Mark 11:26, (DRB):

But if you will not forgive, neither will your Father that is in heaven, forgive you your sins.

There's a delicate distinction between "trespasses" and "sins".

Few English versions used "sins", while most English versions used "trespasses", what is the accurate translation?

What is the delicate distinction between "trespasses" and "sins"?

  • To answer this question satisfactorily, will need two Greek words like "harmatia" and "paraptóma" because, In English, sin and transgression are almost identical.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


Mark 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions."

In https://biblehub.com/mark/11-26.htm, only 2 out of 16 versions use the word "sins".

παραπτώματα (paraptōmata)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural Strong's Greek 3900: A falling away, lapse, slip, false step, trespass, sin.

HELPS Word-studies
3900 paráptōma (from 3895 /parapíptō, see there) – properly, fall away after being close-beside, i.e. a lapse (deviation) from the truth; an error, "slip up"; wrong doing that can be (relatively) unconscious, "non-deliberate."

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

In https://biblehub.com/matthew/6-12.htm, only 2 out of 28 versions use the word "sins".

ὀφειλήματα (opheilēmata)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 3783: A debt, offense, sin. From opheilo; something owed, i.e. a due; morally, a fault.

John 15:22 but now they have no excuse for their sin.

In https://biblehub.com/john/15-22.htm, 28 out of 28 use the word "sin".

ἁμαρτίας (hamartias)
Noun - Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 266: From hamartano; a sin.

HELPS Word-studies
266 hamartía (a feminine noun derived from 1 /A "not" and 3313 /méros, "a part, share of") – properly, no-share ("no part of"); loss (forfeiture) because not hitting the target; sin (missing the mark).

266 /hamartía ("sin, forfeiture because missing the mark") is the brand of sin that emphasizes its self-originated (self-empowered) nature – i.e. it is not originated or empowered by God (i.e. not of faith, His inworked persuasion, cf. Ro 14:23).

Three different Greek words were translated into the English word "sin" by some versions but only hamartias is overwhelmingly translated to "sin". A trespass could be just a minor misstep but a sin is seriously missing the target set by God.

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