The Bible is a book about redemption. God wants to communicate this story to us through His Word. He does this by giving us many smaller stories that illustrate the wonderful truth of the redemption provided through His Son, Jesus Christ.
There are at least three words in the Bible which are translated “redeem.”
- One means to buy or purchase. The concept is in the purchase of a slave. He is bought to be owned as property. Christ redeemed us in this sense so that we belong to Him.
- Another word translated redeemed means to buy something from something for another purpose. Again, we are purchased by Christ from the bondage of sin for the purpose of freedom in Him.
- The third word carries the idea of a purchase that pays off a debt. A price that is necessary to secure the freedom of someone or something. Christ paid our sin debt.
As you read these redemption stories you can see one, two, or all three of these meanings in each of them. The Bible is full of stories about redemption. These are but a few.
Noah – Genesis 6-8
One of the greatest stories of redemption in the Old Testament is the story of Noah . God warned of a coming judgment. This was going to be a world-wide punishment. Those who would repent of their sins and believe in the warnings of Noah were welcome to board the ark before the flood waters began to fall.
After 120 years of preaching the only people who stepped onto the ark were Noah and his family. Though there was room for many more people in the ark, only eight were saved.
Redemption was offered to all who were willing to repent and believe. However, few accepted the offer.
Abraham and Isaac – Genesis 22
God asked Abraham  to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Throughout the whole process of going to the mountain to sacrifice, Isaac was obedient and Abraham was hopeful. Abraham fully expected to sacrifice his child on the altar, but he was also confident in the fact that God could raise his child from the dead.
What Abraham did not expect was that God had a completely different plan in mind. Moments before Abraham thrust the knife into his child, God provided a sacrificial ram to take the place of Isaac. God redeemed Isaac with this ram. It is an example of how that God redeems us with the sacrifice of His Son.
Ruth – Ruth 1-4
The book of Ruth  teaches many lessons. But the overall story is one of redemption.
A Hebrew family moved to a foreign land. Ruth married into this family; but, tragically, all the men died. Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, move back to the land of Israel. Ruth then became the foreigner in a strange land.
In an effort to provide for her mother-in-law, Ruth went to gather grain in the fields. She met the wealthy land owner where she had been working. This man, Boaz, happened to be a near kinsman to Naomi. But, there was another family member who was an even closer relative.
As a close relative, the second man had the responsibility to care for Naomi and Ruth. He even possessed the right to marry the beautiful young lady. But he neither wanted the responsibility nor the right. Boaz approached the closer kinsman with the willingness to assume the responsibility for the family and the right to marry Ruth. The man accepted and Ruth joined Boaz in marriage.
The Bible calls Boaz the kinsman redeemer. He bought the responsibility to care for the ladies and the right to marry Ruth. Even as a foreigner, this redemption into the family of Israel put Ruth into the lineage of King David and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Potter – Jeremiah 18:1-6
Jeremiah the prophet was instructed to go to a potter’s house. At the house he saw the potter make a pot that was not quite to his liking. The potter pushed the malleable pot into a ball of clay once again. Then he proceeded to remake the pot into something better.
God likened the pot to the people of Israel. He said that He was the potter. God told Jeremiah that as the maker and molder of the nation of Israel, God had the authority to shape the nation as He pleased.
God’s ownership over Israel means that He cares for them. Like the potter, God lovingly molds His people into a vessel that He is proud to display.
Lost Sheep – Luke 15:1-7
When the religious crowd of Jesus’ day complained that He was spending too much time with the sinners of society, Jesus told a few redemption stories. He started with the story of the lost sheep.
A man owned 100 sheep. But, one day while away from home, one of the sheep was lost. He secured the 99 sheep and went in search of the single lost sheep. He carried the lost sheep gently back to the 99.
Jesus said that the man went home and threw a feast in honor of the fact that his sheep was found—it was redeemed. Jesus’ application to the religious crowd was that lost sheep (sinners) need to be found. There is rejoicing in heaven over their salvation. The ones who are religious and see no need in repentance and salvation will not be celebrated in heaven because they have not received the redemption provided by Christ.
Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-32
Jesus told this story shortly after telling the story of the lost sheep.
A rich man had two sons. One day the younger son went to his father and asked for his inheritance. He was leaving home. It is apparent that the boy did not have a good relationship with his father. Though his father loved him, the young man felt like he would be better off without the constraints of the family.
After a time he ran out of money. He had spent it all on entertainment and frivolity. Because of a famine in the land he was in an even more desperate situation. He went to work for a farmer feeding pigs. Eventually he was even eating with the pigs. The young man decided that it would be better to return to the house of his father as a servant than to starve away from home.
When he neared his home he was met by his father. The older man had been watching and waiting for his son’s return. The father gladly welcomed him home , not as a servant, but as a son. A feast was made. A robe and a ring were given to the son to attest to his position in the family. Though he had gone away, his father accepted him back with no change in his status as a son.
Saul of Tarsus – Acts 9:1-22
On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus encountered the Lord. Saul knew very well who Jesus Christ was. But up until that time Saul did not believe that Jesus was the Redeemer promised by God. That day, on his way to capture Christians and take them to prison, Saul saw Jesus for who He really was.
The man who had brought so much persecution to the early church was redeemed by the love of Christ. Saul was later known by the name Paul. This is the man who we call the Apostle Paul. He was responsible for spreading the true Gospel of Jesus throughout the known world in his time
Your Favorite Redemption Story
There are many more stories of redemption in the Bible. Leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite one.
Want to read more about Saul of Tarsus? Take a look at this article, also written by David:
Resource – The Holy Bible, King James Version. YouTube video “Redeemed Medley” by Greater Vision