I am intrigued about the closure of this question regarding the usage of the word 'salvation' in the Old Testament in such a way that it would have the connotation of 'justification' as used in the New Testament.

This is, to me, a valid question and an interesting one.

I notice that there are now four requests to re-open this interesting question.


2 Answers 2


When I closed the question, this is what it asked:

Is the word "salvation" ever used in the New Testament 'justification' sense in the Old Testament?

Does the Old Testament use the word "salvation" in the New Testament sense of the word (obvious overtones in the Old Testament granted and notwithstanding), and how can we know?

This is not an exegetical question about any particular passage.

If you focus on the question title then it looks like a verse search question (which verses in the OT use 'salvation' to mean X?), which is what I closed it as.

If you focus on the question in the body then it can also be read as a word-study question.

Word-study questions are often borderline. I think they're a good idea when they're scoped to the use of a word within one book or perhaps one author (such as across Paul's letters.) Word-study questions across books from different authors are problematic. Consider, for example, a question asking about the use of 'justified' in Paul and James. When that question is asked it's usually because people actually want a systematic theology answer to how those two authors together contribute to the doctrine of justification (and the role that works etc play in it.) And even if we took all word study questions as genuine exegetical questions rather than theological ones in disguise, they can still be too massive to tackle in this site's Q&A format. A word-study on 'sin', or 'love', or 'church'? Countless authors have written long books about all of these words.

'Salvation' or 'save', by a naive search of an English concordance (ignoring any questions of different Hebrew roots) occurs in the OT over 300 times! This is not a word family that occurs so infrequently that it can be adequately discussed in just a few thousand words. So I think that even if you don't think it's a verse search question then you'd have to vote to close it as a too broad word-study question.

Since then, the question has been edited so that it now says this:

Does the Old Testament (always? ever?) use the word "salvation" in the New Testament sense of the word (salvation from sins and/or eternal damnation), such that the words of Mary (who lives on the cusp of the New Testament era) in Luke 1:46-47 necessitate she is speaking about salvation from sin necessarily, and not from something temporal?

Now it's not even a word-study question, but instead is trying to circle from the NT to the OT and back to the NT!

I think the question could be made to be on-topic by dropping the request to systematise the OT's use of 'salvation', and instead focusing on Mary's statement, and asking what we can learn from the context of the OT for what Mary's statement meant.

  • Appreciated and accepted. Thank you.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 12:15

Many voted to close, "text search" might have been an afterthought for some VTC users. This is an inside look as to the thought flow of how something like this can happen...

From Steve recently on a similar Meta question:

it usually takes five community members to vote on a question closure before the earliest votes 'age away' (see details in the Help article). Moderators have the power to unilaterally close or open questions, but typically only add our final vote after a few others have already accumulated, as we're not fond of unilateral action and the site is community-owned.

That principal applied to the closure of this question also.

That question also had several other close votes, which could have caused it to be closed even without moderator action. Those users don't appear to be active and it is difficult to ask questions to specific users in a post, so we could only speculate about their reasons also.

Limited "reasons" allowed

One factor to consider is that closing questions requires a very limited multiple choice selection. It seemed to be low-quality, IMV because it lacked specific clarity. Without having that clarity, without getting the needed improvement even with a long history of comments and action, it needed to be closed for many reasons. The nearest fit would have been the "text-search" reason. But, that does not mean that this reason is the best way to describe the entire consideration for closure.

My own take

I did not see the question as anything relating to "please do a concordance search for me", which is how I take a "text search" question. Nor was the OP asking for any comprehensive system. Accordingly, just like the moderator who closed, I saw the question as redeemable, though maybe with different POV thoughts.

I saw the user as trying to understand some continuity in what a specific word is supposed to mean, even if under seemingly different circumstances. It doesn't presuppose a "contradiction" nor does it ask for a theological conclusion. "Text searching" never would have crossed my mind—unless it had come time to close because the OP hadn't made the necessary improvements yet. Then, if I were the mod looking at it, and I had to choose a close reason, I probably would have used the same reason.

  • In some ways, this may call us to review and refine our own methods. It could have been handled better, but I myself am not even sure how yet. That is what our Meta is for, which is why questions like this one are very helpful.
    – Jesse Mod
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 1:23

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