The Unpopular Word

The word “sin” is unpopular; even in some churches. No one wants to hear what they are doing, or the way they are living their life, is wrong. We don’t want someone to point it out to us, and we definitely don’t want to hear that it will send us to hell.

Well, before we get into that, lets look at the word “sin” and see what it means.

According to, sin means
1. a : an offense against religious or moral law
b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible it’s a sin to waste food
c: an often serious shortcoming: fault
2 a : transgression of the law of God
b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

Ok, so what does it mean according to the Bible? Well, lets’ find out.

Bible Gateway says sin is used 326 times in the Old Testament, and 104 times in the New Testament. That is the exact word “sin”. It does not include, sins, sinning, sinner, etc.

To get a clearer meaning of the word as it was intended, I looked in both Strong’s Exhaustive and Young’s Analytical Concordances. There are several different words, with slightly different meanings, translated as “sin”. Sometimes, a word may be translated as “sin” in one place, and something similar in another. For an explanation of how the concordances work, as well as better pictures, see this post about the word “glory”.

I dropped my camera a few weeks ago. It landed lens down, with the lens open, and has been unpredictable ever since. When I turn it on, it may work or it may not, especially if I need to adjust the focus. After several tries, I was able to get this shot. Then the camera shut itself off again, so this is what we have. I didn’t realize until I uploaded it that I didn’t get the whole entry.

Page 966, second column, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

This picture is from Strong’s. You can see the heading for the word “sin”. Then there is a subheading that says “1. A Transgression”. That means this is the first definition for the word. So in all the following uses of the word “sin”, the general meaning is “transgression”. The other two definitions refer to a place (like the Desert of Sin), and don’t apply here. Under the “Transgression” subheading, each entry has a number that corresponds to the actual Hebrew word used.

The first entry is the first use of the word “sin” in the Bible. It is Genesis 4:7.

Here it is in the King James, since that is what both concordances use.

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The same verse in the NIV.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

The number listed at the end of the entry (which you cannot see in the picture), is 2403. It refers to the listing in Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary at the back of the concordance. This word is chattath (English spelling of course). It means “sin”. Ok, I was hoping for a little more than that. I looked up the same word in Young’s, and got the same meaning. Young’s however will also show you how the same word was translated different ways, and how many times that way was used.

For example, for chattath:
punishment 2 (the word chattath is translated as punishment two times)
punishment of sin 1
purification from sin 2
purifying 1
sin 169
sin offering 116
sinner 1

Not terribly helpful in this case, but you can see chattath is translated as “sin” 169 times.

Going back to Strong’s, under the dictionary entry for 2304, it said the root word was 2398. I remembered that number was also listed under the “transgression” subheading in the front of the book. As a matter of fact, of the 11 Hebrew words listed under the “transgression” subheading, six of them refer back to 2398. The word is chata, and it means “to sin, to err, to miss the mark.” Now, we’re getting somewhere.

Young’s listing for chata says:
be in fault 1
bear blame 2
commit (sin) 5
do sin 2
have done harm 1
offend 4
sin 165
trespass 1

Again the most frequent translation is “sin”.

A scripture reference for chata is Genesis 42:22.

Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.

Other Hebrew/Chaldee words translated “sin” mean

The picture is getting clearer, isn’t it?

Moving to the New Testament, the number of Greek words translated as “sin” is significantly less. There are four. They mean:
miss the mark and not share in the prize.

The last word in the Greek  is “hamartano”

Young’s listing says:
offend 1
sin 39
trespass 3

A scripture reference for hamartano is Matthew 18:21.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

No matter which word was used, it is plain to see that sin is a bad thing.

Now that we know what the word means, we can find out how it applies to us.

We’ll do that next week.

On a lighter note, I left the concordances on the dining room table while I was typing this post. I looked up from my laptop to see this, and the camera cooperated for a minute. They are so helpful!

Adora and Bookworm saving my spots in the concordances.  Yes, this is why she is named Bookworm.



So, What Is Glory?

What does the word “glory” mean to you?

Last week we talked about “the glory of the Lord” and discovered the Bible uses the word “glory” a lot, (285 times in the NIV), but we never did settle on what it means. That’s probably because it’s one of those words we hear, but only vaguely grasp it’s meaning.

According to Merriam, glory has many definitions: five noun definitions, one verb definition, and one interjection definition. I was going to list them all here, and discuss which definitions applied to what we read in the Bible, but I remembered something important.

The word we read as “glory” is translated from another language; two other languages actually. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written in Greek. In order to have better understanding of the word we read as “glory”, maybe we should see how the original writer’s meant it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I really need to learn ancient Hebrew..and Greek..and probably Latin too. Since I don’t know any of those languages, except for a word here and there, I broke out both Young’s Analytical Concordance, and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Both are for use with the King James version.

The first thing I realized was that my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, so I used a page magnifier to get a better look. Still, the eye strain got to me pretty quickly.  The second thing was that there are  several different words translated “glory”, as well as all the variations of the word.  In Strong’s, I counted 15 different Hebrew, and 6 different Greek words. It’s a little more difficult to count in Young’s but I’m guessing the number to be the same, or at least, very close.

The way Strong’s works is that words appearing in the KJV are given in alphabetical order. Under the listing for the English word, scripture references are given, in the order in which they appear. Next to the scripture reference is the phrase from that verse, using the word in question. After the phrase, there is a number. This number either corresponds to a word in the Hebrew/Chaldee or Greek dictionary, both which are located in the back of the book. If the reference is in the Old Testament, use the Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary; if it’s in the New, use the Greek. The dictionary will give the word as it is written in the original language, the English version and then what the word means, and how it is used.

from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

Looking at the first entry under the word glory, I saw that it was in Genesis, and the number was 3519. Looking in the Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary I found the following.

from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance

About half the time you read the word glory in the old testament, this was the original word. Kabod means heavy or weighty, as in having value or abundance. Sometimes it is translated as “honor”.

Young’s works a little differently. Under the English word, it gives you different meanings with the corresponding Hebrew or Greek word. Then it gives a scriptural example of that meaning. Using the English spelling of the Hebrew or Greek word, you can go to the back of the book and locate the corresponding word. Then you can see how many ways that word is translated, and how often it is translated a certain way.  It shows kabod translated as glorious ten times, gloriously twice, glory 155 times, honor 29 times, and honorable once.

from Young’s Analytical Concordance
from Young’s Analytical Concordance

We could spend a LOT of time researching each of the different Hebrew and Greek words translated as “glory”, but I am discovering that is way beyond the scope of this blog. At least it is for now.

This post from Regina at Daily Bible Study Tips not only explains the usage of kabod, but also covers some of the same territory we did last week. The Holman Bible Dictionary  gives a lengthy definition of glory, using both kabod and the Greek word doxa.

Before we go, let’s look at one more use of kabod.

This takes place after the event involving the golden calf (Exodus 32). God is angry and tells Moses, and the people to go ahead into the promised land, but He isn’t going with them because He might kill them. Moses asks the Lord to reconsider, because they are His people, and how will anyone know that they are God’s people if He doesn’t go with them? God tells Moses that He will do as Moses asks. Then Moses says something extraordinary:

 “Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory (kabod).’” (Ex 33:18)

What did Moses mean? There may be a clue in verse 13. Moses says,

 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”

I think he wanted to know God as intimately as God knew him. He wanted to know the full weight, the full abundance, that is God. Moses wanted to really see God.  Look what God says to him.

 “And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.‘”(Ex 33:19-33)

Isn’t that amazing?