Meaning Of Iniquity In The Bible And How God Views It

In Genesis 44:16, Judah referred to their deliberate decision to sell their brother as an enslaved person as “iniquity.” The Hebrew word for sin, “avon,” means “to distort,” and vices are varying degrees of distorting the law of God’s word that are punishable. So, what is the true meaning of iniquity in the Bible?

Iniquity is described as being evil or immoral in nature or character in the Bible. But not all sin is iniquity, and not all iniquity is sin. The biblical definition of sin includes not only wickedness but also negligent behavior and unconscious behavior.

What Is Iniquity?

Iniquity is the worst form of sin; the word “iniquity,” used most frequently in the Hebrew language, means “guilt worthy of punishment.” Injustice is planned, ongoing, and growing. We believe the lie that we can manage sin when we play around with it.

The words “sin” and “iniquity”[1] are frequently used interchangeably in the Bible. We are aware of the badness of both of them and the fact that, in some ways, they are an insult to a holy God. In fact, most Bible dictionaries will guide you to the word “sin” if you search for the phrase “iniquity.”

Every wrongdoing is a sin, although certain misdeeds are less deserving of retribution than others. For instance, adultery and murder were punishable by death in the Old Testament. However, stealing was still a sin despite its lesser degree of guilt and less severe penalty.

re neon light cross and meaning of iniquity in the bible

What Is The Meaning Of Iniquity In The Bible?

Iniquity is described as being evil or immoral in nature or character in the Bible. In contrast to sin, it primarily denotes not an action but the nature of an effort. As a result, we have the expression of the iniquity of my sin, where iniquity is the essence of wrongdoing or evil, and sin manifests this quality in the world.

Some Daily Bible Verses About Iniquity

Ezekiel 18:20

Sin causes the soul to pass away. Neither the father nor the son shall bear the consequences of their respective parents’ sins. The wickedness of the wicked will fall upon himself, and the righteousness of the righteous will fall upon himself.

Leviticus 20:17

If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or mother, and she sees him naked, and vice versa, it is an embarrassment, and they shall be shunned in the eyes of the young people of their nation. He exposed his sister’s indiscretion, and he will pay for it.

Numbers 5:15

A tenth of an ephah of barley flour is the offering the wife must bring, and the man must then bring his wife to the priest. Because it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of recollection, and a grain offering of bringing iniquity to remembrance, he must not pour oil or frankincense on it.

Romans 13:1–2

Let the established authority govern everyone. Since God alone is the source of all power, God alone has established the ones that already exist. Therefore, anyone who opposes the authorities opposes what God has appointed, and that person will face punishment.

Is Iniquity A Specific Type Of Sin?

A sort of sin connected to guilt in the Bible is iniquity. God’s law must be broken in order to feel guilty for injuring others. The term “guilt” is frequently added to the Bible’s amplified version to clarify the definition of iniquity.

For instance, a teenage driver has sinned if they unintentionally fail to see a stop sign and kill a pedestrian. It was an accident that was unintentional. On the other hand, it is an act of iniquity to murder another person willfully and deliberately.

We would not use the adjectives “evil” or “wicked” to characterize the pedestrian’s death; instead, we would call it an accident. But a murder that was planned would be considered unethical, wicked, and evil.

An intentional choice is required for wickedness, and continuing after committing it means not repenting. “Woe to those who deliberate evil, to those who devise mischief on their beds. They carry it out before dawn since it is within their ability to do so” (Micah 2:1). In David’s psalm of repentance, he calls out to God, saying, “Wash away all my iniquity and wash me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).

How Does God View Iniquity?

God disapproves of iniquity, and God is harmed by sin. Our interactions with God and other people are hampered by guilt. In Isaiah 57:17, the Lord declared, “I was enraged and struck him because of the injustice of his unjust gain; I covered my face and was enraged, yet he continued to err in the way of his own heart.”

God forgives iniquity and other sins, despite the fact that they harm our relationship with God and other people. When we become aware of our sins, we can make decisions. We are able to repent after realizing how horrible it is. When we do, we either discover God still continues to forgive iniquity or we choose to become more heartless and let sin define us.

Galatians 5:19–21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 provide partial lists of misdeeds. These are transgressions that form a person’s lifestyle and can be used to identify them. When the psalmist petitions God to pardon both sin and wickedness, He distinguishes between them.

Jeremiah 31:34

“And they will all know me, from the least of them to the largest,” says the Lord. So no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord. Because I will erase their guilt from my memory and pardon their transgression.”

What Is The Difference Between Iniquity, Sin, And Transgression?

“I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” the poet writes in Psalm 32:5. In just one line, the words “sin,” “iniquity,” and “transgression” are all mentioned. The three words essentially refer to what God defines as wickedness and lawlessness. 


“Missing the mark” is what sin means. It may refer to acting against God or another person, acting contrary to what is right, working in a way that will have adverse effects, or failing to act in a way you know is correct. Even for unintended offenses, God imposed sacrifices in the Old Testament. “Sin” is the term used to describe anything lacking compared to God’s glory.


Sometimes we do not deal with the sin in our souls, which is why we keep committing iniquity. God desires to understand the core of who we are. Then and only then will we start to notice a change in the things we do and think. God wants to use sinners in the perverse world we created to put things right. God extends an invitation for us to reclaim our humanity.


Three main Hebrew words are frequently used together. These terms are commonly interpreted as transgression, sin, or iniquity. Pesha, which is often translated as “transgression,” refers to deliberate defiance of the established norm.

woman and rotten apple and meaning of iniquity in the bible


God occasionally employs terms like trespass, sin, transgression, and wickedness. These show the many levels of disobedience. God not only atones for our sins but also purges us of our wrongdoing. The work of Christ addresses the full extent of sin, transgression, and iniquity. Moreover, Christ addresses sin and cleanses our inner character.

He cleans us up when we are at our worst. No transgression or offense is too great for Christ to cover, cleanse, and reconcile because He was “pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins” (Isaiah 53:5).

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