Liberty and Freedom

This is a subsidiary post of Sin and Enslavement; Truth and Freedom.

Subsidiary posts:

The words “freedom” and “liberty” are interchangeable.

When the Bible speaks of freedom, it is speaking of freedom from sin – not the freedom to sin.  It means we’ve been given liberty to serve God – not liberty from serving God.  People of the world think of freedom as autonomy – being independent of any authority other than self.  Yet the Bible teaches that this sort of autonomy is simply bondage to sin.  That is, we are either enslaved to God or enslaved to sin.  There is no third option., through its online Strong’s Concordance, reveals that the underlying Greek word (i.e. New Testament) for “liberty” and “freedom” is “eleutheria” (Strong’s 1657).  This word appears in the New Testament 11 times in 10 verses (Galatians 5:13 being the verse in which it appears twice).  Of these 10 verses, “freedom” is the translation 6 times, and “liberty” is the translation 4 times.  Though to our English ears these are different words, recognize that a Greek hearer would have heard the same word in all cases.

There is an additional occurrence of “liberty” in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 8:9), wherein the underlying Greek word is “exousia” (Strong’s 1849).

There is an additional occurrence of “freedom” in the New Testament (Acts 24:23), in which the underlying Greek word is “anesis” (Strong’s 425).

This makes a grand total of 12 verses in the New Testament in which the word “liberty” or “freedom” appear.  Of these 12, 10 involve the root Greek word “eleutheria” (Strong’s 1657) and they are shown below.  The purpose of this list is to help us see that the same basic idea is being conveyed even though two different English words are being employed.  Of course, “freedom” and “liberty” are generally synonymous in English, but this list makes the synonymity even more apparent.

The freedom/liberty being described in these verses is either a freedom/liberty from sin (Romans 8:21; 1 Peter 2:16; 2 Peter 2:19) or from the Law of Moses (1 Corinthians 10:29; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 2:4; 5:1, 13; James 1:25; 2:12).  (The misuse of freedom/liberty addressed in these verses is also addressed in Jude 1:4.)

Romans 8:21  –  freedom

1 Corinthians 10:29  –  freedom

2 Corinthians 3:17  –  liberty

Galatians 2:4  –  liberty

Galatians 5:1  –  freedom

Galatians 5:13  –  freedom, freedom

James 1:25  –  liberty

James 2:12  –  liberty

1 Peter 2:16  –  freedom

2 Peter 2:19  –  freedom

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