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Transgression (3900) (paraptoma from para = aside + pipto = fall) is literally a falling aside or beside to stumble on something (so as to loose footing) and in its figurative ethical usage (all uses in the NT) it describes a "false step", a violation of moral standards or a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the right way to live. Paraptoma is a false step out of the appointed way, a trespass on forbidden ground, a stepping out of line of true conduct, a deviation from truth and uprightness. Paraptoma describes what a person has done in transgressing the will and law of God by some false step or failure. Paraptoma is akin to parapipto, to fall beside a person or thing, to fall away, to deviate from the right path, or to turn aside (see note Hebrews 6:6). The basic idea of paraptoma is that of stumbling or falling so as to lose one's footing The NAS translates paraptoma with 2 words, either as transgression or trespass (derived from Old French - tres =across [Latin - trans] + passer = to pass. Thus trespass means to make inroads upon the property, territory, or rights of another and implies an unwarranted, unlawful, or offensive intrusion). The Hebrew word (pesha' - 6588) translated as “trespass” means “a stepping aside from the (correct) path” (Ge 31:36; Ex. 22:9), but the Septuagint does not use paraptoma to translate pesha'. Thayer writes that paraptoma means 1. properly, a fall beside or near something; but nowhere found in this sense. 2. tropically, a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed (R. V. trespass, `differing from hamartema in figure not in force' Vine writes that paraptoma primarily “a false step, a blunder” (para, “aside,” pipto, “to fall”), then “a lapse from uprightness, a sin, a moral trespass, misdeed,” is translated “fall” (KJV) in Romans 11:11 (note), of the sin and “downfall” of Israel in their refusal to acknowledge God’s claims and His Christ; by reason of this the offer of salvation was made to Gentiles... (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson) Paraptoma conveys the idea of a false step and so is translated a transgression (transgress in English means to to go beyond or overstep a limit or boundary and is from Latin trans- across + gradi = to step). There is a subtle distinction between sin and transgression -- The idea behind transgression is that we have crossed a line, challenging God's boundaries. The idea behind sin is that we have missed a mark, God's standard that calls for perfection, every time! NIDNTT says that in Classical Greek... the noun paraptoma (Polybius onwards) means oversight, error, mistake (unintentional). Here the originally fig. sense was that someone deviated to the one side or the other. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan) ISBE says that trespass means... To pass over, to go beyond one’s right in place or act; to injure another; to do that which annoys or inconveniences another; any violation of law, civil or moral; it may relate to a person, a community, or the state, or to offenses against God. The Hebrew 'asham ("sin"), is used very frequently in the Old Testament when the trespass is a violation of law of which God is the author. (ISBE Article) ISBE comments that... As in Levitical law and Jesus’ teachings, Paul noted that a trespass can have corporate implications. The entire human race experienced vicariously the trespass of Adam (Ro 5:15 note). In like manner, because of the trespass of Israel the message of salvation through Jesus came to the Gentiles (Romans 11:11 note). (Bromiley, G. W. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans) Vincent has this note on paraptoma used in Matthew 6:14 writing that... The Lord here uses another word for sins, and still another (hamartias) appears in Luke’s version of the prayer, though he also says, “every one that is indebted to us.” There is no difficulty in supposing that Christ, contemplating sins in general, should represent them by different terms expressive of different aspects of wrong-doing. This word is derived from parapipto, to fall or throw one’s self beside. Thus it has a sense somewhat akin to hamartia, of going beside a mark, missing. In classical Greek the verb (parapipto) is often used of intentional falling, as of throwing one’s self upon an enemy; and this is the prevailing sense in biblical Greek, indicating reckless and willful sin (see 1 Chr 5:25; 10:13; 2 Chr 26:18; 29:6, 19; Ezek. 14:13; 18:26). It does not, therefore, imply palliation or excuse. It is a conscious violation of right, involving guilt, and occurs therefore, in connection with the mention of forgiveness (see notes Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1, 2:5). Unlike parabasis (transgression), which contemplates merely the objective violation of law, it carries the thought of sin as affecting the sinner, and hence is found associated with expressions which indicate the consequences and the remedy of sin (see notes Romans 4:25; Romans 5:15; 5:17 Ephesians 2:1) (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament). Paraptoma is used 19 times in the NT... Matthew 6:14 (note) "For if you forgive men for their transgressions, (false steps or faults against others) your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:1 (note) "But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (false steps or faults against God where the repetition in this way brings out the severity of faults against others.) Mark 11:25 "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. (against whom one transgresses here is not specified). Romans 4:25 (note) He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 5:15 (note) But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:16 (note) And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. Romans 5:17 (note) For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:18 (note) So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 