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This helps us to see one way that something can be said to have gone “bad.” A broken chair is a “bad” chair—it can no longer perform its intended function of bearing the weight of a person sitting on.

The same goes for food that has gone bad—it is no longer suitable for eating.

Sin as Trespassing: Appearing about 30 times in the Old Testament, ‘asham is a verb that refers to sin in the sense of offending, being guilty, and trespassing.

A similar New Testament Greek word is parabaino which can be defined as to go by the side of and to go past or pass over without touching a thing—or, more specifically, to overstep, neglect, violate, transgress (the related noun is parabasis).

(It also refers to the offering made to atone for that sin.) But the word has a rich origin, coming from the verb chata’, which among other things, means to miss, miss the mark, miss the way.

In the New Testament its Greek counterpart is the verb hamartano, meaning to miss the mark as well as to wander from the path (the two noun versions are hamartia and, less commonly, hamartema).

First, we could speak of missing the mark when you throw a spear or shoot an arrow.

Sin as Being Broken: One of the most common biblical words for sin is the Hebrew word ra`, which has the basic meaning of bad or evil and appears over 600 times.

It comes from another verb, ra`a, which can mean essentially the same thing, but also refers to something broken, or, more specifically, broken into pieces.

Sin as Wandering from the Path: Faith, in both Scripture and the writings of the Fathers, is often depicted as a journey to God.

But sometimes we wander from the path of righteousness, either intentionally or not.

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