Does the Bible have a list of sins?

There are many lists of sins in the Bible, but there is no single list of all sins we are to avoid. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were given only one ruleā€”not to eat from a particular tree (Genesis 2:16-17). It was a short list, but they failed to keep even that. The repeated lesson of history is that making a list of sin is insufficient to keep us from committing sin.

A quick look at Scripture affirms this fact. God gave the Law through Moses, including the Ten Commandments. Yet Israel had broken the first commandment before Moses even got off Mt. Sinai.

The same was true of the rest of the Law of Moses. Jewish religious leaders have found in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) 613 laws to obey. While these laws defined what sin was, they could not guarantee avoidance of sin.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took portions of the Law and showed there was more to them than simple obedience. Pleasing God means doing what is right with a pure heart. For example, regarding adultery, Jesus said, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). The law said to avoid adultery, but Jesus taught the greater principle of purity of heart.

There are some lists of sins in the New Testament (e.g., Galatians 5:19-21), yet they do not claim to be comprehensive. From these lists, we can identify practices we must avoid, but we realize that our struggle against sin is greater than what any list can cover. Sin is "all wrongdoing" (1 John 5:17). Sins of omission are also wrong: "whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin" (James 4:17).

With all of these ways to sin, it is easy to feel like giving up or not even trying. Yet this feeling of inadequacy is what God uses to show us our need for a Savior. The more aware we are of our guilt, the more we depend on Him. It all starts with a relationship with Christ and the experience of having new life (John 3:16).

After God saves us, we have the ability to say "no" to sin:

"So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:11-14).

Copyright 2011-2022 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.