Saviour or Savior?

by David J. Stewart

Unscholarly Nonsense

There is NO difference in meaning between "Saviour" and "Savior."  I get religious nuts e-mailing me, criticizing me for using the modern spelling of Savior.   One woman claimed that there are many "saviors," but only one "Saviour."  That sounds real cute, but you cannot back that claim with the Bible.  The 1611 King James Bible uses the spelling "Saviour."  However, it surely does NO injustice to the Lord Jesus Christ to use the modern spelling of "Savior."  If you'll look up the meanings of both spellings, you'll find the same definitions.   When I started, I opted for the spelling of "Savior" only because it was shorter.  I had never heard anyone make a fuss over the two words, so I didn't see a problem.  When it was brought to my attention, I prayed much and asked the Holy Spirit was the truth of the matter was.  After weeks of thinking over the matter, the Holy Spirit gave me perfect peace that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the modern spelling of "Savior."  My decision was based upon lots of research into the matter.  I couldn't find anything differentiating between the two spellings. 

If you think this is an issue, I challenge you to show me anything from the great theologians of the Christian faith--such men as Merrill F. Unger or W.E. Vine.  You can show me nothing.  The greatest preachers in America didn't make an issue of it... Dr. Jack Hyles, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, etc.  No, it's just some idiots on the internet who don't have anything better to do.  And yes, I use the word "idiots."  If you think that is unkind, then stop being an idiot.  Jesus said in Matthew 23:24, "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."  My boss used to say... "If you have time to complain about what your co-workers aren't doing, then you must not have enough work to do yourself."  I mean, if you want to fight against the modern corrupt bibles, then at least make sure you know what you're talking about.  There are many trifle side-issues today that are nonsense, and this is one of them. 

It's important that we, as Christians contending for the faith, don't become so desperate in our attempt to discredit the works of the Devil that we resort to nonsense.  I recently read a book by a Christian author who exposes the evils of rock music.  One of his criticisms against rock musicians is that they're all "skinny and malnourished looking."  Frankly, he's nuts to say that.  Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead was well upholstered!  Have you ever heard of FATS DOMINO?  To say bizarre things like that only discredits the rest of what you are saying. 

Another good example of unscholarly nonsense are those critics of the New International Version (NIV) bible who use Isaiah 14:12 to attack it.  The King James Bible uses the word "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12.  The NIV changes it to "morning star."  In Revelation 22:16 Jesus is also called the "morning star."  Thus, some critics of the NIV claim that the NIV calls the Devil "Jesus" in Isaiah 14:12.  HOWEVER, if you'll look at the proven and beloved Strong's Exhaustive Hebrew and Greek Concordance of the Bible, you'll find that the word "heylel" for Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 means... "morning star."  It's this type of desperate, but cute, unscholarly nonsense that give the NIV crowd ammunition to fire back at us.  2nd Corinthians 11:14 plainly states that Satan appears as "an angel of light" to deceive the lost.  Why is it so surprising that Isaiah 14:12 refers to Satan as the light.

Please don't misunderstand me, the NIV is straight out of the pits of Hell.  However, to attack it with frivolous claims is counterproductive.  The fact that the word "begotten" was removed from John 3:16 should be evidence enough that something is very wrong with the NIV bible.

Flaws in Saying that "Savior" is Wrong to Use

Now I know some nuts are going to criticize me (and they have) because I condemn ALL of the "modern" corrupt Bibles, while still using the "modern" spelling of Savior myself.  That said, there are a couple major flaws in their reasoning:

1) I am NOT corrupting or changing the Bible.  I am not adding or subtracting from the meaning of God's Word.  I am simply using the modern spelling of a Word which does NOT change it's meaning.  The problem with modern Bible versions is not necessarily the modernization of the language; but mostly, their outright butchering of the original context (like the removal of the word "begotten" from John 3:16).  I realize the importance of "thee" and "thou" and other old English words in the King James Bible; BUT, Savior is not in that category.  Again, I have looked through several dictionaries and Bible concordances and I see NO difference in meaning between "Savior" and "Saviour."  I wouldn't even take the time to write an article to address this issue, but I've had several people e-mail to inquire about this.  I don't see a problem with using "Savior."  If some people think the "u" should be in Saviour, fine, then use it.  It's really NOT an issue.  If you think it is, prove it.

2) What about other languages?  In the Spanish Bible, "nombre" means Savior or Saviour.  The same is true in Japanese, 救助者.  It's only the quirks of the English language that enable these unscholarly nitpicks to make an issue of nothing.  Please don't misunderstand me--I think little things ARE important; but we must also incorporate wisdom into choosing what battles we are going to fight.  You've got people in this world today who are willing to fight 'til the end over the most frivolous issues--like saving the seals--while millions of children continue to be silently murdered by abortion.  As Dr. Bill Grady has often wisely said... "Fundamentalists are having too much fun and not enough da mental."