5.20" class="scriptRef">Romans 5:20 (note) And the Law came in that the transgression (speaking here of the totality of sin) might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more (Comment: Bauder in NIDNTT writes that "As in the OT, it is used as one of several words for sin, but emphasizes strongly the deliberate act (only in Romans 5:20 is it used of a universal fact) with its fateful consequences. Hence, figuratively it means an action through which man falls and loses the position that God gave him. Thus trespasses committed by one man against another directly affect man’s relation to God and in the final judgment provide the standard by which he is judged (Matt. 6:14 f. par. Lk. 11:25f.). Thus a man must be helped to put any failure right (Gal. 6:1). The first sinful act at the beginning (Rom. 5:15ff.; cf. Wis. 10:1) brought in its train a mass of sin and woe (Rom. 5:18,20), and even death (5:15, 17f.), and that in such a way that even before his physical death man was in the power of death (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13). Thus Christ was given up to death (Rom. 4:25) in order that we might receive forgiveness for our sins (2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13). According to Rom. 11:11f., Israel’s fall consists in its rejection of the gospel.) (Ibid) Romans 11:11 (note) I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Romans 11:12 (note) Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 2 Corinthians 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Ephesians 1:7 (note) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, Ephesians 2:1 (note) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2:5 (note) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Colossians 2:13 (note) And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, There are 14 uses of paraptoma in the Septuagint (LXX) -Job 35:15; 36:9; Ps 19:12; 22.1" class="scriptRef">22:1; Ezek 3:20; 14:11, 13; 15:8; 18:22, 24, 26; 20:27; Dan 4:27; 6:4, 22; Zech 9:5 Psalm 19:12 Who can discern his errors (Lxx = paraptoma - transgressions? Acquit me of hidden faults. Spurgeon comments on this passage writing that David's question is its own answer. It rather requires a note of exclamation than of interrogation. By the law is the knowledge of sin, and in the presence of divine truth, the psalmist marvels at the number and heinousness of his sins. He best knows himself who best knows the Word, but even such an one will be in a maze of wonder as to what he does not know, rather than on the mount of congratulation as to what he does know. We have heard of a comedy of errors, but to a good man this is more like a tragedy. Many books have a few lines of errata at the end, but our errata might well be as large as the volume if we could but have sense enough to see them. Augustine wrote in his older days a series of Retractations; ours might make a library if we had enough grace to be convinced of our mistakes and to confess them. (Spurgeon's note) Ezekiel 14:13 (note) "Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing (ma'al - 4603) unfaithfulness (ma'al - 4603), and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it, and cut off from it both man and beast (Comment: In Ezekiel parapipto and paraptoma are used repeatedly and almost always translate the Hebrew verb ma'al which describes the breaking or violation of religious law as a conscious act of treachery, the victim of this breach being God.) Might increase (4121) (pleonazo from pleion = more) means to cause to increase and suggests an abundance. It means to become more and more so as to be present in abundance. Guzik has an interesting illustration of the effect of the Law writing that... The flaws in a precious stone abound when contrasted with a perfect stone, or when put against a contrasting backdrop. God’s perfect law exposes our flaws, and makes our sin abound. There is another way that the law makes sin abound. Because of the sinfulness of my heart, when I see a line drawn I want to cross over it. In this sense, the law makes sin abound because it draws many clear lines between right and wrong that my sinful heart wants to break. Therefore, the law makes me sin more - but not because there is anything wrong in the law, only because there is something deeply wrong in the human condition. Regarding the law coming that transgression might increase, Spurgeon comments that... It was the practical result of the giving of the law that men became greater sinners than they were before, and it was the design of the law that they should see themselves to be greater sinners than before. The law is the looking-glass in which we see our spots, but it is not the basin in which we wash them away. The law has a provoking power, for such is-the perversity of our nature that, no sooner do we hear the command, “You shall not do so-and-so,” than at once we want to do it. Our nature is very much like quicklime. Throw cold water upon it, and straightway it generateth heat; acting, as it were, against the nature of that which is cast upon it. (Ed note: Quicklime is Calcium oxide which reacts with H2O to form calcium hydroxide, this reaction called slaking giving off much heat and causing the solid to nearly double in volume.) So, the more God says to a man, “Thou shalt,” the more the man says, “I will not;” and the more God says to him, “Thou shalt not,” the more doth the man resolve that he will. “The law entered, that the offense might abound.” It reveals the depravity and disobedience of human nature, and lays us low before God as convicted criminals. Just as, sometimes, a physician may give a medicine which causes the disease to be more fully developed in order to its ultimate cure, so does the law make a discovery of our sin to us, and it also excites us to greater sin, by reason of the enmity of our nature, which is opposed to the law of God, and becomes the more active the more clearly