What if we had the idea of sin all wrong?

What if the word “sin” itself was a bad translation? These are some of the questions that I asked as I began to study my Bible, and some of the original Greek words, in regard to sin.  As God shed light on first one passage, and then another, and another, the things I found changed how I viewed my Christian life.

If you are willing to have your Christian walk forever changed, made simpler, made better, then this is for you.

Paul writes: (The Darby Translation) Phil. 3:14 – I pursue, [looking] towards [the] goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus. The culture in his day was influenced by Greece, and by Rome. Athletic contests were well understood. The winners received shared a prize, as we see today in professional sports – especially in horse racing.

The word translated as “sin” is a Greek word, hamartia (ham-ar-tee-a), which has quite a different meaning than we may think it does.

It means to miss the target and so to fail to share in the prize. It also means to stray from the path, to err, to have frailty, or have a tragic flaw.

The Hebrew has a comparable term that has been translated as “sin”. It is the verb chãtä‘, from which the noun chëta‘ is derived, and is easily researched.

The English word, “sin”, the root is Old English. It was syn(n); an offense or misdeed. It is akin to the German sunde, and the Latin sons which means “guilty”.

You may be asking why hamartia was translated by using the word “sin”. I have not found a translation, with a couple of little known exceptions, which does not use the word “sin” for hamartia. It seems that by the time the texts were translated out of the Greek, the idea of guilt, moral weakness, and disobedience to God, had influenced the thinking of the translators.

I began to cross out the word “sin” in one of my Bibles, and write in “error” or “missed” or “frailty” or “flaw”. I’ve come to prefer “deviate” or “deviation”. Try it for yourself.

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (King James Version) [“come short of the glory of God” is literally : are wanting of the “doxa” (dignity/glory/honor/praise/worship) of the God] Compare to (The Bible in Basic English) – For all have done wrong and are far from the glory of God;

I like The Interlinear Scripture Analyzer (ISA Basic 2.1.3)  on my computer,which a free download. ISA uses “misses” for sins, “the missing” for sinner, and so on.

I have used any of the meanings listed earlier, depending on the context and what makes the most sense. When “the missing” is used, it follows the Greek where the article “the” also appears in the original text.

When you read it the correct way, you realize that we don’t deserve punishment for missing the mark. And God is not wrathful towards us.

He loves us and sent His Son to rescue us from our plight, for we could never hit the mark and partake in His glory in our flawed state. But Jesus did it. Any who believe in Him will not suffer the result of our “flaw”, which is death, but will have eternal life.

Our flawed nature is our human condition and it causes us to be unable to hit the mark.

Being is a state of hamartia also exacts a price, or wage. That price is death, first pronounced on humanity by God in Eden. But in Christ, who paid the price for us, we are made alive and become the inheritors of eternal life.

What a God! He wants us to share in the prize of His glory!

John says, in 1 John 3:4, that it is the same as being without law. [The Amplified Bible – Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).]

If we all are flawed, we cannot keep the law. It is impossible.

James is saying that everyone who practices/lives as one who misses, is therefore guilty of breaking the law (which came to escort the Jews to Christ).

He is not saying the breaking the law makes anyone a sinner. He is saying the opposite.

Jesus kept the law and died as one who was innocent, thereby stopping all mouths, and ending the penalty of death. Hallelujah!

(Note: Continue with Part 2 and 3 – some questions will be answered.)