In Greek the word hamartia always means "sin." There is a longer word, hamartEma, to which a meaning "penalty of sin" has been given, by the Concordant Version. Can this be justified? It is admitted that the ending -ma signifies result or effect.
If adikia means an "injustice" or a wrong, why should not adikEma (injury) mean "penalty of injustice"? HamartEma is rather the product of sin than the effect of sin, as it was sin that brought about the Cross and the Reconciliation. We should say hamartia is the abstract Sin, while the longer term is the concrete sinful deed. In 2. Peter 1:9 Codex B. uses the shorter word, "sins" (hamartiOn) where Codex A. and Codex Sinaiticus use the longer word (hamartEmatOn). This shews that in the early centuries there could not have been much divergence in meaning, as there is between "sin" and "penalty of sin."
Sins can be forgiven or pardoned. But could the penalty of sin be pardoned? Is it true that "the penalty of all the sins shall be pardoned" (Mark 3:28)? We suggest the Greek really says, "there will be forgiven to the sons of men all sin-effects," that is, all sin's outworkings, effects, products. Mark continues that he who blasphemes against Holy Spirit is not having forgiving for the eon, but is liable to an eonian sin-result. To say such a one is liable to the penalty of an eonian sin gives a twist to the whole sense, needlessly.
At Cor. 6:l8, how are we to understand "the penalty of every sin which a man may be doing is outside of the body?" Paul says, Flee prostitution. Every (other) sin-effect (or, misdeed) which a man should be doing is outside of the body; yet he who is committing prostitution is sinning against his own body." Some versions insert "other" in order to make the sense clearer. Surely the Greek does not say, "Every sin-penalty which a man should be doing. . . ."?
In the Septuagint of Gen. 31:36 the Greek reads, "What is my injury (adikEma) and what is my sinful-deed. (hamartEma)?" The Hebrew reads, "What is my trespass, and what is my sin"?
In every occurrence (including Rom. 3:25) the idea of penalty should be deleted as quite spurious, and the word misdeed or sinful-deed should be used for hamartEma. No other version that we know uses the word penalty in this connection, because it only brings confusion and multiplies error.
A.T. Last updated 7.12.2005