Many people try to avoid using the word sin when speaking of wrongdoings in order not to offend the person they’re speaking about. However, if you know what the word means then you can feel comfortable calling out sin for what it is. That’s why I wanted to look up what the word sin means in Hebrew and Greek.
All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
What Does The Word ‘Sin’ Mean In Hebrew?
asham- guilt; guilt offering; offense; gift of restitution; gift of atonement.
This word occurs 46 times in Hebrew. However, the most frequent use of this word is ‘guilt offering.’
“And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.“
– Leviticus 5:5-6
This was a special sin offering that was to be offered when someone has been denied what was rightly due to them. The amount was to be paid plus an additional 20%.
Usually, the guilt offering was done with a ram or a male lamb.
“In the place where they kill the burnt offering they shall kill the trespass offering. And its blood he shall sprinkle all around on the altar. And he shall offer from it all its fat. The fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them by the flanks, and the fatty lobe attached to the liver above the kidneys, he shall remove; and the priest shall burn them on the altar as an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a trespass offering. Every male among the priests may eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place. It is most holy. The trespass offering is like the sin offering; there is one law for them both: the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it.“
– Leviticus 7:2-7
Sometimes, the word is used to speak of the value of what was taken or the reparation of it. This basic meaning is extended to mean a gift made to God to remove guilt or atone for sin.
The most significant statement containing asham is in Isaiah 53:10:
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.“
It says the servant of Yahweh was appointed as an asham for sinful mankind. This suggests that His death was a 120% compensation for the broken law of God.
chata- to sin.
As a verb, chata means “to miss, sin, be guilty, forfeit, or purify.”
The word’s basic meaning and chief usage are to indicate moral failure toward both God and man and the consequences of such actions. It’s also used to speak of those who pervert justice.
“Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.”
– Joshua 7:11
Humans are supposed to turn from sin (a path/lifestyle or act of deviating from God’s direction), confess it, and be purified from it (Numbers 8:7).
This word means sin in the sense of missing the park or path. This could mean sin against man or God. It also speaks of the guilt that accompanies such an act.
chata’ah- an offence or sacrifice for it.
chatta’ah- offence; sin offering.
This term can be used to speak of sin against man but is mostly used to describe a sin against God. Many passages use this word for the idea of punishment for sin.
avon- moral evil; iniquity; guilt; punishment.
Avown portrays sin as a:
- perversion of life (a twisting out of the right way)
- perversion of truth (a twisting into error)
- perversion of intent (a bending of morality into willful disobedience)
This word speaks of an offense against God’s law, intentional or not. God expects us to confess our sins (Psalm 32:5).
Avown covers the entire area of sin, including the judgment and punishment for it.
pesha- revolt; transgression; guilt; punishment.
Pesha signifies a willful deviation from and rebellion against the path of godly living.
shagah- to stray.
What Does The Word ‘Sin’ Mean In Greek?
hamartano- to miss the mark, to err.
This word is used to speak on sinning against God done by angels and men.
“ I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.“
– Luke 15:18-19
hamartema- sin; an act of disobedience to the divine Law.
“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.“
– Mark 3:28-30
hamartia- sin; missing the mark; moral deviations.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:21
‘He made to be sin’ shows that God dealt with Him as He must deal with sin and that Christ fulfilled what needed to be fulfilled in the guilt offering.
anamartetos- sinless; without sin.
As you can see, the word sin means a willful deviation from godly living or a to break the divine Law that God has given His people that they should obey. We can also see it means to miss the mark set for us.
That’s what the word sin means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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