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"Insights" from the New Testament Greek

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By Bob Jones, Northside Bible Church, Jacksonville Florida


Contrary to many modern teachings, all sin is not the same in the New Testament. There are at least 7 different Greek words for sin, each one having a different shade of meaning. This subject is so large that we only have space, in one devotion, to introduce the Greek words for sin:

1. "Hamartia" = "To miss the mark", as in archery competition, and therefore fail to receive the prize, or blessing. This is the general Greek word for sin, and is used 221 times. "Hamartia" encompasses the other 6 words for specific sins, in the sense that in all types of sin, we are "missing the mark". Example: Heb. 12:1, KJV = "the sin (hamartia) which doeth so easily beset us". We are aiming at God's best, but miss it.

2. "Hettema" = "Diminishing what should have been given full measure". Example: 1 Cor. 6:7, KJV = "there is a fault (hettema) among you". We all need God's constant help on this one! Placing emphasis on the things that please God will bring God's wonderful blessings into our life.

3. "Paraptoma" = "Falling when one should have stood". This one is actually an unintentional slip. I guess you've experienced this, as I have, and we are surprised when we realize we've sinned. Example: Eph. 1:7, KJV = We have "the forgiveness of sins (paraptoma), according to the riches of His grace". Even our "slip-ups" are forgiven.

4. "Agnoeema" = "Ignorance when one should have known". Example: Heb. 9:7, KJV = "the errors (agnoeema) of the people". This passage speaks of how the Old Testament was a shadow of the New Testament. Ignorance is no excuse, that's why we stay in the Word!

5. "Parakoe" = "To refuse to hear and heed God's word". Example: 2 Cor. 10:6, KJV = "disobedience". In this passage, Paul urges us to hear God's Word and to bring every thought into captivity for Christ.

6. "Parabasis" = "To intentionally cross a line". Example: Heb. 2:2, KJV = "every transgression (parabasis) & disobedience (parakoe) received a just recompense of reward". When God "draws a line in the sand", we can suffer great loss of rewards and blessings by intentionally "stepping over".

7. "Anomia" and "Paranomia" = "Lawlessness, or willfully breaking God's written rules". Example: Titus 2:14 KJV = Jesus gave himself for us in order to "redeem us from all iniquity (anomia)". God has "rules" to bless us, not to curse us. Someone said "the Bible is the owner's manual for human beings". Can you imagine trying to operate something as complicated as a human life without referring to the owner's manual? That would be just asking for frustration and failure!

The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus paid the price in full for ALL our sins! Isn't our Heavenly Father wonderful! He has given us an owner's manual; permanently forgiven us all 7 types of sins; He disciplines us to correct us when we commit the sins Jesus paid for on the Cross; He restores us to fellowship when we honestly confess our sins to Him; and, as we maintain fellowship with Him, He empowers us to live a life pleasing to Him!

God has provided everything we need to live a successful Christian life, and in Phil. 3:15 , He even promises to reveal to us the areas where we are falling short.

Bob Jones