Q&A: Missing the Mark

Missing the Mark

Question

The definition for "sin" in Strong's Concordance makes no sense to me. It says "to miss the mark".

Answer

There are many words that the Bible uses for "sin," including the Greek noun harmartia and the verb harmartano. The most basic meaning of harmartia/ano historically, before the word group came to be used for "sin," was the idea of missing a target or mark. From this idea, the use expanded to mean such things as "going astray." It also came to be used metaphorically for "missed" intellectual "targets," such as for being in error. It was when people began to apply this vocabulary to "moral" targets that the idea of sin came into play. For example, one may aim at honoring one's parents, but fail to do so. In that failing, one has fallen short of the goal or "missed the target" of honoring his/her parents. In the case of sin, "missing the mark" is probably best thought of as "failing to meet the standard."

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.