Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Call to Self-Examination: Considering How To Arrive at a Concise, Biblical Definition of Sin

As established in my introductory post; we have no lack of definitions of sin either amongst the theologians, the secular critics of the idea of sin, or among average people who haven’t given it much thought. The seriousness of these definitions varies widely. Some people’s definition of sin simply equates sin to spilled milk and nothing more than an accident that need not be fretted or cried over. Others define sin as a breaking of some list of agreed wrongs or evils, or not doing a list of good, that is, the breaking or not fulfilling of some code of law. Perhaps one of the most popular definitions of sin among modern, evangelical Christians describes sin as simply “missing the mark.”

Most of these definitions of sin are, regrettably, simply a matter of opinion or a regurgitation of what they have heard others define sin as being. Others attempt to define sin by looking at a few passages of the Bible and thus come to quick and incomplete or shallow definitions of sin. To come to a right, concise and most fundamental definition of sin; one must consider more than just the meaning of the word “sin” in the original Greek and Hebrew that the Bible was written in. One must also look at such things as: examples of people sinning, things that the Bible directly calls sin, what sin is contrasted with, penalties for sinning, Biblical prescriptions of how to deal with or respond to sin, any definitions that the Bible might give for sin (i.e. by saying “sin is” or “…is sin”), what causes sin, and examples of what has happened to people who have sinned. Moreover, how does what we know about the character and nature of God effect our definition of and response to sin?

Given the amount of information that must be considered in order to arrive at a right definition of sin; I will be presenting this data over multiple posts, since I know that no one reads blogs that are either long or contain an overwhelming amount of information and complex arguments. As a general format for these posts I will use the aforementioned list of things one must consider to come to a more comprehensive and concise definition of sin.

2 comments:

Matt November 5, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

Although you "know" no one reads long blog posts, I hoped to prove you wrong. I'm curious to know how you define sin based on your biblical interpretation.

N.E. Nelson November 10, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

MORE please!