the law is known, even as Paul says, further on in this Epistle (see note Romans 7:7), “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Expository Note on Romans 5:6-21) Denny explains that... The offense is multiplied because the law, encountering the flesh, evokes its natural antagonism to God, and so stimulates it into disobedience (cp Galatians 3:19 [note] and the development of this idea in Romans 7:7 [note] "...I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."). As the offense multiplied, the need of redemption, and the sense of that need were intensified. (Nicoll, W Robertson, Editor: Expositors Greek Testament: 5 Volumes. Out of print. Search Google) Although the Mosaic Law is not flawed (Ro 7:12 - note), its introduction into God's plan of salvation caused man’s sin to increase (Ro 7:8, 9, 10, 11-see notes Romans 7:8; 7:9; 7:10 ; 7:11). Thus the Law made men more aware of their own sinfulness and their inability to keep God’s perfect standard (Ro 7:7-note Gal 3:21,22). Ultimately, the Law was to serve as a tutor to drive sinners to Christ (Gal 3:24) (See related topic Purpose of the Law). In short, the Law then is good and holy and righteous because it demonstrates to man his need for a Saviour. This section also speaks to the Jew who might ask, “What is the law for if it is not to make us holy?” The answer is that the Law is... the necessary yardstick of God’s holiness which served to bring out into sharp relief the guilt of man in revolt against God, showing him the hopelessness of attempting to earn salvation by good works (Gleason L. Archer). To reiterate, the law came not to make a man a sinner, but to show him how great a sinner he is. The Amplified Version puts it this way... But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. (Eerdmans) The New Living Translation paraphrases it simply that... God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were (NLT - Tyndale House) The LAW was given that we might see the AWFULNESS of our SIN! The law made sin even more sinful by revealing what sin is in stark contrast to God's holiness. Cranfield explains the purpose of the Law writing that... If sin, which was already present and disastrously active in mankind, though as yet nowhere clearly visible and defined, were ever to be decisively defeated and sinners forgiven in a way worthy of the goodness and mercy of God and recreated in newness of life, it was first of all necessary that sin should increase somewhere among men in the sense of becoming clearly manifest. So the law was given in order that transgression might increase, in order that in one people (for their own sake and also for the sake of all others) sin might be known as sin...When this is realized, it is possible to see that the law, even in its apparently negative and disastrous effects is, for Paul, the instrument of the mercy of God.... (Cranfield, C. E. B Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Vol 1: Ro 1-8.; Volume 2: Romans 9-16) Douglas Moo explains... The fact and power of ‘sin’ introduced into the world by Adam has not been decreased by the law, but given a new dimension as rebellion against the revealed, detailed will of God; sin has become ‘transgression’ (Moo, Douglas J. The Epistle to the Romans. New International Commentary on the New Testament Series. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996 ) (Bolding added) Hendriksen adds that Paul is not saying... that God became the cause of sin’s increase. It means that it was God’s will and purpose that in light of His demand of perfect love (cf. Mt 22:37, 38, 39, 40; Mk 12:29, 30, 31; Luke 10:27) man’s consciousness of sin might become sharpened. A vague awareness of the fact that all is not well with him will not drive man to the Savior. So the law acts as a magnifying glass. Such an instrument does not actually increase the number of dirty spots on a garment. It makes them stand out more clearly and reveals many more of them than one can see with the naked eye. Similarly the law causes sin to stand out in all its heinousness and ramifications. In connection with this see also Ro 3:20; 7:7, 13; Gal. 3:19. Moreover, this increase in the knowledge of sin is very necessary. It will prevent a person from imagining that in his own power he can overcome sin. The more he, in light of God’s law, begins to see his own sinfulness and weakness, the more also will he thank God for the manifestation of His grace in Jesus Christ. Result: where sin increases, grace increases also. Not as if these two forces, sin and grace, were equal. On the contrary, grace not only pardons; as verse 21 shows, it does far more: it brings “everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Truly, where sin increases, grace increases all the more! (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book or Logos) The law entered the world because sin had entered the world, for just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (see note Romans 5:12). But from Adam to Moses, even though death reigned (they all died anyway--even though they did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did -- Ro 5:14 see note), sin was not "imputed" (Ro 5:13-note) because men had only a vague intuitive knowledge of God's law even as Paul alluded to in Romans 2:14,15 (note), explaining that ... when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them (Romans 2:14; 15) J Vernon McGee adds an interesting comment writing that... When God gave the Law, He gave with it a sacrificial system. Then later on Christ came to fulfill that part of it also. In other words, God has given to the human race, a lost race, an opportunity to be delivered from the guilt of sins—not the nature of sin. You and I will have that old sin nature throughout our lives. