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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words


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A — 1: ἁμαρτία

(Strong's #266 — Noun Feminine — hamartia — ham-ar-tee'-ah )

is, lit., "a missing of the mark," but this etymological meaning is largely lost sight of in the NT. It is the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity. It is used of "sin" as (a) a principle or source of action, or an inward element producing acts, e.g., Romans 3:9; 5:12,13,20; 6:1,2; 7:7 (abstract for concrete); 7:8 (twice),9,11,13, "sin, that it might be shown to be sin," i.e., "sin became death to me, that it might be exposed in its heinous character:" in the clause, "sin might become exceeding sinful," i.e., through the holiness of the Law, the true nature of sin was designed to be manifested to the conscience;

(b) a governing principle or power, e.g., Romans 6:6; "(the body) of sin," here "sin" is spoken of as an organized power, acting through the members of the body, though the seat of "sin" is in the will (the body is the organic instrument); in the next clause, and in other passages, as follows, this governing principle is personified, e.g., Romans 5:21; 6:12,14,17; 7:11,14,17,20,23,25; 8:2; 1 Corinthians 15:56; Hebrews 3:13; 11:25; 12:4; James 1:15 (2nd part);

(c) a generic term (distinct from specific terms such as No. 2 yet sometimes inclusive of concrete wrong doing, e.g., John 8:21,34,46; 9:41; 15:22,24; 19:11 ); in Romans 8:3 , "God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," lit., "flesh of sin," the flesh stands for the body, the instrument of indwelling "sin" [Christ, preexistently the Son of God, assumed human flesh, "of the substance of the Virgin Mary;" the reality of incarnation was His, without taint of sin (for homoioma, "likeness," see LIKENESS)], and as an offering for sin," i.e., "a sin offering" (so the Sept. e.g., in Leviticus 4:32; 5:6-9 ), "condemned sin in the flesh," i.e., Christ, having taken human nature, "sin" apart (Hebrews 4:15 ), and having lived a sinless life, died under the condemnation and judgment due to our "sin;" for the generic sense see further, e.g., Hebrews 9:26; 10:6,8,18; 13:11; 1 John 1:7,8; 3:4 (1st part; in the 2nd part, "sin" is defined as "lawlessness," RV),8,9; in these verses the AV use of the verb to commit is misleading; not the committal of an act is in view, but a continous course of "sin," as indicated by the RV, "doeth." The Apostle's use of the present tense of poieo, "to do," virtually expresses the meaning of prasso, "to practice," which John does not use (it is not infrequent in this sense in Paul's Epp., e.g., Romans 1:32 , RV; 2:1; Galatians 5:21; Philippians 4:9 ); 1 Peter 4:1 (singular in the best texts), lit., "has been made to cease from sin," i.e., as a result of suffering in the flesh, the mortifying of our members, and of obedience to a Savior who suffered in flesh. Such no longer lives in the flesh, "to the lusts of men, but to the will of God;" sometimes the word is used as virtually equivalent to a condition of "sin," e.g., John 1:29 , "the sin (not sins) of the world;" 1 Corinthians 15:17; or a course of "sin," characterized by continuous acts, e.g., 1 Thessalonians 2:16; in 1 John 5:16 (2nd part) the RV marg., is probably to be preferred, "there is sin unto death," not a special act of "sin," but the state or condition producing acts; in 1 John 5:17 , "all unrighteousness is sin" is not a definition of "sin" (as in 1 John 3:4 ), it gives a specification of the term in its generic sense;

(d) a sinful deed, an act of "sin," e.g., Matthew 12:31; Acts 7:60; James 1:15 (1st part); 2:9; 4:17; 5:15,20; 1 John 5:16 (1st part).

Notes: (1) Christ is predicated as having been without "sin" in every respect, e.g., (a), (b), (c) above, 2 Corinthians 5:21 (1st part); 1 John 3:5; John 14:30; (d) John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22 . (2) In Hebrews 9:28 (2nd part) the reference is to a "sin" offering. (3) In 2 Corinthians 5:21 , "Him ... He made to be sin" indicates that God dealt with Him as He must deal with "sin," and that Christ fulfilled what was typified in the guilt offering. (4) For the phrase "man of sin" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 , see INIQUITY , No. 1.

A — 2: ἁμάρτημα

(Strong's #265 — Noun Neuter — hamartema — ham-ar'-tay-mah )

akin to No. 1, denotes "an act of disobedience to Divine law" [as distinct from No. 1 (a), (b), (c)]; plural in Mark 3:28; Romans 3:25; 2 Peter 1:9 , in some texts; sing. in Mark 3:29 (some mss. have krisis, AV, "damnation"); 1 Corinthians 6:18 .

Notes: (1) For paraptoma, rendered "sins" in the AV in Ephesians 1:7; 2:5; Colossians 2:13 (RV, "trespass"), see TRESPASS. In James 5:16 , the best texts have No. 1 (RV, "sins"). (2) For synonymous terms see DISOBEDIENCE , ERROR , FAULT , INIQUITY , TRANSGRESSION , UNGODLINESS.

B — 1: ἀναμάρτητος

(Strong's #361 — Adjective — anamartetos — an-am-ar'-tay-tos )

"without sin" (a, negative, n, euphonic, and C, No. 1), is found in John 8:7 . In the Sept., Deuteronomy 29:19 .

C — 1: ἁμαρτάνω

(Strong's #264 — Verb — hamartano — ham-ar-tan'-o )

lit., "to miss the mark," is used in the NT (a) of "sinning" against God, (1) by angels, 2 Peter 2:4; (2) by man, Matthew 27:4; Luke 15:18,21 (heaven standing, by metonymy, for God); John 5:14; 8:11; 9:2,3; Romans 2:12 (twice); 3:23; 5:12,14,16; 6:15; 1 Corinthians 7:28 (twice),36; 15:34; Ephesians 4:26; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 3:11; Hebrews 3:17; 10:26; 1 John 1:10; in 1 John 2:1 (twice), the aorist tense in each place, referring to an act of "sin;" on the contrary, in 1 John 3:6 (twice),8,9, the present tense indicates, not the committal of an act, but the continuous practice of "sin" [see on A, No. 1 (c)]; in 1 John 5:16 (twice) the present tense indicates the condition resulting from an act, "unto death" signifying "tending towards death;" (b) against Christ, 1 Corinthians 8:12; (c) against man, (1) a brother, Matthew 18:15 , RV, "sin" (AV, "tresspass"); Matthew 18:21; Luke 17:3,4 , RV, "sin" (AV, "trespass"); 1 Corinthians 8:12; (2) in Luke 15:18,21 , against the father by the Prodigal Son, "in thy sight" being suggestive of befitting reverence; (d) against Jewish law, the Temple, and Caesar, Acts 25:8 , RV, "sinned" (AV, "offended"); (e) against one's own body, by fornication, 1 Corinthians 6:18; (f) against earthly masters by servants, 1 Peter 2:20 , RV, "(when) ye sin (and are buffeted for it)," AV, "(when ye be buffeted) for your faults," lit., "having sinned."

C — 2: προαμαρτάνω

(Strong's #4258 — Verb — proamartano — pro-am-ar-tan'-o )

"to sin previously" (pro, "before," and No. 1), occurs in 2 Corinthians 12:21; 13:2 , RV in each place, "have sinned heretofore" (so AV in the 2nd; in the 1st, "have sinned already").

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Sin'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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