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Romans 5:14-16 "Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the on who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. ...".

  1. v14 the transgression/parabaseos of Adam.

  2. v15 one man's trespass/paraptomati.

  3. v16 one man's sin/hamartesantos.

How do these overlap and support each other?

How do they bring out contrasting aspects of the same event?

What lies behind the need for this variety of expression?

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There are more than just these three words describing Adam's first/original sin in Rom 5:

  • ἁμαρτία (= sin) V12, v16
  • παράβασις (= transgression), V14
  • παράπτωμα (= trespass), V15
  • παρακοή (= disobedience), V19

Paul is contrasting the first vs second Adam, ie, the Adam of genesis vs Jesus Christ our Savior. Paul sums up his arguement as follows (V18, 19)

So then, just as one trespass [Adam's sin] brought condemnation for all men, so also one act of righteousness [Jesus' sacrifice] brought justification and life for all men. For just as through the disobedience [eating the fruit] of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience [sacrifice on the cross] of the one man [Jesus Christ] the many will be made righteous. - compare Rom 3:23-25.

Paul, in his argument in Rom 5:12-20 uses a classic device of Greek rhetoric - repetition in different phrases and words to ram the same point home with as much force as possible.

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    Adam mis-heard , παρακοή, therefore he mis-stepped , παράπτωμα, therefore he transgressed , παράβασις, and therefore he sinned , ἁμαρτία. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    May 6 at 12:46

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