3) The hypocrisy and Unscholarly foolishness of their claim.  Many websites use the word "Lord," concerning our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Well, back in the old days, "Lord" was spelled "Lorde."  So are you also going to say that there are many "lords," but only one "Lorde?"  Also, all website urls and e-mail addresses are typed in lowercase lettering.  So if I want to pinch pennies and complain about every little silly thing, then I might also point out that it is utterly disrespectful to the Lord Jesus Christ to refer to Him as "lord" or "jesus" with lowercase lettering.  How about a website called "" (just as an example here).   I could say that such a website url is causing people to blasphemy God by using a lowercase "g."  Does not 2nd Corinthians 4:4 declare that Satan is the "god" (lowercase g) of this world?  Yes, it does!  So are you calling God, Satan, by using the term "god" in a website url?  Of course not, but this is along the same crazy thinking as the people who say that there are many Saviors, but only one Saviour.

4) Most Independent Fundamental Baptists today use both terms.  I've checked various Baptist websites and have noticed that BOTH Savior and Saviour are widely used amongst fellow believers.  If you have a problem with Savior, then don't use it; but you certainly cannot condemn your fellow believers for using "Savior" instead of "Saviour."  People who fuss over this issue are simply barking up an empty tree.

5) Someone wrote me, claiming that the 1933 Webster's Dictionary makes a distinction between Saviour and Savior; however, here is link to Webster's Dictionary online...

As you will find, Webster's Dictionary makes no distinction between the two words. 

Someone accused me of not believing in jot and tittle inspiration, i.e., Matthew 5:18 says "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."  The "jot" was the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, yodh.  It resembles an apostrophe mark.  The "tittle" or hook was the smallest mark distinguishing one Hebrew letter from another.  This strong affirmation of the Law tells us that we are not free to ignore the Old Testament.  Paulís statement in Romans 6:14 that "we are not under Law but under grace" must be understood in conjunction with Jesus' statement that he came to fulfill the Law.  Of course, Jesus was including the New Testament as well, as It is all His Word. 

But how does Matthew 5:18 apply to the King James Bible today?  It means that the King James translators had an unbelievable undertaking in attempting to transliterate the original Hebrew and Greek languages into English (i.e., trying to convey every word).  It was difficult.  So difficult that they felt the need to ADD words to convey the proper meaning of the original languages.  These added words in our beloved King James Bible are in ITALICS.  The added words were placed in italics by the 48 men who gave us the King James Bible, because they were honest and scholarly in their magnificent work.  You won't find any italics in the NIV!  It is IMPOSSIBLE for the King James Translation to have the EXACT same amount of words as the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.  So the claim that the King James Bible must have an exact amount of words or letters is absurd.  DO you mean to tell me that God's Word doesn't exist in any other language?  If it does, it has a different amount of Words than the King James.  The truth is that the King James Bible faithfully conveys the meaning of the originals, and I believe the work of translation was inspired by God.  There are an EXACT number of words in the original manuscripts, and not one jot nor tittle shall pass away until as be fulfilled. 

Please understand that when Jesus stated "one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," He WASN'T saying that future translations would have to have an EXACT number of Words.  Obviously this would be impossible!  Jesus was simply clarifying to His audience in Matthew 5:18 that He didn't come to destroy the Law, or the prophets; but to fulfill their message.  Yes, Jesus did stress the importance and integrity of God's Word; but He didn't mean that a translation would have to have an exact number of words to be "jot and tittle" inspired.  Like it or not, there's nothing in the Word of God which teaches "jot and tittle inspiration."  This is a term coined by some believers today.  It sounds cute, but it's not Biblical.  God promised to preserve his Word, not the exact number of words or letters. 

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying... I do believe that the King James Bible is God's PRESERVED Word in English, as promised in Psalm 12:6-8; however, it does NOT contain an EXACT number of words as compared to the originals.  In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."  That means I need an EVERY WORD Bible!  I believe that the King James Bible faithfully conveys every Word of the originals.  Some believers today would lead us to believe that God's Word ONLY exists in the English language.  If this be true, then why all the effort to translate the Bible into other languages (each having a vastly different amount of words and letters as compared to the King James).  I've read some crazy claims regarding translations, and we must be careful not to get caught up in them. 

I believe that the King James Bible is God's inerrant, infallible, inspired, preserved Word for today's English speaking people.  However, to claim that spelling "Saviour" as "Savior" violates Jesus' promise that not one jot nor tittle will pass away until all be fulfilled is the height of stupidity.  The Word "Savior" conveys the EXACT same meaning as the word "Saviour" in the minds of people today.  Every dictionary available today defines "Savior" the SAME exact way as it does "Saviour."  I DO believe that every jot and tittle of the originals have been preserved in the King James Bible; but the same could be said of a translation into a different language (which would contain a considerably different amount of words and letters).  No one can honestly claim that a translation MUST have an EXACT number of words or letters.

The "Saviour" Spelling Heresy