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson) (See synopsis of flesh for elaboration on this evil disposition still present even in the mortal bodies of every believer) When the law was finally given through Moses, however, sin could be seen in full measure in its ugliness. Nevertheless, God's grace was still more abundant, capable of redeeming and saving even the most flagrant sinner. Spurgeon sums up this section on the purpose of the Law by noting that... A stick is crooked, but you do not notice how crooked it is until you place a straight rule by the side of it. You have a handker­chief, and it seems to be quite white. You could hardly wish it to be whiter. But you lay it down on the newly fallen snow, and you wonder how you could ever have thought it to be white at all. So the pure and holy law of God, when our eyes are opened to see its purity, shows up our sin in its true blackness, and in that way it makes sin to abound. But this is for our good, for that sight of our sin awakens us to a sense of our true condition, leads us to repen­tance, drives us by faith to the precious blood of Jesus, and no longer permits us to rest in our self-righteousness Ray Stedman wrote... I remember reading one of Charles Spurgeon's sermons some time ago; he told about spending some time down in a little hut in Italy. When he went into the hut he noticed that the floor was as dirty as he had ever seen a floor in his life. After he had lived there a day or two he could stand it no longer, and he sent for a cleaning woman to come in and scrub the floor. The woman came in and she scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, but the longer she scrubbed, the worse it got. Finally, he began to investigate and he discovered that there wasn't any floor -- there was nothing but the bare ground -- and all the efforts of the water to clean it only made it worse!... There is nothing wrong with the law, but this is the thing that we must always understand: Law has no ability, none whatsoever, to change the change the heart -- to change the desire. It cannot touch what goes on inside, and all the rules of life only increase the frustration and rebellion with which we face life. And, at best, the Law simply makes you content with outward conformity. (Read his full sermon To Reign in Life) BUT WHERE SIN INCREASED GRACE ABOUNDED ALL THE MORE: ou de epleonasen (3SAAI) e hamartia hupereperisseusen (3SAAI) e charis: (Ro 6:1; 2Chr 33:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Ps 25:11; Isa 1:18; 43:24,25; Jer 3:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14; Ezekiel 16:52,60, 61, 62, 63; 36:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32; Micah 7:18,19; Mt 9:13; Lk 7:47; 23:39, 40, 41, 42, 43; Jn 10:10; 1Cor 6:9, 10, 11; Eph 1:6, 7, 8; 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 1Ti 1:13, 14, 15, 16; Titus 3:3, 4, 5, 6, 7) But (de) - Introduces a blessed contrast (notes)! Whenever you encounter a "but" (yet, on the other hand, etc), stop and ask questions like "What is being contrasted? Why is the the writer making a 'change of direction?'", etc. As you practice this simple discipline, you are in effect learning how to observe the Biblical text which is the crucial component of inductive Bible study, a "method" of Bible study which can totally transform the way you read the Scriptures! Ray Stedman... "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" {Ro 5:20RSV}, Paul says. That is, if Law does this to you, it is all the more certain that the life of Jesus Christ indwelling you shall create in you a desire to live more and more to the glory of God inwardly. You see, Christ's life is more powerful than Adam's life. That is what the meaning of the "much more" is all the way through, simply because God is greater than man. You cannot control the old Adam inside -- neither can I -- but Christ can! (Ibid) THE SINFULNESS OF SIN Sin (266) (hamartia) literally conveys the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow (in Homer some hundred times of a warrior hurling his spear but missing his foe). Later hamartia came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Hamartia in the Bible signifies a departure from God's holy, perfect standard of what is right in word or deed (righteous). It pictures the idea of missing His appointed goal (His will) which results in a deviation from what is pleasing to Him. In short, sin is conceived as a missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is the Triune God Himself. As Martin Luther put it "Sin is essentially a departure from God." Ryrie adds that sin "is not only a negative idea but includes the positive idea of hitting some wrong mark." See discussion of the verb form - hamartano See discussion of "the Sin" = Sin "personified" as a principle Disclaimer - Note that SIN is a major theological teaching in the Scriptures and the present discussion is but a feeble attempt to provide the reader with a "starting point" from which one can expand their concept of sin as one reads, studies and meditates on this vitally important topic in the Scriptures. Remember that a "low view of sin" will lead to a "low view of salvation". In fact a failure to understand the true nature of sin as God sees it (and describes it in Scripture), can result in a false understanding of salvation (cp Mt 7:21-note, Mt 7:22, 23-note - Observe that they "practice [present tense = continually, as their lifestyle, as the general "direction" of their life] lawlessness" which 1Jn3:4 defines as sin!). Sinners need to be confronted boldly and head on with the sinfulness of their personal sins against the holy God, so that they might from a sense of anguish, deep despair and utter hopelessness and helplessness, be motivated (the Spirit of course "superintends" the entire process, Jn 3:5, 6, 7, 8, Jn 16:8, 1Pe 1:2-note, 2Th 2:13, Titus 3:5-note) to humble themselves and cry out to God and His Son for salvation (cp Peter when he knew he was drowning - Mt 14:30! The Philippian jailer - Acts 16:30, 31, Zaccheus - Lk 19:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Two men - one who had a true understanding of sin - Lk 18:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Cp OT pictures - Ps 3:7, 8, 6:4, 55:16, Jer 17:14, Naaman - 2Ki 5:10, 11, 12, 13, 14) From a Biblical perspective hamartia describes the missing of the ultimate purpose and person of our lives, that purpose being to please God Who is also the Person the sinner misses! Hamartia is a deviation from God's truth or His moral rectitude (righteousness). It is a deviation from the straight line, marked off by the "plumb line" of God's perfect, pure Word. As someone has well said ultimately sin is man's (foolish) declaration of independence of God, of the "apostasy" of the creature from his Creator! Woe! John Blanchard aptly describes sin as that which "defiles man and defies God" or as he states in another way "Sin is moral mutiny by man". The Puritan John Bunyan minced no words when he defined sin as... the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love. Calvin echoed Bunyan declaring that... All wickedness flows from a disregard of God. Tozer stated that... The essence of sin is rebellion against divine authority. F F Bruce described sin when he wrote that... There is something in man—even regenerate man—which objects to God and seeks to be independent of Him. John Bunyan wrote that... Sin is the dare of God's justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love. Spurgeon on sin... Sin drives men mad. Against their reason, against their best interests, they follow after that which they know will destroy them. It is not the nature of sin to remain in a fixed state. Like decaying fruit, it grows more rotten. The man who is bad today will be worse tomorrow. Sin is a thief. It will rob your soul of its life. It will rob God of his glory. Sin is a murderer. It stabbed our father Adam. It slew our purity. Sin is a traitor. It rebels against the king of heaven and earth. Hamartia is what happens when we err (err is from Latin errare = to wander!) which means to wander from the right way, to deviate from the true course or purpose and so to violate an accepted standard of conduct. Ryrie notes that... Sin may also be defined as against the character of God (from Ro 3:23, where the glory of God is the reflection of His character).... Certainly the chief characteristic of sin is that it is directed against God. (This may be expressed in relation to God’s Law as well.) Any definition that fails to reflect this is not a biblical one. The cliché that categorizes sins as against self, against others, or against God fails to emphasize the truth that all sin is ultimately against God (Ps 51:4; Ro 8:7). (Ryrie, C. C.. Basic Theology: Moody Press) Easton's Bible Dictionary says sin... is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God" (1John 3:4; Ro 4:15), in the inward state and habit of the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether by omission or commission (Ro 6:12-17; 7:5-24). It is "not a mere violation of the law of our constitution, nor of the system of things, but an offence against a personal lawgiver and moral governor who vindicates his law with penalties. The soul that sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and calls down the righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it two inalienable characters, (1) ill-desert, guilt; and (2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines. (Read Multiple Dictionary Articles on Sin) Eerdmans Dictionary says that sin is... In essence, the failure or refusal of human beings to live the life intended for them by God their creator. Sin (See Sin principle) is personified as a king, a master or monarch in Paul's writings (eg, Ro 6:12, 13, 14-note) and you can mark it down that... Sin always ruins where it reigns! Wayne Grudem defines sin as... any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature. Sin is here defined in relation to God and his moral law. Sin includes not only individual acts such as stealing or lying or committing murder, but also attitudes that are contrary to the attitudes God requires of us. (Grudem, W. A.: Systematic Theology- An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine). (Bolding added) See Twenty Reasons Not to Sin! Hamartia in the Bible means to miss God's mark as an archer misses the “bull’s eye” and ultimately to miss the true purpose and end of our lives which is God Himself. Hamartia is the word used most frequently in the NT for sin. Other Sin synonyms parakoe, anomia, paranomia, parabasis, paraptoma, agnoema and hettema. Sin is any violation of God’s righteous character. It is anything we say or do or think or imagine or plan that does not meet God’s standard of perfection. Scriptural definitions of "sin" include... 1Jn 5:17 = unrighteousness Jn 16:9 = do not believe in Jesus Jas 4:17 = knows right thing to do & does not do it 1Jn 3:4 = lawlessness Ro 3:23-note = falling short of the glory of God NIDNTT says that in classic Greek hamartia... originally meant to miss, miss the mark, lose, not share in something, be mistaken. The Greek view of a mistake is intellectually orientated -- hamartano is the result of some agnoia, ignorance. The cognate noun is hamartia (Aesch. onwards), mistake, failure to reach a goal (chiefly a spiritual one). The result of such action is hamartema, failure, mistake, offense, committed against friends, against one’s own body, etc. From these was derived (in the 5th cent. B.C.) the adjective and noun hamartolos, that thing or person that fails; in Aristoph. it occurs as a barbarism used with a deprecatory and ironic ring. hamartetikos (the better form) is also uncommon and late. The root hamart-, with its meaning of fail, produced many popular compounds, e.g. hamartinoos, madman... In the LXX two words, hamartia and adikia, represent between them almost the whole range of Heb. words for guilt and sin... The NT uses (hamartano and cognates) as the comprehensive expression of everything opposed to God. The Christian concept of sin finds its fullest