Saved was the second album of Dylan's "Christian trilogy", following his conversion to born-againChristianity. It expanded on themes explored on its predecessor Slow Train Coming, with gospel arrangements and lyrics extolling the importance of a strong personal faith.
The album hit No. 3 on the UK charts, reached No. 24 on the US charts and did not go gold. CCM Magazine described the album as an "open declaration of Dylan's deepening faith." Critical reaction to the album was mixed. Robert Christgau awarded the album a "C+", which is described by Christgau as "most likely a failed experiment or a pleasant piece of hackwork". Writing for Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder praised Dylan's backing band, but felt that several songs were hampered by overtly religious messages, although he did single out "In the Garden" for having a "lovely, billowing arrangement". Loder stated that Dylan's efforts at a gospel album were not as remarkable as others "not just because he lacks the vocal equipment but because he's too inventive, too big for the genre", but summarised Saved as a gospel work with "some distinction".
The cover of Saved originally featured a painting by Tony Wright of Jesus Christ's hand reaching down to touch the hands of his believers. However, this cover was subsequently replaced by a painting of Dylan on stage performing during that time period in order to downplay the overtly religious nature of the original cover. It has since been changed back on some re-releases. A quote inside the sleevenotes reads: "'Behold, the days come, sayeth the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah' (Jeremiah 31:31)".