When it says in this verse "He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy ghost" following this theme of washing and renewing, those scriptures speak of a process (Ephesians 5:26-27; Romans 12:2). Also just looking at how 4982 in some other verses, is says shall save, so I am wondering if this could be translated with the sense of "be saved" or He saves us, by the washing...?

Titus 3:3-7 KJV

3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-4, it speaks of our degenerate condition, and how the kindness of God appeared by the coming of the lord, in verse 5 "not by any thing we have done, but by his mercy He saves us, (from the powers of this age, Ephesians 2:1-3), by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the holy ghost" (the process of sanctification). Verse 7 being justified by his grace (initial salvation), according to the hope of eternal life (being gloried at the Lord's appearing)

3 Answers 3


This is what I found on bible hub where it is used four times as saved.

Englishman's Concordance ἔσωσεν (esōsen) — 4 Occurrences

Matthew 27:42 V-AIA-3S
GRK: Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν ἑαυτὸν οὐ
NAS: He saved others; He cannot
KJV: He saved others; himself
INT: Others he saved himself not

Mark 15:31 V-AIA-3S
GRK: ἔλεγον Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν ἑαυτὸν οὐ
NAS: and saying, He saved others;
KJV: the scribes, He saved others;
INT: said Others he saved himself not

Luke 23:35 V-AIA-3S
GRK: λέγοντες Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν σωσάτω ἑαυτόν
NAS: at Him, saying, He saved others;
KJV: [him], saying, He saved others;
INT: saying Others he saved let him save himself

Titus 3:5 V-AIA-3S
GRK: αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ
NAS: He saved us, not on the basis of deeds
KJV: his mercy he saved us, by
INT: his mercy he saved us through

  • Does the construction of the sentence in Greek give any clues, because there are places where it is used of shall save? Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 21:22
  • If its used in the past sense, the only way it could make sense to me in the sentence, is he saved us by justifying us, making us heirs, which allows us to be washed, and renewed, in hope for the eternal life we will receive at the appearing of Christ. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 21:28
  • I think if we translate it as rescued, or delivered us, it makes more sense to the point. because its the spirits work that delivers us. we were delivered by the workings of the spirt. when we were justified. which deliverance continues. That's the best I got. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 21:41
  • 1
    @Thatwemaybe praiseofHisglory I cannot add anything about the construction of the sentence in Greek. In verse three it talks about how we were once foolish, stubborn, deceived and we are no longer like that, because of God, our Savior and His love for mankind appeared. It is only according to His mercy on us at this time that we have been washed, regenerated, renewed and justified by His grace, so will be heirs to age abiding life. I see it as a done deal others may see it differently. Titus 2:14
    – Sherrie
    Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 23:55
  • 1
    But you made me understand, we have been saved (past)how? by the washing (present). it makes more since to me now. Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 0:33

The pertinent word (translated "saved" in Tit 3:5) is ἔσωσεν (esosen) which is aorist indicative active form of the verb σῴζω = "I save".

Thus, the form of the verb in Tit 3:5 is essentially past tense - an act sometime in the past. The point of salvation here is the same as that in 1 Cor 6:11 where Paul is more detailed -

1 Cor 6:11 - And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Note that the point of personal salvation is described as:

  • the time when "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified"
  • that this is a past act
  • the word for washed is different Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 0:58
  • @ThatwemaybethepraiseofHisglory - they are closely related - one is λουτρόν (the noun) and the other is ἀπολούω (one form of the verb) which come from the same cognate root to wash.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 1:14
  • I noticed in the Kjv, it says "ye are washed" not "you were washed" which kind of gives the impression that this washing is what takes place in our relation as being in Christ. not necessary a past act, but rather God's working in us, as us being different now. is their any reason for the difference of rendering, and a leaning towards the translation you posted due to theological understanding, or is there a strong non- bias grammatical reason for the difference of translations? Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 21:51
  • @ThatwemaybethepraiseofHisglory - the verb in 1 Cor 6:11 is aorist indicative, meaning that it is in the past. (The KJV is not very particular about these things.) The present continuous would be "you are being washed". "are washed is still past tense. Further, the tense in 1 Cor 6:11 is middle voice which is another can of worms.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 22:01
  • Can you explain why you said, then tense being in the middle voice is another can of worms? Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 16:00