expression and its deepest theological development in Paul and John... Hamartia is always used in the NT of man’s sin which is ultimately directed against God.... Jesus used the OT and Jewish concept of sin that was familiar in the world around him. This becomes clear from the fact that in the Synoptic Gospels the nouns hamartia and hamartema are found almost exclusively in the context of the forgiveness of sins. The verb is often used absolutely, i.e. in its usual and familiar sense (cf. Mt 18:15; Lk 17:3, 4.). The use of the nouns chiefly in the plural shows that the dominant idea is that of individual faults committed against the law or one’s brother... Paul almost always uses the word hamartia in the singular. Sin is almost a personal power which acts in and through man (Ro 5:12, 21; 6:6, 17; 7:9, 10, 11ff.) (See Sin "personified"). The same is also true of sarx, flesh (See Flesh "personified") (Gal. 5:19, 24), and thanatos, death (Ro 6:9b). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan or Computer version) Cremer says that hamartia... would seem to denote primarily, not sin considered as an action, but sin considered as the quality of action, that is, sin generically...Sin is not merely the quality of an action, but a principle manifesting itself in the conduct of the subject" Ralph Earle observes that... Paul prefers to use other words for sinful acts, reserving hamartia largely for the generic idea of sin as a principle, what we call the carnal nature. How-ever, in the plural, as here, it may denote sinful acts as such. Kenneth Wuest adds that... The pagan Greeks used it of a warrior who hurls his spear and fails to strike his foe. It is used of one who misses his way. Hamartia is used of a poet who selects a subject which it is impossible to treat poetically, or who seeks to attain results which lie beyond the limits of his art. The hamartia is a fearful mistake. It sometimes is employed in an ethical sense where the ideas of right and wrong are discussed, but it does not have the full significance of the biblical content of the word. In the moral sphere, it had the idea of missing the right, of going wrong. In the classics, its predominating significance was that of the failure to attain in any field of endeavor. Brought over into the NT, this idea of failing to attain an end, gives it the idea of missing the divinely appointed goal, a deviation from what is pleasing to God, doing what is opposed to God's will, perversion of what is upright, a misdeed. Thus the word hamartia means a missing of the goal conformable to and fixed by God. It is interesting to note that in Romans the word dikaiosune which means "conformity to the standard" appears as the opposite of hamartia, a missing of the standard set by God (Ro 6:16, 17, 18). (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos) Stahlin says that the NT uses hamartia to denote the determination of human nature in hostility to God. Thayer (abbreviated and modified)... “a failing to hit the mark”. In Greek writings first, “an error” of the understanding. Second, “a bad action, evil deed.” In the NT always in an ethical sense, and (1) Equivalent to "to hamartanein" = “a sinning,” whether it occurs by omission or commission, in thought and feeling or in speech and action: Ro 5:12, 13,20; held down in sin = Ro 3:9; Ro 6:1; Ro 6:2; Ro 7:7; 2Co 5:21; Ro 6:11; to break the power of sin, Ro 8:3; body as the instrument of sin, Ro 6:6;the craft by which sin is accustomed to deceive, He 3:13 (see discussion of The Deceitfulness of Sin); the man so possessed by sin that he seems unable to exist without it, the man utterly given up to sin, 2Th 2:3. In this sense hamartia as a power exercising dominion over men (“sin as a principle and power”) is rhetorically represented as an imperial personage (Ed: Sin is like a "King" who demands loyalty and obedience!) in the phrases Ro 5:21; Ro 6:12, Ro 6:14; Ro 7:17, Ro 7:20; Ro 6:6; Jn 8:34; Ro 6:17 The dictate of sin or an impulse proceeding from it, Ro 7:23; 8:2; 1Co 15:56; (the prosopopoeia [rhetorical device in which a speaker or writer communicates to the audience by speaking as another person or object. Literally from Greek roots = "a face, a person, to make"] occurs in Ge 4:7). Thus, hamartia in sense, but not in signification, is the source whence the several evil acts proceed. See related discussion of Sin which is "personified" as a principle or propensity inherited from Adam (2) “that which is done wrong,” committed or resultant “sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act” (1Jn 3:4); a. generally: Jas 1:15; Jn 8:46 (where hamartia must be taken to mean neither “error,” nor “craft” by which Jesus is corrupting the people, but “sin” viewed generally; the thought is, ‘If anyone convicts me of sin, then you may lawfully question the truth and divinity of my doctrine, for sin hinders the perception of truth’); so that he did not commit sin, He 4:15; Jn 8:34; 1Jn 3:8; 2Co 11:7; 1Pe 2:22; To have sin as though it were one’s odious private property, or to have done something needing expiation, equivalent to to have committed sin, Jn 9:41; 15:22,24; 19:11; 1Jn 1:8 (of one who has committed murder, Euripides); very often in the plural (hamartiai) (in Synoptic Gospels singular occurs but once Mt 12:31); 1Th 2:16; Jas 5:16; Re 18:4, 5, etc.; Jas 5:20; 1Pe 4:8; Jas 5:15; also in the expressions in which the word does not of itself denote the “guilt or penalty of sins,” but the sins are conceived of as removed so to speak from God’s sight, regarded by him as not having been done, and therefore are not punished. Thou wast covered all over with sins when thou wast born i.e. didst sin abundantly before thou wast born, Jn 9:34; to die loaded with evil deeds therefore unreformed, Jn 8:24; still to have one’s sins, namely, unexpiated, 1Co 15:17. b. “some particular evil deed”: Acts 7:60; Mt12:31; 1Jn 5:16 (3) collectively, “the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many”: Jn 1:29 Jn 8:21; He 9:28. (4) abstract for the concrete, equivalent to hamartolos Ro 7:7; 2Co 5:21 he treated him, who knew not sin, as a sinner. