concentration not to burst out laughing at her comment. (I won’t explain it. I will leave you to find out why.) As I teach followers of Deeper Bible, the various translations are your friend, not your enemy. Learn to use them properly and increase your awareness of the depth of the Bible text before you.
Where there are words that are changing in the text of the Bible between different translations, it is almost always a sign of multiple meanings at the word level in the original language. No language on earth perfectly matches the way concepts are packed into words when we compare ideas across languages. For instance in English we have a word “funny” – it can mean “humorous / makes me laugh” or it can also mean “strange”. In Indonesian the word “lucu” is used for “funny” and “cute” but certainly doesn’t include the sense of “strange” or “peculiar”. All these concepts are present in both languages but they are combined and packed into words in different ways. It is this feature of language which makes it hard to express ideas which have words with double meanings. The problem is not found in expressing the idea. The problem is found in keeping the package the same so that one word expresses two ideas which are the same as is expressed in the original language. Most times it is impossible to preserve double meanings perfectly across two languages.
That is exactly the problem found in this passage. Was the man healed or was he saved? No, he was “sodzo’ed”.
Here are three key verses in the NASB version
I am sure to some of you this looks awfully confusing and you are about ready to abandon reading this Gems believing it to be too complicated but IT IS NOT COMPLICATED. Notice I have coloured the key words for you. It is these four words which lie behind the concepts expressed in the translations above and why they are switching between healed and saved. The green numbers are references to the Greek words found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. So whether you can read Greek or not, you can still find out what each word behind the English text is in Greek. That is a very useful tool to have at your fingertips. You will find this information in any translation in E-Sword which has a + attached. The plus (+) tells you that each word is keyed to Strong’s Concordance which then allows you to look up the meaning of the word in Greek. All you have to do is hold your cursor over the green number in E-Sword and the meanings of the word in question will appear. Now you have to admit that is useful.
There are four words in focus here:
Notice how all four combine to give us this combination of physical health and wellness, combined with salvation, deliverance, save, moral safety, being made whole. Both concepts are in all words. They are closely bound together. So the translations have actually done us a good deed by showing us there is more to this idea than first meets the eye. This is all deliberate on Peter’s part. Yes the man was healed physically but so much more has taken place as Peter describes it. Hence the use of the word saved and salvation as well. Note how the Scribes and Pharisees and Teachers of the Law reacted when Jesus said he could grant salvation and pardon from sins. They reacted vehemently to Christ even suggesting he could save people from their sins. There is only one who can save people from their sins – God! Exactly the point. (See Luke 5:20-24)
Because this may be thought by you the readers, to be heavy and more difficult to understand, I will take it slowly and gently, building piece by piece on what we know. To be sodzo’ed is to be made whole physically and spiritually. It is to be healed bodily and healed in your inner being. What we would call inner and outer healing these days. This links to the idea of what I shared with you in the concept of zoe, life as God intended it (See Gem 1403). It is the life of the Age to Come. It is God restoring to human kind, life as it was intended in Eden at Creation which includes a restoration of relationship with God. This can only be possible as a result of what Christ did on the cross for us. Being saved is restoration to full and complete wholeness. This notion of multiple levels of wholeness is also found in the Hebrew word shalom. Do you remember I told you in Gem 1413 – The first item on God’s agenda is saving your soul for eternity. That is His paramount purpose, full and complete restoration to spiritual wholeness. This is encapsulated in the notion of salvation and healing. Healing encompasses more than the healing of the outer body. As I told you above, healing is also the restoration to wholeness of our inner being – the hurts, the experiences we have been through which leave us impaired. The inner hurts we feel which keep us bound by the limitation placed on us by our feelings of inadequacies, bitternesses toward others, unforgiveness we harbour in our hearts, guilt over our inability to be free of the sin sickness and separation from the God who made us. That is the essence of our problem and inability to live as God would have us live. When God touches all of these areas and frees you “from this body of death” that is true healing and salvation.
Allow me to tell you something that might seem shocking to some of you but which is nonetheless true. Have you ever wondered about the teaching we hear from many preachers concerning 1 Peter 2:24? The verse reads, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” We are frequently told that “physical healing for our bodies is in the atonement; it is ours by right. We just have to claim our physical healing and it is ours.” Suffice to say, it is not the healing of our physical bodies, the outer man, that is in focus here in 1 Peter 2:24. Remember the ideas above and allow me to tell you that the passive form of the Greek verb [iaomai] (to be healed) is always focused on what we would now call inner healing. God is more concerned with our inner sickness, our sin sickness than He is about anything else. The first item on God’s agenda is saving your soul for eternity. He has dealt with your sickness; the prime part of your being He wishes to heal is your inner being. That is what the passive of the Greek verb to heal is always focused on. That is why Paul says, “No, even if our outer man is wearing out, our inner man is being renewed day by day. This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory, far beyond any comparison, because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.” (2 Cor 4:16-18) It is your inner man that God gives first priority to. It is this part of you that is guaranteed healing by virtue of Christ’s work on the cross, not your outer body.
Don’t misunderstand me. I totally believe in God’s miraculous healing of the body. However there are too many instances where faithful people persevere in prayer for sick relatives and friends and yet they are not healed. We are too quick to believe that the problem is their faith, because ‘healing is ours by right, it is in the atonement’. When we think that way, we put the guilt on those who are not healed, claiming that it is their sin which prevents the healing. Realising that God places a higher priority on the healing of your inner being than your outer shell helps us to put things in the right perspective. Take some time to consider all this. We will stay with this passage in the following Gems as I continue to unpack all that is contained within these few verses and highlight some other key concepts.
When God puts a tear in your eye, it’s because He wants to put a rainbow in your heart.Netty Gultom
The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God; the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.John Stott
There was no redemptive plan for the fallen angels. There did not have to be one for us either. Tremble with thankfulness.John Piper
The one who saved your soul longs to remake your heart. His plan is nothing short of a total transformation from the inside out.Ian Vail
O LORD, if You heal me, I will be truly healed; if You save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for You alone!Jeremiah 17:14