Thursday, June 23, 2011


In Romas 3, Paul proves that all humankind – Jew and Gentiles, religious and pagan – have sinned.  Both testaments have large and interesting vocabularies for the various forms of sin, showing how important a fact of human life sin really is.

The following paragraphs treat several of these words in the order of frequency of usage.  Sin is seen as the following things :

Falling Short ( hamartia, hamartēma, hamartanō, etc )
This word-group is the broadest and most frequent in the NT, occurring over 250 times.   The root idea is failing, missing the mark, “[falling] short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).  The most general word is harmatia, which can be sin in general or a specific act of sin.  The similar word hamartēma stresses individual acts.   The heretic Pelagius misquoted the golden-tongued preacher Chrysostom as saying that infants are without sins.   He should have checked the original Greek of that great preacher.  What he really said was “that infants were innocent of hamartēmata, individual acts of sin, and were not free from harmatia, which was sin in general” (Nigel Turner, Christian Words, p.413)

Unrighteousness, Iniquity ( adikia, adikos, etc )
This basic meaning of these words is “injustice” or “dishonesty” in classical Greek, and the common translations of the verb (adikeō) are “to do wrong”, “to be unjust”, “to hurt”.  Adikia is the opposite of uprightness.  A famous passage using this word is 1John 1:9 : “If we confess our sins, He is faithfull and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Trespass ( paraptōma )
Trespass ( paraptōma ), occuring twenty-one times in the NT. is used in one popular rendition of the Lord's Prayer : “Forgive us our trespasses.”  It means to fall ( piptō ) when one should have resisted a temptation or maintained a spiritual walk.  James tells us, “confess you sins [trespasses] to one another, and pray for one another” (5:16)

Iniquity ( anomia )
Occuring fourteen times, anomia literally means, “lawlessness”, though the word is generally translated “iniquity in the KJV tradition.  1John 3:4 uses anomia as a definition of sin.

Transgression ( parabasis )
Occurring only 7 times, parabasis means “violating a specific law’.  To trangress is to cross a line that God has drawn; it is a specific disobedience of a command.

Ungodliness ( asebeia, etc )
The noun for ungodliness occurs 6 times, the verb twice, and the adjective 10 times.  Just as eusebeia ( eu = good and sebeia = worship ) means “piety”, “godliness”, or “religion”, so this is the same root with the negative prefix a- ( as in atheist = “no God” ).  Asebeia is the impiety and irreverence of the village atheist, living in rebellion against God and godly standards.   It is irreligion in general.  Jude, quoting an ancient prophecy of Enoch preserved by the Holy Spirit, uses all three forms of this word in a trenchant way ( vv.15-18 ).

Debt ( opheilēma )
Debt ( opheilēma ) occurs in the sense of a sin in Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” ( Matt 6:12 ).  Debts that we owe to God are sins.

Disobedience ( parakoē )
Disobedience ( parakoē ) occurs 3 times, including the very central passage on how sin entered our world : by one man's disobedience ( Rom 5:19 ).  The root idea is to neglect to hear and heed God’s commands.

Ignorance ( agnoēma )
Ignorance ( agnoēma ), sins commited inadvertently ( Heb 9:7 ), nevertheless need atonement by blood.  Ignorance is no excuse.

In face af all these words, which point out our shortcomings, we find the promise of 1John 1:7 reassuring :”The blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Source : The New Open Bible, Study Edition, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Love : A Brief Etymology

There are several Greek words for “LOVE” , as the Greek language distinguished how the word is used.

· Agape ( agaph )

This word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional and thoughtful love.

Love ( agaph ) is patient, love ( agaph ) is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud – 1Corinthians 13:4

Agape is used in the N.T to describe the attitude of God toward His Son ( John 17:26 ), the human race, generally ( John 3:16 ; Rom 5:8 ) ; to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude on another  ( Matthew 22:39 ) ; and to express the essential nature of God ( 1John 4:8 ).

Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian ( Galatians 5:22 ) ;  implicit obedience to His commandments ( John 14:15-21; 1John 2:5 , 5:3 ; 2John 1:6 ) ; sacrificial ( 1John 3:16 )

Although the word agape is often used to describe God’s love, yet it is also used in a negative sense  ( 2Timothy 4:10 ; John 12:43 ; John 3:19 )

· Phileo ( jila )

Phileo means friendship or brotherly love.  It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle ( 384 BC -322 BC ).  It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity.

Anyone who loves ( jilwn ) their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves ( jilwn ) their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me – Matthew 10:37

Also found elsewhere in N.T. besides being known as brotherly love ( John 11:3, 36 ) , phileo is also implies as human’s response to something that is found to be delightful ( Matthew 6:5, 23:6 ; Luke 20:46 ; Rev 22:15 )

The other 2 words of love in Greek language : Eros and storge, were never used in the N.T.
· Eros ( erwz )
Eros is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.  However, eros does not have to be sexual in nature.  It can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the phileo. 

· Storge ( storgh )
Storge means ‘affection’.  It is natural affection, like the felt by parents for offspring, almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationship within the family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jesus Motivates Peter - an OmgziVersion

15对西门彼得说:约翰的儿子西门,你爱 ( agapas, γαπς ) 我比这些更深麽?
彼得说:主阿,是的,你知道我爱 ( philio, φιλ ) 你。

16第二次又对他说:约翰的儿子西门,你爱( agapas, γαπς ) 我麽?
彼得说:主阿,是的,你知道我爱 ( philio, φιλ) 你。

17第三次对他说:约翰的儿子西门,你爱 ( phileis, φιλες  ) 我麽?
彼得因为耶稣第三次对他说你爱我麽,就忧愁,对耶稣说:主阿,你是无所不知的;你知道我爱 ( philio, φιλ ) 你。

John 21:15-17
Chinese Union Version 和合本
with reference to
SBL Greek New Testament

15耶稣对彼得说:“西门a,你曾说过会是第一个挺出b为我牺牲的吗? ”。彼得曾经大言愿意为耶稣两翼插刀,在所不惜b


17耶稣大概明白彼得的心情,说:“好吧!西门 。我们永远是好兄弟,不言生死。”不再给彼得施压力。

John 21:15-17

References :
a. Mark 3:16
b. Matthew 26:33-35
c. Matthew 26:69-75
d. John 15:13 
e. John 10:11