Concise Bible Dictionary:

There are many different words both in the Old Testament and New Testament signifying “sin,” “iniquity,” “wickedness,” with various shades of meaning.
1. It is important to notice the scripture definition of sin. It is “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Hence the distinction made between “sin” and “transgression,” the latter being the infraction of a known command. From Adam to Moses man “had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,” yet men had sinned and died (Rom. 5:14). A positive law was given to Adam, which he disobeyed; but from Adam to Moses no definite law was proclaimed, consequently there was no transgression, yet there was sin in the sense of lawlessness, and such sin as called for the deluge. The same distinction is plainly involved in Romans 4:15: “Where no law is, there is no transgression,” yet there may be sin, and it is averred that “as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law” (Rom. 2:12).
The rendering of 1 John 3:4, in the AV, “sin is the transgression of the law,” is a mistranslation. The Greek word is ἁνομία, from , negative, and νόμος, law. This word occurs fourteen times, and in this verse only is it translated in the AV “transgression of the law.” In 2 Corinthians 6:14 it is “unrighteousness,” and in eleven places it is rendered “iniquity,” signifying any wickedness. Further, ἂνομος, from the same root, is translated “without law” in 1 Corinthians 9:21; “unlawful” in 2 Peter 2:8; and “lawless” in 1 Timothy 1:9. These passages clearly indicate that the meaning, of 1 John 3:4 is “Every one that practices sin, practices also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” that is, doing one’s own will, regardless of all restraint of God and man. This applies whether there is a definite law or not, but when there is a definite law sin is also transgression.
The principal words used for “sin” in the New Testament are ἁμαρτία, τημα, τάνω, to deviate from a right course: and for transgression, “transgressor,” παράβασιςβαίνωβαἰνω, to pass by or over a boundary.
2. Sin did not originate in man, but with the devil (1 John 3:8). It came into the world by man, and brought in death as its penalty.
3. An important point is to distinguish between “sin” and “sins,” a distinction which must exist after the first entrance of the principle. The “sins” of a man are what he actually commits, and are the ground of judgment, while also proving the man to be the servant of sin. A Christian is one whose conscience has been perfected forever by the one sacrifice for sins; the Spirit of God has brought him into the value of that one offering, hence his sins, having been borne by Christ on the cross, will never be brought to his charge as guilt upon him by God, but if he sins there is a holy gracious dealing with him on the ground of Christ’s propitiation, so that he is led to confess the sin or sins, and has the joy of forgiveness. “Sin” as to the principle, involving the alienation of all things from God since the fall of man, and especially seen in man’s evil nature, has been judicially removed from before God in the cross of Christ. God has “condemned sin in the flesh” in the sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 8:3), and consequently the Spirit is given to the believer. The Lord Jesus is proclaimed as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (“not sins,” as it is often quoted). He will purge heaven and earth from sin, and in result there will be new heavens and a new earth, wherein will dwell righteousness. Though Christ tasted death for everyone, or everything, He is not represented as bearing the “sins” of all; His death as regards “sins” being qualified by the words “of many,” “our sins,” and so forth.
4. In the important passage in Romans 5:15-20, the word Offense occurs. The Greek is παράπτωμα, from “to fall off or away.” It is used for Adam’s fall or sin, and God’s free gift is in respect of many sins. “The law entered that the offense might abound,” that is, that the offensiveness or heinousness of sin might be made manifest. The same word is translated “fall, fault, trespass and sin.”

Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names:

thorn: clay: mire

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

As a rule in the New Testament epistles, “sins” (plural) refer to the evil deeds that men do, and “sin” (singular) is the fallen nature in men (the flesh). Hence, “sins” are evil actions, whereas “sin” is the evil nature. The first is what we have done, and the second is what we are. Thus, “sins” are manifestations of “sin;” or “sins” are the product of “sin;” or “sins” are the fruit of a bad tree and “sin” is the root of that bad tree. “Sin” is more than just the old sin-nature; it is that evil nature with a will in it that is determined to gratify its lusts.
Another difference between these two things is that “sins” can be “forgiven” by the grace of God (Rom. 4:7), but “sin” is not forgiven, but rather, it is “condemned” under the righteous judgment of God (Rom. 8:3). It is important to pay attention to this distinction when reading the epistles; if we don’t, we will come away with some mistaken ideas.

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