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon Daniel Doriani writes that... Sin is a riddle, a mystery, a reality that eludes definition and comprehension. Perhaps we most often think of sin as wrongdoing or transgression of God's law. Sin includes a failure to do what is right. But sin also offends people; it is violence and lovelessness toward other people, and ultimately, rebellion against God. Further, the Bible teaches that sin involves a condition in which the heart is corrupted and inclined toward evil. The concept of sin is complex, and the terminology large and varied so that it may be best to look at the reality of sin in the Pentateuch first, then reflect theologically. (Click to read the full discussion of "Sin" in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology) Webster's 1823 Dictionary has a "bibliocentric" definition of sin as... The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not actions only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts, purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. Hamartia - 173x in 150v - Mt 1:21; 3:6; 9:2, 5, 6; 12.31" class="scriptRef">12:31; 26:28; Mk 1:4, 5; 2:5, 7, 9, 10; Lk 1:77; 3:3; 20-Luke.5.21" class="scriptRef">5:20, 21, 24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">23, 24; 7:47, 48, 49, 11:4; 24:47; Jn 1:29; 8:21, 24, 34, 46; 9:34, 41; 15:22, 24; 16:8, 9; 19:11; 20:23; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 7:60; 10:43; 13:38; 22:16; 26:18; Ro 3:9-note, Ro 3:20-note; Ro 4:7, 8-note; Ro 5:12-note, Ro 5:13-note, Ro 5:20, 21-note; Ro 6:1, 2-note, Ro 6:6, 7-note, Ro 6:10-note, Ro 6:11-note, Ro 6:12, 13, 14-note, 17" class="scriptRef">Ro 6:16, 17-note, Ro 6:18-note, Ro 6:20-note, Ro 6:22-note, Ro 6:23-note; Ro 7:5-note, Ro 7:7, 8, 9-note, Ro 7:11-note, Ro 7:13-note, Ro 7:14-note, Ro 7:17-note, Ro 7:20-note, Ro 7:23-note, Ro 7:25-note; Ro 8:2, 3-note, Ro 8:10-note; Ro 11:27-note; Ro 14:23-note; 1Co 15:3, 17, 56; 2Cor 5:21; 11:7; Gal 1:4; 2:17; 3:22; Ep 2:1-note; Col 1:14-note; 1Th 2:16-note; 1Ti 5:22, 24; 2Ti 3:6-note; He 1:3-note; He 2:17-note; He 3:13-note; He 4:15-note; He 5:1-note, He 5:3-note; He 7:27-note; He 8:12-note; He 9:26-note, He 9:28-note; He 10:2, 3-note, He 10:4-note, He 10:6-note, He 10:8-note, He 10:11, 12-note, He 10:17, 18-note, He 10:26-note; He 11:25-note; He 12:1-note, He 12:4-note; He 13:11-note; Jas 1:15-note; Jas 2:9; 4:17; 5:15, 16, 20; 1Pe 2:22-note, 1Pe 2:24-note; 1Pe 3:18-note; 1Pe 4:1-note, 1Pe 4:8-note; 2Pe 1:9-note; 2Pe 2:14-note; 1Jn 1:7, 8, 9; 2:2, 12; 3:4, 5, 8, 9; 4:10; 5:16, 17; Rev 1:5-note; Rev18:4-note, Rev 18:5-note. NT uses of hamartia summarized - Romans 48x = 28% (Ro 6 = 16x; Ro 7 = 15x); Hebrews 25x = 14% (He 10 = 10x); John 17x = 10% (Jn 8 = 6x); 1John 17x = 10% (1Jn 3 = 6x); Luke 11x = 6%; Acts 8x = 5%; Matthew 7x = 4%; James 7x = 4%. NAS = sin(96), sinful(2), sins(75). Hamartia - 7.13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13" class="scriptRef">13.9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">9.37" class="scriptRef">37" class="scriptRef">377x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - 6.16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">16" class="scriptRef">16.5" class="scriptRef">5.25" class="scriptRef">25.18" class="scriptRef">18" class="scriptRef">18" class="scriptRef">18" class="scriptRef">18.9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">9.15" class="scriptRef">15.16" class="scriptRef">Ge 15:16; 12" class="scriptRef">12" class="scriptRef">12.8" class="scriptRef">8" class="scriptRef">8.20" class="scriptRef">18:20; 14" class="scriptRef">14.34" class="scriptRef">34" class="scriptRef">34" class="scriptRef">34" class="scriptRef">34" class="scriptRef">34.9" class="scriptRef">9" class="scriptRef">20:9; 41:9; 26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26" class="scriptRef">26.21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">21" class="scriptRef">42:21; 19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">19.17" class="scriptRef">17" class="scriptRef">17" class="scriptRef">50:17; 10.17" class="scriptRef">Ex 10:17; 20:5; 28" class="scriptRef">28" class="scriptRef">28" class="scriptRef">28.43" class="scriptRef">28:43; 14" class="scriptRef">14" class="scriptRef">14" class="scriptRef">29:14, 36; 30" class="scriptRef">30" class="scriptRef">30" class="scriptRef">30" class="scriptRef">30.10" class="scriptRef">30:10; 32.21" class="scriptRef">32:21, 30ff, 34; 34:7, 9; Lev 4:3, 8, 14, 20f, 23-Lev.4.35" class="scriptRef">23ff, 28f, 32ff; 5:1, 19" class="scriptRef">19" class="scriptRef">5ff, 17; 6:17, 25" class="scriptRef">25" class="scriptRef">25, 30; 7:7, 18, 37; 8:2, 14; 24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">9:2f, 7f, 10, 15, 22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22; 10:16f, 19; 12:6, 8; 14:13, 19, 22, 31" class="scriptRef">31" class="scriptRef">31" class="scriptRef">31" class="scriptRef">31" class="scriptRef">31; 15:15, 30; 16:3, 5f, 9, 11" class="scriptRef">11" class="scriptRef">11" class="scriptRef">11, 15f, 21, 25, 27" class="scriptRef">27" class="scriptRef">27, 30, 34; 19:8, 17, 22; 20:17, 19; 22:9; 23:19; 24:15; 26:18, 21, 24, 28, 46" class="scriptRef">39ff; Nu 5:6f, 15, 31; 6:11, 14, 16; 7:16, 22, 28, 34, 40, 46, 52, 58, 64, 70, 76, 82, 87; 8:8, 12; 9:13; 12:11; 14:18f, 34; 15:24f, 27, 31; 16:26; 18:1, 9, 22, 32; 27:3; 28:15, 22, 30; 29:5, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 38; 30:15; 32:23; Dt 5:9; 9:18, 21; 15:9; 19:15; 21:22; 23:21f; 24:15f; 30:3; Josh 22:20; 1Sa 2:17; 12:19; 14:38; 15:23; 1Kgs 8:34ff; 12:30; 13:34; 14:22; 15:3, 26, 30, 34; 16:13, 19, 26, 31; 22:52; 2Kgs 1:18; 3:3; 10:29, 31; 12:16; 13:2, 6, 11; 14:6, 24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:21f; 21:16f; 24:3; 1Chr 21:3; 2 Chr 6:25ff; 7:14; 25:4; 28:13; 29:21, 23f; 