The Fall and Sin: What We Have Become as Sinners

By Marguerite Shuster | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 2
Biblical Vocabulary Relating to Sin

More than fifty words in the Hebrew (if one includes specific as well as generic terms) and more than a dozen in the Greek are used in the Bible to describe sin.1 The very breadth and scope of the vocabulary gives a sense of how large a place sin has in the biblical view of things. Of the Hebrew roots,

, , and are the most commonly used (and are sometimes used together, e.g., Exod. 34:7; Ps. 32:5). All of them have a secular as well as a religious sense, and none of them is exactly equivalent to "sin." means to be mistaken, to be found deficient or lacking, to miss a specific goal or mark. It does not take into account the inner motive of an act but only its formal quality, and hence the biblical writers sometimes add the phrase ("with a high hand"; see, e.g., Num. 15:28–30) to take the idea out of the simply formal sphere. It is closely related in its root meaning to guilt, punishment, and the compensation (sin or guilt offering) it requires. is the least formal of the terms. The noun should be translated "rebellion" and involves the willful, knowledgeable violation of a norm or standard; and sometimes, in the context of a challenging attitude towards God, it has a sense of violating something with numinous value, something holy. means "error" or "iniquity" and is the most religious of the three terms;

1. These observations, as well as the following discussion, rely heavily upon Robin C.
Cover and E. P. Sanders, "Sin, Sinners," Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6:31–47; W. Günther and
W. Bauder, "Sin," New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols., ed. Colin
Brown (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978): 3:573–87; Quell, Bertram, Stählin, and
Grundmann, "άμαρτάνω, κτλ," TDNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964–1974), 1:267–316.

-263-

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The Fall and Sin: What We Have Become as Sinners
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Part I - The Fall of Humankind 1
  • I - Introduction: Primal History Viewed as Covenantal 3
  • 2: The Root of the Fall 37
  • 3: The Nature of the Fall 49
  • 4: Consequences of the Fall 62
  • 5: The Divine Purpose and Moral Evil 84
  • Part II - The Doctrine of Sin 97
  • 6: The Nature of Sin 99
  • 7: Sin and Sins 135
  • 8: Original Sin 159
  • 9: Problems of Freedom 182
  • 10: Civil Righteousness 212
  • Appendix I - Physical Death as Existential Reality 230
  • Appendix 2 - Biblical Vocabulary Relating to Sin 263
  • Subject Index 266
  • Name Index 271
  • Scripture Reference Index 275
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