WebDef: Sin

Sin /sin/– Verb: Moral failing, missing the mark, or falling short. Turning away from what is good and right in a way that distances us from the joyful experience of the presence of God.

While some would define the noun, we chose to define the verb. We did this in order to highlight the volitional nature of sin: sin involves choice. Although our transgressions against God's will for our greater good have been occurring in big and small ways since the dawn of time, we can always turn back from such choices. It's the human condition to be graced – and cursed – with free will. We exercise free will in thoughts, words, and deeds. The good news of free will is that, when we recognize we're headed in an unhealthy direction, we can always change course.

Scripture on the Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins, a part of Christian teaching for millennia, are: wrath, greed (covetousness), sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. They are considered 'capital' sins because they motivate sinful action, resulting in minor (venal) or major (mortal) sin. Pride can be seen as an underlying thread, weaving its way through all of the other sins. Standing in stark contrast to loving-kindness and charity is pride, also known as vanity. And since compassion and loving-kindness are essential components in wellness, controlling pride is a form of proper self-love and self-care.

Pride goeth before destruction, (Prov 16:18), and it was pride that caused Satan to fall from grace. It was also pride – the thought of being equal to God – that caused the fall from the Garden. The pride of valuing self over others is what leads us to lust after (covet) the possessions that rightfully belong to others, or to be gluttonous, consuming more than we need, even while others go without. Pride offended motivates wrath. And finally, slothfulness can come about from the prideful feeling of being above work or thinking that it's fine for others to do work that's rightfully ours. Pride says "I deserve this," "I don't owe anyone anything," and sometimes "I made it here on my own – God had nothing to do with it." Although God has promised "I will never abandon nor forsake you" (Deut. 31:6), pride – and all sin – interferes with our ability to experience the fullness of a close and joyous relationship with God.

Select Key Bible Verses on Sin

  • For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23
  • Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17
  • For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
  • From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. 11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? 13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4:1-17
    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. – Mark 7:21-23
  • Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit. – Matthew 12:33-35
  • Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5

Select Key Proverbs on Pride

  • The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. – Prov. 8:13
  • When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. – Prov. 11:2
  • Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. – Prov. 13:10
  • In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. – Prov. 14:3
  • Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. – Prov. 16:18
  • A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. – Prov. 29:23

Select Topical Bible Passages


  • The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. – Prov 12:24
  • The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. – Prov 26:16


  • The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. – 1 Tim 6:10
  • Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. – Prov 13:11


  • Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. – Psalm 37:8
  • Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God – James 1:19


  • Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. – Matt 5:27-29


  • Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. – Prov 23:17
  • Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:26
  • Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? – Prov 27:4
  • So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. – 1 Peter 2:1


  • For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. – Prov 23:21
  • Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. -Prov 25:16

In sum…

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity – Eccl. 1:2

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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