Edgar M. Krentz (
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 06:16:06 -0500

Mark, O'Brien wrote

>Something I have noticed, particularly in some work I have been doing
>recently in 1Co, is that Paul often appears to use similar words
>synonymously in close proximity, not so much to draw a distinction
>between the two words, but rather simply for good writing style (or so it
>would seem). This is probably akin to the way we will often have a
>certain word in mind when writing a paper, but knowing that we have
>already used it in a previous sentence, or even earlier in the same
>sentence, we reach for a synonym so as not to overuse a word. Perhaps,
>in some ways, as exegetes, we are sometimes guilty of making every word a
>technical term, if you know what I mean...

I would like to call attention to one difference in usage about these two
words in Paul. Paul in the seven letters that everyone accepts as authentic
uses the term hAMARTIA some 60 times (I didn't do a count, so my total may
be off). Except for the plural in Rom 4:7 (an OT citation) and four
occurrences in 1 Cor 15 (where Paul is referring back to the tradition he
cites in vv. 3-5), Paul uses the word in the singular!

I agree with those who say that is because he regards sin as a power that
holds the human in slavery, that works through the law to multiply
transgressions. It is a slave master from which one needs to be delivered.
In these seven letters Paul does not speak much of forgiveness.

The usage is different in Colossians, Ephesians, and the Pastorals--one
fact some use who question Paul's direct authorship.

If the above is correct, then Paul does distinguis hAMARTIA from PARAPTWMA.

Think on these things.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR *****
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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