33:19; 36:5; Ezra 6:17; 8:35; Neh 1:6; 9:2, 37; 10:33; Job 1:5; 7:21; 10:6; 13:23, 26; 14:16; 22:5; 24:20; 31:33; 34:37; 42:9f; Ps 10:15; 19:13; 25:7, 11, 18; 32:1f, 5; 38:3, 18; 40:6; 51:2f, 5, 9; 59:3, 12; 78:38; 79:9; 85:2; 89:32; 103:10; 109:7, 14; 141:4; Pr 5:22; 10:16, 19; 12:13; 13:6, 9; 14:34; 15:27; 20:9; 21:4; 24:9; 26:11, 26; 28:2; 29:16, 22; Eccl 10:4; Isa 1:4, 14, 18; 3:9; 5:18; 6:7; 13:11; 14:21; 22:14; 27:9; 30:1, 13; 33:24; 38:17; 40:2; 43:24; 44:22; 50:1; 53:4ff, 10ff; 55:7; 57:17; 59:2f, 12; 64:7, 9; 65:2, 7; 66:4; Jer 5:25; 14:7; 15:13; 16:10, 18; 18:23; 30:14, 16; 31:30, 34; 32:18; 33:8; 36:3; 50:20; Lam 1:8; 3:39; 4:13; Ezek 3:20; 16:51f; 18:14, 24; 21:24; 23:49; 28:17f; 33:14, 16; 36:19; 39:23; 40:39; 42:13; 43:10, 19, 21f, 25; 44:29; 45:17, 22f, 25; 46:20; Da 4:22, 27, 33f; 6:4, 22; 8:12f, 23; 9:13, 16, 20, 24; 11:32; Hos 4:8; 8:11, 13; 9:9; 13:12; Amos 3:2; 5:12; Mic 1:5, 13; 3:8; 6:7, 13; 7:19; Zech 14:19 Charles Spurgeon said "Sin is the mother and nurse of all evil, the egg of all mischief, the fountain of all bitterness, the root of misery." Puritan John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress), described sin like this - Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power and the contempt of His love. Godly people, such as Bunyan, have always been able to articulate just how horrible and damaging sin really is. Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine - Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or ambition and try desperately to fulfill it without God. Not only is it sin, it is a perverse distortion of the image of the Creator in us. All these good things, and all our security, are rightly found only and completely in him. Nothing seems to expose the sin nature more than two boys tugging on opposite ends of a toy fire truck, each one screaming, "Mine! Mine!!" John Blanchard -No sin is to be regarded as small, because the God who forbids all sin is so great...Sin keeps us from knowing the true nature of sin...To understand the deceitfulness of sin, compare its promises and its payments. (Source: This quote and several of the quotes in this section are from John Blanchard's book which is highly recommended as the single best compendium of Biblically sound quotations available - The Complete Gathered Gold: A Treasury of Quotations - also on Jerry Bridges asks "What is sin?" It is often described as “missing the mark”—that is, failure to live up to the rigorous standard of God’s holy law. But the Bible makes it clear that it is much more than that. In Leviticus 16:21, sin is described as transgression; literally, as rebellion against authority. In the prophet Nathan’s confrontation of David over his sins of adultery and murder, Nathan describes sin as a despising of both God’s Word and God himself (2Sa 12:9–10). And in Nu 15:30–31, Moses characterizes sinners as acting “with a high hand,” meaning defiantly. Therefore, we can conclude that sin is a rebellion against God’s sovereign authority, a despising of his Word and his person, and even a defiance of God himself. It is no wonder Paul wrote that because of our sin, we were by nature objects of God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3). We would like to think that, as believers, such descriptions of sin no longer apply to us. We look at the gross and obvious sins of society around us, and we tend to define sin in terms of those actions. We fail to see that our anxiety, our discontentment, our ingratitude toward God, our pride and selfishness, our critical and judgmental attitudes toward others, our gossip, our unkind words to or about others, our preoccupation with the things of this life, and a whole host of other subtle sins are an expression of rebellion against God and a despising of his Word and person. The truth is that even the most mature believers continue to sin in thought, word, deed, and especially in motive. We continually experience the inward spiritual guerilla warfare Paul describes when he states, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Gal. 5:17). That is why it was necessary for the apostle Peter to exhort us to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet. 2:11-note). This, then, is the doctrine of sin. Because of Adam’s sin as representative of the entire human race (Ed: Discussed fully in Ro 5:12-21-see notes), we are born with a sinful nature and as objects of God’s wrath. We then aggravate our condition before God with our personal sins, whether they be the gross, obvious sins, or the subtle sins we too often tolerate in ourselves and in our Christian circles. And it is in view of this truth of the doctrine of sin that we should understand Paul’s words, “Christ died for (Ed: In our place, on our behalf, as our representative, as our substitute for) our sins.” (1Cor 15:3-note) It is with this understanding of the nature and reality of sin that we should understand the words of the angel to Joseph, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21 - Ed note - Hebrew is Yehoshua, contracted to Joshua = Yeshua = Yehowshuwa = he will save = Yahweh or Jehovah -I Am- + yasha = saves = "Jehovah saves." The Name also may be contracted simply to Yeshua, which is the Hebrew word for "salvation," frequently used in the Old Testament. It is also equivalent to "Joshua." Appropriately, Mt 1:21 is the first use of "save" in the NT.). Christ died for our sins. This phrase suggests two ideas—substitution and sacrifice. Christ died in our place as our substitute and representative. Just as God appointed Adam to act as representative of all humanity, so he appointed Jesus Christ to act on behalf of all who trust in him. (The Great Exchange- My Sin for His Righteousness- Jerry Bridges, Bob Bevington - this book is worth reading - it is heavy but needed in our day of a softening of the "Gospel Message.") "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion."

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