Yes, it is acceptable in English to understand that particular sentence as "he saves us", as the Greek aorist tense form for the verb allows this, and also the context which describes the fact, or a timeless truth (Gnomic sense). You can use such alternate ways in a paraphrase version. Only in recent decades that the scholars have begun to understand that ancient Greek verb is an aspect prominent language, rather than time. The act of Christ's sacrificial death has been described as the cause of our salvation, however, it is not an error to interpret the statement more from a timeless perspective. Such translation will help against potential abuse of Paul's teachings.

Merkle, Plummer defines Aspect as following, in the Going Deeper With New Testament Greek:

There is wide consensus in the relevant scholarly literature today that Greek, unlike English, is aspect-prominent. In other words, the Greek speaker or writer chooses to present an action from a certain subjective vantage point. This choice of perspective (verbal aspect) is more prominent in Greek verbs than the time at which the action is performed and/or the way in which the action is performed (i.e., the action’s objective or intrinsic nature).

Let’s step back to be clear on the most fundamental question: what is verbal aspect? Most NT grammarians concur on the basic definition. Constantine Campbell writes, “Verbal aspect refers to the manner in which verbs are used to view an action or state.” Stanley Porter defines verbal aspect as “a semantic (meaning) category by which a speaker or writer grammaticalizes a perspective on an action by the selection of a particular tense-form in the verbal system.” Buist Fanning’s definition is similar: “Verbal aspect in NT Greek is that category in the grammar of the verb which reflects the focus or viewpoint of the speaker in regard to the action or condition which the verb describes.” Kenneth McKay offers the following definition: “Aspect in ancient Greek is that category of the verb system by means of which an author (or speaker) shows how he views each event or activity he mentions in relation to its context.” From these definitions, it is clear that the central idea with regard to Greek verbal aspect is the subjective perspective or viewpoint from which an author communicates the action of a given verb

There are examples when tense is changed to convey a general gnomic sense, or interpreted that way. It is not exclusive to a tense form or the gnomic sense that we change the verb tense form in the target language to convey and interpret the meaning.

Gnomic Aorist

Occasionally the aorist tense-form is used to communicate a timeless or universal truth. In this case, the verb does not communicate that a particular event or state occurred but that it does occur (all the time). As such, it is often used to express axioms or proverbs. Because of this nuance, the gnomic use of the aorist is typically translated with a present tense verb.

ἐπὶ τῆς Μωϋσέως καθέδρας ἐκάθισαν οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι (Matt 23:2)
The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat (ESV)

ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς (Luke 7:35) wisdom is vindicated by all her children

οὐδεὶς ποτε τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν (Eph 5:29) no one ever hates his own flesh

ἀνέτειλεν γὰρ ὁ ἥλιος σὺν τῷ καύσωνι καὶ ἐξήρανεν τὸν χόρτον καὶ τὸ ἄνθος αὐτοῦ ἐξέπεσεν καὶ ἡ εὐπρέπεια τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἀπώλετο (Jas 1:11) For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed

ἐξηράνθη ὁ χόρτος καὶ τὸ ἄνθος ἐξέπεσεν (1 Pet 1:24) The grass withers, and the flower drops off

  • so how would you explain the meaning of the verse, in simple terms? Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 17:07
  • The verse is describing the event of God sending Christ, so he saved us out of his mercy. Where the saved term is used to describe Jesus' sacrificial mission, the reason for our salvation.
    – Michael16
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 17:12
  • but do you think it can be translated saves or "shall save" instead of saved? like 2 Cor.1:10. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 17:23
  • I mentioned that it you can use that way to understand, though translating like that would mean a lose paraphrase, not literal. Even though someone translates it "he saves us", the meaning would not change that he is talking about Jesus' coming and bringing the covenant and salvation. It wouldn't be a big deal, because in Greek, tense forms don't work strictly expressing time as in English.
    – Michael16
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 17:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.